20 Under 40: Jacques Irvin

Staff photo by C.B. Schmelter / Jacques Irvin helps his son Jayden dunk during a photo shoot at his home on Monday, June 15, 2020 in Rossville, Ga.
Staff photo by C.B. Schmelter / Jacques Irvin helps his son Jayden dunk during a photo shoot at his home on Monday, June 15, 2020 in Rossville, Ga.

Jacques Irvin, 39

Quality control and project coordinator, EPB; Chair, American Association of Blacks in EnergyScholarship and Fundraising Committee; Minister of Music

Mantra: #betterdaysarecoming

Quarantine projects: I told myself I would spend more time reading, meditating, working out and completing my wife's 'honey do' list around the house. I'm pleased to report that I've accomplished all my goals with the exception of the never-ending list.

What's something you can't have in your house? A white leather sofa. My 7- and 9-year-olds would destroy it.

One thing you couldn't live without? Seafood.

Has the pandemic changed your outlook in any way? Yes. It has shown me what is important in life. The petty things must be put away and replaced with a focus on family, health and being the best versions of ourselves at work, home, in our communities.

What's one thing about Chattanooga you'd change? As a native of New Orleans, I'm a big Saints and Pelicans fan. I wish Chattanooga had local professional NFL and NBA teams.

What (else) did you want to be when you grew up? Superman is the first thing I wanted to be growing up. I also wanted to be an entrepreneur because I have family that own several businesses.

What do you credit for where you are today? My faith in God first, followed by my parents for raising me right, and my wife and kids for always supporting me and loving me unconditionally.

One thing you wish you'd known at the start of your career? The importance of saving for retirement. I didn't think that was important at 24 years old.

How did the pandemic upend your routine? The pandemic has totally changed my life upside down. Instead of going into work every day, I report to my home office. Across the board I've had to be creative and witty in order to keep things at work and home engaged and fresh.

How did you remain productive? It was an adjustment. I'm a positive person so I have made the best of it. When the tornadoes hit during the pandemic, it called for all hands on deck. I had to work EPB's power restoration efforts for a few weeks, and it was the most devastating and fulfilling thing I've ever done. Taking the focus off of me and helping others keeps me productive.

What motivates you? My family. Everything I do is for them.