Our History

  1. 1990
  2. 1991
  3. 1992
  4. 1993
  5. 1994
  6. 1995
  7. 1996
  8. 1997
  9. 1998
  10. 1999
  11. 2000
  12. 2001
  13. 2002
  14. 2003
  15. 2004
  16. 2005
  17. 2006
  18. 2007
  19. 2008
  20. 2009
  21. 2010
  22. 2011
  23. 2012
  24. 2013
  25. 2014
  26. 2015
  1. DPR Construction is founded by Doug Woods, Peter Nosler and Ron Davidowski with offices in Redwood City, CA, and Sacramento, CA.

    July 1990

  2. Author Jim Collins helps DPR identify its purpose (We exist to build great things), Core Values (integrity, enjoyment, uniqueness, ever forward) and first mission statement (To be a Truly Great Construction Company by the Year 2000).

    April 1992

  3. DPR ranks #1 on both the San Francisco Business Times' and San Jose/Silicon Valley Business Journal's Fastest-Growing Private Companies in the Bay Area lists.

    November 1993

  4. DPR ranks third on Inc. magazine's national Fastest-Growing Private Companies list.

    October 1995

  5. In seven years, DPR climbs to #46 on ENR magazine's Top 400 Contractors list and has remained in the top 50 ever since.

    May 1997

  6. DPR starts using BIM technology on its own office renovation and joins Stanford University's Center for Integrated Facility Engineering (CIFE).

    November 1997

  7. DPR reaches annual revenue of $1 billion.

    December 1998

  8. DPR is featured in Fast Company magazine.

    December 1998

  9. DPR joins the U.S. Green Building council and begins construction on its first green project, a new headquarters for Aspect Communications in San Jose, CA.

    November 1999

  10. Working with the world's leading microprocessor manufacturer, DPR completes its biggest project to date—and one of the world's largest construction projects at the time—in 18 months.

    August 2001

  11. California Governor Schwarzeneggar awards DPR the Environmental and Economic Leadership Award for its Sacramento office building, the first privately-owned LEED certified building in California's Central Valley.

    December 2004

  12. The Banner Estrella Medical Center, DPR's first greenfield hospital, wins top honors in the Modern Healthcare Design Awards.

    September 2005

  13. DPR is featured in "Mavericks at Work: Why the Most Original Minds in Business Win."

    October 2006

  14. The Genentech Oceanside Production Operations facility, completed by DPR in 2005, wins the coveted ISPE Facility of the year award.

    November 2007

  15. The DPR Foundation is established to help disadvantaged children and, to date, has contributed $2.4 million to organizations across the country.

    November 2008

  16. The Scripps Florida Research Campus project wins Best of the Best in the nation from ENR magazine in the Higher Education/Research category.

    December 2009

  17. DPR completes its new San Diego office building, which is the first and only commercial office in San Diego to achieve both LEED-NC Platinum certification and net-zero energy status.

    April 2010

  18. The "hospital of the future," Palomar Medical West, opens to the public. ENR awards it best healthcare project in the nation, while ENR CA calls it the best healthcare and overall project.

    August 2012

  19. After a year of operation, DPR's Phoenix office achieves net-zero energy status. The LEED®-NC Platinum "living laboratory" is Arizona's first commercial net-zero office building.

    December 2012

  20. DPR acquires Hardin Construction combining operations in Atlanta, Austin, Houston, Raleigh, Orlando, Tampa and West Palm Beach to build a stronger national organization.

    April 2013

  21. DPR ranks #1 in Telecommunications (ENR, May 2013) and #1 in Data Centers (BD+C, July 2013).

    July 2013

  22. DPR ranks #10 on FORTUNE magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” rankings for 2014. DPR has ranked for five consecutive years on the list in 2010 at #57, in 2011 at #22, in 2012 at #13 and in 2013 at #15.

    January 2014

To truly understand the DPR culture is to know the history. The people behind the name. The passion for better serving customers and building complex projects with a strong sense of purpose and value. The desire to continuously be the best and drive an industry forward, doing what others believe simply cannot be done.

The DPR story begins in July of 1990. Doug Woods, Peter Nosler and Ron Davidowski, the D, the P and the R, made one of the best business decisions of their lives and started their own company. Armed with $750,000 of pooled resources and a steadfast determination, the three construction veterans set out to do something different in an industry traditionally resistant to change.

“At the time, most people thought of construction as more like a manufacturing type business,” said Peter. “It’s not; it’s a service business.”

“When we started DPR, we wanted to be a customer-focused organization,” said Doug. “We’re not a hard bid general contractor; we’re a negotiating general contractor that takes care of our customers. To do that, we need great people, who are happy and willing to work hard. That’s one of the things that started us, making us different from the very beginning.”

“Our distinct purpose of building great things and the core values we dialed in on [integrity, enjoyment, uniqueness, ever forward] emulate the way we like to work and we like to live and transcend into the way we do business, again doing something different in an industry that has not always had a reputation for integrity and doing things right the first time,” said Ron.

Then and Now - Building Great Things

DPR started its first year with a total of 11 professionals. In addition to “D, P and R,” the original crew included Sandy Grayson, Michele Leiva, Eric Lamb, Peter Salvati, Jim Washburn, Mark Bartley, Brad Des Jardin and Jim Dolen—seven of whom are still with the company today. Much like the hundreds of projects DPR has completed over the years, the company has grown at a breakneck pace, with regional offices established in nearly every major technology center in the U.S. that serve customers throughout the nation. DPR also reached the $1 billion mark in less than 10 years since its founding. Since 1997, it has continued to rank in the top 50 general contractors in the country. In 2013, it reached $2.5 billion.

When asked what he considered to be the most successful moment at DPR, Doug answered, “We’ve had a lot of great successes, but I can’t think of one defining moment, because we’re not done yet. As the company continues to move forward, new opportunities constantly arise. One way we measure success, however, is by not letting employees down and keeping people within the company challenged and moving up.”

DPR exists to build great things with integrity, enjoyment, uniqueness, ever forward, and the right people have been, and always will be, the foundation of DPR.

“There are many spectacular stories of individuals, who after coming to work here found out their true capabilities,” said Peter. “Several people have gone from pounding nails on a jobsite to becoming integral members of the management team. This represents success, as one underlying concept from the very beginning was to build an entrepreneurial organization, where people can continuously grow.”

First Customers - Building Great Long-Standing Relationships

DPR’s first pure contractor job was a $4.5 million, six-month tenant improvement project for Argo Systems in Sunnyvale, CA, where DPR was selected from among four or five other competitors.

“I remember sitting at my desk when we got the call,” said Peter. “We had been doing some consulting work, estimating, early on, but our first real customer in terms of being a builder was Argo. Those were difficult times. We were just learning to live with one another, and when there’s no money coming through the door, it’s pretty stressful.” All three consider the Argo project, which included core build-out of the elevator and bathroom areas, lobby finish, and electrical and HVAC systems for the shell, to be one of the company’s first major milestones.

“Shortly after we started the company, a recession hit, and the work just seemed to disappear overnight,” said Doug. “Before the Argo job, I would wake up at night in a cold sweat wondering how we were going to pay people, but more than that, people had trusted Peter, Ron and me, so I just kept thinking, ‘we gotta come through.’ If we can just keep this going for five years, we can make it.”

In 1994, DPR landed a $43 million wafer fabrication project in Los Angeles for Rockwell International. The six-month, fast-track project represented the type of work the three founders had pictured for the company. “We wanted to be in technical construction,” said Ron. “We did not want to be a commodity but establish a niche to distinguish ourselves from other contractors.” The Rockwell project included building 17,500 sq. ft. of Class 1 cleanrooms, upgrading the existing central plant, installing specialty and bulk gas systems, and constructing a new bulk chemical building. DPR delivered the project ahead of schedule with fully functional cleanrooms in just four and a half months.

“Before Rockwell, DPR had never done a job that significant,” said Doug. “I think we were awarded the project because the client thought we sounded like the most fun to work with, and we were crazy enough to say ‘yeah, we could do it’ in the timeframe they wanted. We shoveled as fast and as hard as we could.”

The Rockwell job launched DPR into the next level of building technical facilities. Today, DPR is one of the nation’s leading general contractors and ranks among the top general contractors in the nation in its five core markets of advanced technology, healthcare, higher education, life sciences and corporate office. In addition, in 2013, DPR acquired Atlanta-based Hardin Construction, adding more than 200 builders throughout the Southeast and Texas.


Vision - Building a Truly Great Construction Company

A significant point in the history of DPR was a meeting in the spring of 1992 with Jim Collins, who was a Stanford professor at the time and now is a management consultant and best-selling author of “Built to Last” and “Good to Great.” Collins helped to identify and articulate the purpose and core values that continue to drive the company today.

“We defined our purpose and established our first company mission during that meeting,” said Peter. Doug added that, “To say we wanted to become a truly great construction company by the year 2000 was like a three-year-old saying that I want to graduate from college by the time I’m 10. We do set high goals, but with the people we have in place, we know we can reach every one of them.”

Ron felt positive that they could build a truly great company due to the network that each one of them had built and the individual skill sets they had developed. “In the very beginning, we were just three senior guys in one organization with a passion for building,” said Ron.

The “three senior guys” have learned a lot from each other over the years. Both Doug and Ron said that they have learned patience from Peter—how to slow down and listen and allow others to resolve issues on their own. Doug and Peter have learned how to have fun from Ron, along with the importance of building and maintaining relationships, which were particularly instrumental in the early days of DPR.

“It was Ron’s relationships with the bank and insurers that really got us through the initial phase, providing us with the financial base and bonding capacity we needed to compete against larger contractors,” said Peter.

From Doug comes the “audacious vision.” According to Peter and Ron, Doug is the one with the “believe it and it will happen” attitude, and Doug demands more from himself than anyone.

“You have to be the best at whatever you do,” said Doug. “Anything less than that is not good enough.”

In addition to Doug, Peter and Ron, DPR began its first year of operation (1990) with eight other professionals. The DPR “veterans” share some of their experiences:

Most Memorable Moments

“One late Friday evening, Doug, Peter, and Ron, joined me and Di, on the floor, assembling and stuffing envelopes with bid information to subcontractors.” — Sandy Grayson

“The award of the Argo job (DPR’s first competitive job) and receiving two separate regional Entrepreneur of the Year awards in 1994 and 1997.” — Eric Lamb

“When we reached $1 billion in revenue.” — Jim Dolen

“The last 10 years have been filled with countless moments that are all memorable — the White Oak job, the superior safety performance achieved on the job, when we added up our financials and hit a billion. Every day brings a new adventure.” — Peter Salvati

Why DPR?

“I like working with the people DPR attracts. DPR wants people to unleash themselves from the restrictions that may have been instilled in them by other companies.” — Jim Washburn

“The people. In some ways it is like having an extended family. Being here from the beginning, there is a sense of pride that I have contributed to something that will last.” — Michele Leiva

“The people, the flexibility and the ability to try new things.” — Sandy Grayson