Across DPR Blog

May 21, 2015

Don’t Fall For It

When it comes to falls from heavy construction equipment, even a five-ft. fall can be serious. A seemingly simple maneuver taken for granted can result in a serious injury. Through proper planning and safety training, you can help raise awareness and aid in the prevention of falls from heavy equipment.

The following are a just a few safety tips to keep in mind, related to preventing falls from heavy equipment:

  • The “three point rule” upon entering and existing heavy equipment: When climbing up or down, always have at least three points of contact at all times. (i.e, two feet and one hand, two hands and one foot).
  • Use all steps and handrails provided. Make sure they are free of grease and oil, especially if the equipment has been recently serviced. 
  • Weather is a major factor. Take time to inspect and clean steps and handrails that can become slippery from rain, ice, sleet and snow. 
  • Proper footwear is necessary—non-slip soles are your best bet. 
  • Take your time. This is considered one of the most important, yet overlooked, measures you can take to prevent a fall. 

We all have the right to a safe workplace and we all have the right to return home safety each and every day to our loved ones, as emphasized earlier this month in the 2015 OSHA National Safety Stand-Down campaign

By holding ourselves and all others on site accountable, we can work together to continue to raise awareness and help prevent falls from heavy equipment in the construction industry. 

This is the second blog post in a series of safety-related posts from DPR safety champions. Read the first post here

May 19, 2015

DPR Project Team Partners with Horse Therapy Group to Bring Therapeutic Equestrian Arena to Fruition

DPR’s vision of being “integral and indispensable to the communities where we work” extends to our jobsite communities, where our skilled builders and subcontractor partners are in a unique position to make an enormous difference.

For example, Pasadena, Calif.-based Move A Child Higher, Inc. (MACH 1) was just seeking a few truckloads of dirt for its new therapeutic equestrian arena project when one of its board members came to visit DPR’s MonteCedro retirement community jobsite in late 2013.

That visit ultimately netted much more than just excavated dirt, however. It sowed the seeds for a new alliance between DPR, its vendors, subcontractors and MACH 1 that proved critical to bringing the organization’s long-sought project to fruition.

Part of the volunteer crew. Photo courtesy Kelley Radtke

Having signed a 20 year lease for an expanded therapeutic riding center, MACH1 had much work to be done and limited resources to make the project happen. DPR’s expertise and involvement proved critical.

“I approached Joy (after the dirt donations) to see how else we could help, and at that point we could see they had gotten as far as they physically could for not having any construction experience,” said Kelley Radtke, DPR’s MonteCedro project field office coordinator who headed up the volunteer effort. “She said we were literally a miracle.”

MACH 1 had already purchased and installed the new riding arena that would allow 24 / 7 access to and dedicated space for the therapeutic riding center customers. But they had a laundry list of other improvements needed to make the new facility usable as a full-time home for the organization.

DPR set to work, engaging a variety of the MonteCedro project subcontractors in the effort. Some of the major work items included:

  • Donation and installation of about 400 feet of horse friendly fencing with access gates (La Habra Fence)
  • Arena mounted sprinklers for dust control (Pierre Landscape)
  • Power feed and distribution to pre-wired horse paddocks and security lighting (AJ Kirkwood)
  • Relocation of mobile horse tack sheds
  • Installation of 400 feet by 2-inch by 12-inch manufactured lumber around the arena to prevent the base and sand from eroding from under the arena
  • Grading to accommodate wheelchair access (Hertz Equipment)

Trenching on the first day of major construction. Photo courtesy Kelley Radtke

Additional donors on the project included:  OES Equipment (donated an office trailer for MACH 1 future office space); DPR self-perform crews (material and labor for self-perform drywall and concrete work); Orange County Erectors; The Rouse Company; and Architectural Coatings.

Volunteers included craft professionals from DPR's MonteCedro retirement community project. Photo courtesy Kelley Radtke

MACH 1 Founder Joy Rittenhouse said DPR’s involvement was a key factor in the successful completion of the new therapeutic equestrian center in the Hahamongna watershed park this spring.

“We desperately needed to finish the project, and DPR was there to bring it to pass,” she commented. “We are so grateful for their generosity, their spirit, good will and positive attitude. It has brought such wonderful hope to our staff, board, volunteers, students and families. We are forever grateful, and I know we will be able to be there for the many children and adult with disabilities for many years to come. ”

Rewarding Work

In the end, the project was extremely rewarding for all involved, Radtke said. “Our subcontractors have all said that it’s an honor to give back to an organization like MACH 1,” she commented. “It’s been so nice to be able to partner with them, and to know that this will help so many people.”

May 5, 2015

We Stand Down

As one of the safest contractors in the nation, we’re committed to promoting and nurturing an Injury-Free Environment (IFE), with the goal of achieving zero incidents on every project.

Each year in the United States alone, falls from elevation account for more than 200 construction deaths and more than 10,000 injuries within the industry, according to the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Falls are the leading cause of construction fatalities—accounting for one-third of work-related deaths in construction—and are among the top 10 most frequently cited OSHA standards. And yet, it’s preventable. . .

Yesterday, DPR offices and jobsites nationwide joined together to share a moment of reflection and discuss ways to prevents falls through the 2015 OSHA National Safety Stand-Down campaign. By sharing the same message simultaneously—across four different time zones—we reached thousands in the construction industry, raising awareness about fall prevention. 

Here are some photos from a sampling of the DPR jobsites around the country that participated in yesterday's 2015 OSHA National Safety Stand-Down:

Mid-Atlantic region



We “stood down” last year as well and collected more than 6,000 signatures from participants in the first OSHA National Safety Stand-Down to prevent falls, which reached one million workers total in the industry.

We are proud to stand down...yesterday, today and every day. 

*Throughout the month of May, look for a number of safety-related blogs from DPR safety champions across the country who will be sharing safety tips and information.*

April 30, 2015

DPR, TSU and Rebuilding Together Team Up on Complex Community Project

An ambitious community service home renovation project undertaken by a group of construction students from Texas State University (TSU) this spring could have ended differently, had it not been for a partnership formed among DPR, the students and Rebuilding Together to jointly tackle the job. Those combined efforts, and particularly the expertise of 23 DPR craft workers who went “all in” to help get a difficult job done over three days, ultimately led to a successful finish.

The TSU students took on the remodel of the Byas family home in San Marcos as its “2015 Boko’s Builders Remodel project,” an annual outreach by the University’s Construction Student Association to give back to the local community. The project was chosen based on need and positive impact that could be achieved renovating the home, which had fallen to neglect over the years housing several generations of the Byas family.

Photo credit: Malia Rae Photography

While the students knew the project was a greater challenge than previous Boko’s Builders projects, they quickly discovered just how large that challenge was. Myriad hidden problems were uncovered beneath the floorboard, behind the walls and above the ceiling of this 100-year-old home. The construction expertise required was far greater than the students had understood when they took on the job.

DPR learned about the project while recruiting on campus, just three weeks before the renovation was to happen. They quickly agreed to partner with the students along with Rebuilding Together to help complete the community service effort.

“It ended up being a giant project that frankly would have been very difficult for the students to complete if we hadn’t gotten involved,” says DPR Austin community initiatives liaison Angie Weyant. “Everything we touched started to crumble. The more we did, the more we found needed to be done. In the end it was a pretty giant overhaul of the house in just three days.”

Key to completing the project were the 23 DPR self-perform crew members who volunteered more than 175 volunteer hours during the weekend. Photo credit: Malia Rae Photography

DPR’s self-perform craft workers were integral to the success of the project, bringing the expertise needed to handle many of the complex tasks involved.

“This project really was the best way we’ve ever gotten our craft workers involved in one of our community projects,” Weyant notes. “I think they’re really excited about doing more community initiatives as a result!”

Photo credit: Malia Rae Photography

From the students’ perspective, the chance to work on site with and be mentored by the pros from DPR was priceless. Chase Jones of the TSU Construction Student Association thanked DPR for their involvement. “It was an amazing experience for everyone, and we look forward to working with DPR on future projects, and their involvement in our program!” 

From barely habitable to family homestead in three days. Photo credit: Malia Rae Photography

April 23, 2015

Habitat Open Build Days Offer Raleigh-Durham Employees Chance to Give Back

DPR employees in the Raleigh-Durham, N.C. office have been putting their skills to work in their community through participation in “open build” events sponsored by Habitat for Humanity.

Since January, half a dozen DPR employees have taken part in eight Habitat for Humanity open build events. Working alongside other community members, DPR volunteers have been helping to renovate a pair of 100-plus-year-old residences that will house selected underprivileged families in the region.

De’Lisa Stringer, community initiatives champion for the Raleigh Durham office, forged the local partnership with Habitat for Humanity after recognizing the unique match of DPR’s corporate mission and its employees’ skill sets to Habitat’s goals and needs.

“Habitat was the perfect fit for us to use our skills and resources and to do what we’re good at, while giving back to the local community,” Stringer commented. “We worked with the director of Habitat for Durham County to outline two days a week, every other week, where we could have our volunteers go in, sign up and then just show up to work.

“Everybody that has volunteered has a day job, but they’re all interested in giving back and helping give somebody a home,” Stringer continued. “There is just a great sense of motivation and momentum to have a part in providing shelter for those in need in our community.”

During the typically three-hour build sessions, volunteers have done everything from caulking and painting to helping replace the foundation of one of the homes.

DPR plans to continue the involvement with Habitat well into the future, according to Stringer. They also hope to involve some of the young people DPR has worked with at the local Boys & Girls Club on future Habitat open build days.

“What better way to give back to children – but also for them to pay it forward – than to bring them to homes that we work on (through Habitat) and also have them get their hands dirty?” Stringer added.

April 14, 2015

Fortune Magazine’s “Toasting the Boss (a.k.a. Everyone)”

In 1990, Doug Woods, Peter Nosler and Ron Davidowski founded DPR and vowed to create a company that prioritizes employee happiness. 

Fortune Magazine's "Toasting the Boss (a.k.a. Everyone)" explores DPR's unique structure and culture. It also explores how the company has empowered its employees to take the lead for the last 25 years.

Brian Gracz, who has been with the company for 17 years, is quoted in the article as saying: "We have the ability—no matter who you are in the organization—to be able to provide input and impact and have your thoughts and ideas considered."

Peter Salvati, who sits on DPR's Management Committee, goes on to say: "In a sense, everyone's in charge."

Click the image below to read the full article:

Photo Credit: David Cox

What do you think empowers employees?

March 30, 2015

DPR Hardin Helps Make Wish Come True for Young Atlanta Braves Fan Fighting Battle of His Life

DPR Hardin partnered with Make-a-Wish Georgia to make a young Atlanta Braves fan's wish come true. Photo credit: Make-a-Wish Georgia.

When 12-year-old Dalton – a red-haired, freckle-faced, avid Atlanta Braves fan – cut the ribbon leading to his brand new Braves-themed treehouse during a Make-A-Wish Foundation “wish reveal” event March 21, 2015, there were few dry eyes among those who gathered for the unveiling.

Designed and built by DPR Hardin to fulfill Dalton’s wish for a treehouse in the backyard of his family’s Canton, GA home, the project features a “crow’s nest” overlook platform that connects to the two-story treehouse structure via a 10-foot suspension bridge. Numerous baseball-related touches – including an actual Atlanta Braves stadium chair, posters and various bobble heads donated by the baseball franchise – make this a special place to get away from the worries of everyday life.

“I think by the end of this project we had 43 DPR Hardin associates that in some way, shape or form touched this project,” commented Angela Whritenour, who coordinated the volunteer efforts of DPR Hardin employees. “It was really a huge group effort, and it enabled DPR Hardin as a region to feel the accomplishment of coming together to get something like this done.”

DPR Hardin volunteers put in a cumulative 620 community service hours on the project working in partnership with Make-A-Wish Georgia. The initiative met the DPR Hardin community goals of using their expertise as builders to support distressed families in the greater Atlanta area.

The project broke ground in October 2014. Some of the prefab work took place at DPR Hardin’s Atlanta office site, which allowed employees to participate even if they couldn’t make it out to the residential jobsite. Several on-site workdays were also held over the course of the job.

Some of the prefab work was done at DPR Hardin's Atlanta office. Photo credit: Andi King.

In addition to building the structure, DPR Hardin contributed 120 hours of self-performed craft work. Donations also came in from DPR affiliated companies. One DPR Hardin employee donated several baseball bats, which were integrated into the bannister railing of the staircase that leads to the loft area of the treehouse.

Taking a break at the project site, November, 2014. Photo credit: Andi King.

At the wish reveal event, Dalton received a certificate of occupancy, a key to unlock the treehouse and a DPR Hardin hardhat signed by all the crew who helped build the project.  “It was really sweet; he teared up,” Whritenour said. “His parents had not let him go inside the treehouse until that day, so it was a total surprise. He couldn’t have been happier.”

Dalton received a hardhat signed by the construction team. Photo credit: Andi King.

“DPR Construction was an incredible partner in helping make Dalton’s wish of having a Braves-themed tree house come true,” said Amy Alvarez of Make-a-Wish Georgia. “We are grateful that companies like DPR Construction are investing time and resources to help bring hope, strength, and joy to the lives of the children we serve.” 

March 18, 2015

Habitat Home Dedication Honors Employee’s Legacy, And Helps Deserving Sacramento Mom

Ask anyone who knew or worked with the late DPR employee John Kramer, and they’ll tell you he was a man with a big heart and a passion for helping out those in need.

To honor the memory of this beloved colleague – and to carry on his legacy of community service – DPR Sacramento office employees partnered with Habitat for Humanity to help finance and build a new house for a carefully selected low-income, hard-working resident of the greater Sacramento region. About 20 DPR employees volunteered a total of 500 hours over the course of several months to help bring the project to fruition. They worked alongside the future homeowner, Mizan Tsegay, who also put in 500 hours of sweat equity helping construct her new Del Paso Heights home.

The new homeowner and her children in front of their home. DPR Sacramento volunteers put more than 500 hours of work into the project. Photo credit: Habitat for Humanity.

On March 7, representatives from DPR, Habitat for Humanity, the new homeowner and her family, news crews and others gathered to officially dedicate this 110th house completed by Habitat in the Sacramento region. In addition to handing over the keys to the new homeowner, a commemorative plaque was presented by DPR co-founder Peter Nosler which dedicated the home “to the memory of John Kramer, a most generous and caring friend.”

DPR co-founder Peter Nosler presents the homeowner with a commemorative plaque to honor the memory of DPR employee John Kramer. Photo credit: asb-photography.

Realizing a Dream

The brand new two-story, 1,500-sq.-ft. house represents the fulfillment of an American dream that had previously seemed far out of reach for the Tsegay family. An immigrant to the U.S. from Kenya, Tsegay is a single mom raising two young children that include a 10-year-old son and 8-year-old daughter with special needs. The family moved to the new home from a cramped apartment, from which Tsegay had run her home hair salon business while also tending to her daughter who requires constant supervision due to her severe autism.

Both Tsegay and John Kramer’s widow, Dory, shared their perspectives on what the project meant to them during the home dedication ceremony. The opportunity to hear Tsegay’s story and to work alongside her building the house made it that much more special for the DPR volunteers, according to Megan Valles, who along with Rodman Marquez helped spearhead DPR’s volunteer efforts.

The new homeowner shared some of her life story with the assembled crowd. Photo credit: asb-photography.

“We all talk about the ‘American dream,’ but I don’t think most of us having grown up here in America quite appreciate that as much as people from other countries,” Valles commented. “For Mizan it is very much about hard work and having a safe and stable home for her family. You really feel like you are a part of giving his incredible gift to this woman. I don’t think there was a dry eye there when she was speaking.”

Hand-Up, Not a Hand-Out

As a national nonprofit organization committed to helping low-income, working residents achieve home-ownership, Habitat’s stated goal is to serve as “an empowerment program, not an entitlement program, giving people a hand-up not a hand-out.” Homeowners participate in the home-building process and must be able to pay their 30-year, zero interest mortgages.

DPR volunteers’ efforts spanned four full workdays, where crews of 10 did everything from pre-framing walls off-site and then erecting them on-site after the slab was poured, to building a perimeter fence, installing wood siding and more. In addition to providing valuable skilled labor, DPR donated $21,000 to facilitate the John Kramer Memorial Build project. Because the organization was one that John Kramer had personally been involved with and supported, the project was a fitting way to honor him. “It’s something he would be proud of,” Valles said.

John Kramer's extended family, DPR volunteers and the new homeowner and her son pose with the plaque commemorating his legacy. Photo credit: asb-photography.

Continuing a Legacy

Although this was DPR’s first Habitat for Humanity project in the Sacramento region, it will certainly not be its last, according to Valles. “One of the things I think is so cool about having done this is that John’s legacy will extend beyond this new home on Oakmont Street, because DPR plans to continue our partnership with Habitat and through other local work projects,” she said.

“I think what Habitat is doing in our local community is definitely something we want to be a part of,” she added. “We are kind of uniquely suited to do this.” 

March 5, 2015

Pooling Resources Pays Off on LifeWorks Cleanup Project

Volunteers from DPR’s Austin office and the University of Texas Branch of the Society of Women Engineers (UT SWE) joined forces Feb. 20 to make a difference in the community.

DPR and University of Texas Society of Women Engineers (UT SWE) volunteers 'hook 'em' before getting to work. Photo courtesy Melissa Kosobud

A dozen members from the two organizations pooled their resources on a creek cleanup project at a LifeWorks transitional-housing apartment complex. LifeWorks, supported by the DPR Foundation, serves more than 10,000 individuals annually. DPR had previously been involved on several projects at the site, which includes a main office building as well as an apartment complex with housing for young parents and disabled youth.

The creek cleanup effort involved clearing brush, trash removal, and pulling weeds around a creek behind the apartment complex. The work transformed the area from a tangled mess into a more inviting, open space that can be easily maintained by the LifeWorks team. Work took place over the course of an afternoon. It followed a tour of the LifeWorks facility that allowed volunteers the chance to learn about the many ways LifeWorks is involved in supporting Austin’s disadvantaged youth.

The crew loaded a trailer full of brush, leaving behind a clean, welcoming creekbed for residents. Photo courtesy Melissa Kosobud

The day represented the first combined volunteer event between DPR and the UT SWE according to Melissa Kosobud, who helped coordinate the event for DPR. Formerly a member of SWE when she was in college in Illinois, Kosobud reached out to its UT branch when she came out to join the Austin office recently in an effort to establish ties between the two organizations.

“I think the benefits of joining forces are that SWE members get to meet and talk to other women in the construction field, we get to know potential intern/full time candidates better, and we’ve helped out a local nonprofit organization,” Kosobud said. “I really enjoyed seeing the DPR team mingling and joking around with the SWE members as we all worked together to clean up the creek. And seeing what a difference we made at the creek and the LifeWork’s team’s enthusiasm for the results was very rewarding.”

February 27, 2015

Newport Beach ‘School of Construction’ Builds on Success of Phoenix Event

Approximately 40 elementary school age girls involved with Girls Inc. of Orange County now know a bit more about engineering, design and construction – as well as the opportunities in the STEM fields – thanks to their participation in DPR’s School of Construction event in the Newport Beach office February 20, 2015.

Girls Inc. of Orange County is one of 17 organizations to receive 2015 grants from the DPR Foundation. Photo by Matt Pranzo

The event built on the success of DPR’s inaugural School of Construction launched by the Phoenix office last year. That hands-on learning day, the brainchild of project manager Tim Hyde, guided 100 or so youngsters from two Phoenix area nonprofit organizations through the process of designing and building a doghouse. The ultimate goal of both School of Construction events: to get children excited about construction and related industries.

In Newport Beach, the School of Construction day kicked off Girls Inc.’s Engineering Week (E-Week), which highlights the many opportunities and careers available in the engineering related fields.

“At Girls Inc. we teach the girls a lot about STEM careers because we know women are underrepresented in those fields,” commented Kelli Norris, Elementary Programs Coordinator for Girls Inc. “There are a lot of girls interested in (construction and engineering) but wouldn’t really know there’s a path for them to do that unless they’re given a chance to make connections with companies like DPR and to talk to women who work here.”

The day kicked off with a stretch and flex session. Girls then rotated through four stations, which included: a design station, where they sketched their ideas; a mock-build station, where they built small models of their design; a safety station, where they tried on personal protective equipment, saw a scissor lift demonstration and enjoyed a snack; and finally, a building station, where they instructed adult volunteers in the construction of the dog houses.

At the first station, the girls learned about the design process by sketching their doghouses. Photo by David Cox

A team of approximately 20 DPR volunteers were involved, guiding the girls from station to station and leading the hands-on learning sessions. “They really took the initiative and gave it a lot of careful thought and attention,” King said of the volunteers. “I think they had a great time too.”

DPR volunteers led sessions on design, mock-ups, safety and construction. Photo by David Cox

And by all accounts, so did the girls. One of the participants, Shelby, said her favorite part was designing the doghouse. “Maybe when I’m older I’ll look into designing things,” she said. “I love it here! I want whiteboard walls in my room!”

Some mock-ups were decorated with smiley faces. Photo by David Cox

At the end of the afternoon, all of the girls took home their sketches, their doghouse models and DPR hard hats. They also took with them a new experience to put in their own personal “toolboxes” as they build their knowledge base and increase their awareness about the many possible career paths available to them in the future.