August 29, 2016

DPR Hosts Girls Inc. Workshops to Open New Perspectives on Careers in the Construction Industry

Before DPR volunteers put on a series of after-school workshops for 130 third-through-fifth-grade girls at Girls Inc. of Alameda County clubs in the Bay Area this spring, the students mostly thought of a construction worker as a male in a hard hat and vest, swinging a hammer on a jobsite.

Now, those girls know that they can accomplish anything, and that there are no limits to what they can be when they grow up. They know they can be a project manager in charge of a multi-million-dollar construction project, an estimator using her math skills to deliver a winning bid or a BIM engineer creating a model for a complex job. 

“The volunteers who led the workshops for Girls Inc. opened up an entirely new perspective on careers in the construction industry,” commented Nicki Guard, community engagement manager for Girls Incorporated of Alameda County. “The activities allowed for unique insight into the diverse ways that women work in the construction industry. The women who partner with Girls Inc. role model women as project managers, engineers, architects and more. For the younger girls, they may not completely understand what is involved in each career, but they now have new vocabulary to talk about the industry and know women who are smart and successful at their work.”


Club-goers built DPR logos based on Building Information Model (BIM) details. Photo courtesy Rena Crittendon.

The workshops were held at four East Bay elementary schools and included hands-on building activities alongside DPR volunteers. The broader message, according to DPR’s event coordinator Rena Crittendon, was to model the many paths women can take to achieve a well-paying and satisfying job in the industry. The workshops also encourage and help educate the girls in the art of collaboration and teamwork.

“By the end of their workshop, a few of the girls raised their hands and said, 'you know, I might like to do this too.' In each of the sessions there were a few girls that were off on their own, but usually by the end of each activity, they were all in it and working together, collaborating on ideas,” Crittendon said. “That was really neat to see."


Photo courtesy Rena Crittendon.

DPR plans to continue the ongoing relationships working with Girls Inc. with an upcoming six to eight after-school workshops planned for the fall. The Bay Area region also helped provide laptops to 30 girls in Girls Inc.’s College Access program, and DPR has hosted a Girls Inc. intern for the past two summers.

August 8, 2016

Boys & Girls Club Facility Upgraded Through DPR Volunteer Effort

DPR’s community initiatives goal of supporting under-resourced communities through facility renovation and repair was on full display in recent work it undertook at the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Houston’s Holthouse facility.

DPR stepped in to help Holthouse with a variety of small renovation work and repairs at the facility that helped offset repair costs. With just two weeks to get the work completed, DPR donated 150 man-hours, sending several of its drywall and carpenter craftsmen to perform a variety of tasks at the facility. The work included a series of drywall patches, painting, exterior woodwork to stop water leaks, restroom upgrades, a new water heater donated and installed by its trade partner MLN, and more.

The two-week project brought a like-new gleam to the club. Photo courtesy Trey Biediger.

The club updates also included repairs to picnic tables. Photo courtesy Trey Biediger.

DPR self-perform drywall estimator/project manager Trey Biediger organized the work. As DPR’s liaison for Boys & Girls Club of Greater Houston, Biediger serves on their Building and Construction Subcommittee. He said he initially got involved volunteering with the organization because of the rewarding feeling of “being a role model” for local youth.

“These are children that often don’t get corporate volunteer exposure on such a continuous basis, so they really look up to you,” Biediger added. “They get so excited when you show up and see that you have returned to simply hang out and offer support. It’s very rewarding.”

Kevin Hattery, President and CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston, said DPR’s involvement with the program over the past two years and particularly with the recent project has been vital.

“From painting the gym to installing a new water heater, DPR’s many renovations are helping Boys & Girls Clubs provide every child who walks through our doors with a fun and safe environment to learn, play and grow. We are grateful for DPR’s support and know that these upgrades will have a lasting impact for years to come for the Club members,” Hattery said.

DPR’s outreach with Boys & Girls Club of Greater Houston continues next month, when they will host their first construction camp at the facility on Aug. 10. Approximately 60 children are signed up for the half-day camp and will enjoy hands-on construction projects building a birdhouse, toolbox or bughouse.

The children will also have the chance to interact with and learn from the anticipated 20-30 DPR volunteers that are expected to help out, representing all facets of the company. “It is a big effort and we’re looking forward to a really great event,” Biediger added.

August 1, 2016

One Year Later, DPR Community Partner MACH 1 Has Expanded Services, Doubled Clients

One year ago, Move a Child Higher, Inc. (MACH 1) and its founder, Joy Rittenhouse, only dreamed of expanding the nonprofit’s therapeutic equestrian services to help a larger number of disabled youths and wounded warriors in the Pasadena area.

The center provides therapeutic equestrian services for disabled youths. Photo courtesy Kelley Radtke.

Then last spring, a DPR-led community service project delivered a significantly expanded new facility – which in turn triggered new donations and grants that are helping the 18-year-old organization broaden its services and outreach, and double the number of clients it serves.

The newly-built out center has allowed MACH 1 to ramp up its services, and invest in additional therapy horses. Photo courtesy Kelley Radtke.

Since the project was completed, MACH 1 has been ramping up its service potential with the acquisition of three additional horses, bringing the total number of therapeutic horses to eight. In the coming months, Rittenhouse said they will add and train additional volunteer staff, with plans to double the number of children and veterans in its horse therapy program within the next year or so.

They have also launched a new horsemanship program designed to introduce students to horses and horse safety, and they continue to operate as a teaching center, providing ongoing classes to students at Cal State LA, Western University and Azusa Pacific. Where their previous space allowed them to operate 11 hours a week, they are now a full time organization.

“It’s really difficult to explain how much this project has meant to us,” Rittenhouse said. “We were borrowing a place, and now we have an actual center. We received two grants to get two horses and another general grant to work on scholarships and to help us launch our horsemanship program. We never would have gotten them without the new center and the added space.”

August 1, 2016

DPR Project Team Inspired by Community Involvement at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford

It was just like any other prom – a cafeteria was blanketed in foliage and turned into a jungle expedition; there was a DJ, dancing, carnival games and chaperones. But this prom took place in a hospital, not a high school. And the kids were both past and present patients of Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford in Palo Alto, California.

Behind the scenes, DPR employees built and painted wooden divider screens for carnival booths, while more team members transformed the first floor of the hospital into a lush jungle-scape. Other DPR volunteers ran ring toss and softball games during the prom itself, energized by how excited the kids were to enjoy themselves and not be “patients” for just one day.


DPR employees build wooden divider screens for use in carnival booths at the Packard Children’s Hospital prom. 

The prom is just one example of the DPR project team’s high level of community involvement, as they build the nation’s most technologically advanced, family-friendly and environmentally sustainable hospital for infants, children and expectant mothers. Scheduled for opening in 2017, the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford expansion will nearly double the size of the current facility, adding 521,000 sq. ft. and allowing the hospital to meet increased demand for pediatric and obstetric care as the Bay Area population grows.

Inspired by their client’s mission to align people and resources to provide extraordinary patient and family-centered care, as well as DPR’s vision to be integral and indispensable to the communities in which it operates, the DPR project team has shown their commitment to help the children at the hospital in any way that they can.

Ranging from building balsa wood models, visiting the hospital school, dressing up and painting faces for a Halloween “Trick or Treat Trail,” donating to the Summer Scamper fundraising walk benefiting Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, to visiting with Packard Children’s “Patient Heroes,” the team has found that their volunteer efforts offer them the unique opportunity to interact and open two-way communication with the end users that the hospital will ultimately be impacting – patients, parents, teachers, nurses, doctors and hospital staff. They are able to see firsthand the day-to-day impact of the rooms they’re building, answer questions about construction from curious kids and integrate themselves into the hospital community.


DPR’s Packard 2.0 project team gets ready to help patients build great things, including models of cars and birdhouses.   

“We fill a unique void of being able to interact with the children on a different level by talking to them about how the new main building of the hospital will affect them. When we see how impactful the new facility is going to be on their lives, it encourages us to have perspective and realize why we are putting in so much hard work on-site to make this happen,” said DPR’s Maggie Grubb.

In addition to helping lift the spirits of Packard Children’s patients, the project team’s efforts have also built a strong sense of community, both with their hospital neighbors and their own colleagues. DPR team members will often run into teachers and staff they’ve met through volunteer activities at a nearby coffee stand and be able to say hi and catch up about progress.


The DPR team gets an inspirational visit from Lili, an 8-year-old “Patient Hero” battling spina bifida occulta at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford.

“Not only are we helping patients of Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford, but we found a really positive way to spend time with each other and these truly inspirational kids. It helps us feel good about what we’re working on,” said DPR’s Mike Kenney. “The challenges we face daily really aren’t that bad when you put into perspective how tough these little kids are. It is so rewarding to spend 2-3 hours with people who genuinely appreciate you.”

So that prom wasn’t an ordinary prom, these kids aren’t ordinary kids, and this is no ordinary project team. Sometimes, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. And sometimes, ordinary people can do extraordinary things.


DPR’s very own superheroes dress up for the Halloween “Trick or Treat Trail,” where they painted faces and distributed Halloween candy to children at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford.

July 25, 2016

School of Construction Events Offer Richmond, Phoenix Youth Insight on Construction Industry

One of the pillars of DPR’s community initiatives is to share our passion for construction with under-resourced youth through career and education guidance. During two DPR School of Construction events, scores of DPR volunteers turned out to help teach dozens of eager youth about much more than just the basics of what goes into a construction project. They also helped enlighten the students about the many different career options available in the construction industry, and how they all contribute to creating a built project.

DPR’s Richmond, VA office held its first School of Construction, while the Phoenix, AZ office held its third annual event. Each two-hour event featured breakout sessions that focused on designing, planning, and building the unique projects – a “little free library” in Richmond, and a finished wall segment in Phoenix.

The Richmond, VA School of Construction students pose with their "Little Free Libraries." The neighborhood book-lending displays will be installed in areas where the students live. Photo courtesy Diane Rossini.

During the sessions, students peppered the volunteers with questions about their jobs, the tools they use, safety issues and a host of other aspects relating to the hands-on experience of building projects.

“DPR’s School of Construction event opened the eyes of our youth to the world of construction, which they found out is a lot more than digging a ditch,” commented Darricka Carter, Director of Corporate & Foundation Relations with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Richmond, VA. “They were exposed to the design and planning phase that happens in the office before the actual “construction” begins.”

Engaging Richmond Area Teens

Extensive hours of preparation went into ensuring that both School of Construction events were a resounding success. In its first year hosting the event, the Richmond office drew 25 mostly 13-17-year-old youth to the office for the structured two-hour program. Altogether 18 DPR volunteers donated a total of 152 hours planning and running the event. The four “Little Free Libraries” that were built will be donated to hosts in the communities in which the club members live, according to DPR event organizer Diane Rossini.

Photo courtesy Diane Rossini.

“Seeing the need for engagement with the (Boys & Girls Club) teen group, and knowing what we can provide in real world mentoring and experience was really an inspiration for this event,” said Rossini. While the DPR Foundation supported the organization with a $25,000 grant this year, the office was looking for a way for employees to be able to volunteer their time and talent working one-on-one with the youth.

Photo courtesy Diane Rossini.

The event started out focused on design of the project. Students had the opportunity for hands-on work with google SketchUp, technology that many had never experienced before. During the second session, they worked with DPR volunteers to schedule various project items and had a chance to see a 4D Synchro model. A DPR superintendent led a safety demo during the third session while the kids enjoyed dinner. The fourth session involved actually building the structures.

“The kids engaging the staff throughout was one of the big highlights for me,” Rossini commented. “They asked some very pointed questions that I think taught them a lot about the industry. When our BIM coordinator was sharing the synchro models, he explained that modeling is part of the construction process and how you can work within construction but be a modeler, a BIM coordinator, an accountant or other roles. I think it was very eye opening for them.”

Boys & Girls Club Director Carter said that most of the kids are familiar with the construction industry “only from the perspective of seeing big machinery and men in hard hats working on site.” During the School of Construction, employees of DPR “exposed our kids to another side of the industry, teaching them that the construction they’re familiar with is just a part of the entire process,” Carter added. “Our kids were able to learn and practice skills and tools used during that process, like brainstorming and digital design using Google SketchUp, all while having lots of fun.”

Multiple Return Participants for Phoenix Event

Fun and learning also went hand in hand in the third annual School of Construction event in the Phoenix office. Fifty students from ICAN and Future for Kids – including about a dozen who had participated in at least one prior year’s event – spent two hours working with 32 DPR volunteers and others.

This year’s emphasis was self-perform work, a major driver in the Phoenix office which does extensive framing and drywall work in-house. Eight to 10 self-perform crafts workers were among those who showed up to teach the kids how to design, plan and build four 4-by-4-ft. model walls. The craftsmen contributed 48 hours of the total 238 total volunteer hours that went into putting the event on this year.

DPR craftsmen answer questions about framing, drywalling and mudding walls. Photo courtesy Tim Hyde.

Craftsman Richard Cruz kicked of the day with a Q&A led by DPR project manager Tim Hyde. “He was fantastic, the kids were very interested and asked him so many questions,” Hyde said of Cruz. “It just ended up being a huge success.”

During the sessions kids learned the ins and outs of framing, drywalling and applying mud to the walls. Volunteers used premade mockup walls as a teaching tool. The models (two with doors and two with windows) were painted and fully finished on one side with the other side left exposed and covered with Plexiglas to allow a look inside. “We kept the kids engaged throughout the whole process, teaching them different terminology, why we use metal vs. wood studs, the different framing members, all about drywall and mud, etc.,” Hyde said.

Students learn to use tools safely. Photo courtesy Tim Hyde.

Following the wall construction, the kids broke off into another hands-on session led by DPR superintendent Chad Drake. After discussing tool safety, he and other volunteers showed the kids how to work with tools to drill, hammer and screw preset nails and screws into precut plywood boards that sported a DPR log. The kids also decorated their take-home boards.

The students used hammers, nails, drills, screwdrivers and screws to decorate take-home souvenirs. Photo courtesy Tim Hyde.

“It was a chance to actually put a tool in their hands, and they seemed to really enjoy it,” said Drake. “We also encouraged them to look into the future, and if they enjoyed what they were doing, consider eventually getting into the trades, since there is definitely a shortage of workers going into the trades.”

Following the event, Future for Kids Community Relations Manager Nicole Pepper commented, “We are in awe of the time and work you all put in to making this event happen. Our kids had such a great time and learned so much.”

July 6, 2016

Melissa King Named Rising Star by Training Magazine

At DPR, who we build is as important as what we build. Continuous learning and training have proven to be keys to the success of our individuals and project teams. So it’s no surprise that DPR’s Melissa King was chosen as a 2016 Emerging Training Leader and recognized in Training Magazine.

“From the moment Melissa walks in a room, she is able to build an awe-inspiring level of rapport with people,” said nominator Robert Jackson, part of Learning Practices at DPR.

Melissa and the 25 total rising stars chosen this year are excellent examples of how Learning and Development professionals can continuously inspire, innovate and excel. Nominated by co-workers or industry peers, the winners were chosen based on the following factors:

  • Have been in the training industry for at least two years, but no more than ten
  • Took on at least one new responsibility in the past year
  • Successfully led a large-scale training or learning and development initiative within the last year that required management of a group of people and achieved a corporate strategic goal
  • Demonstrates leadership qualities such as: acts as a mentor/coach, adopts new technology, collaborates, communicates effectively, embraces change, fosters employee recognition, has a global mindset, innovates, inspires trust, provides regular feedback, sets an ethical example, thinks strategically and outside the box
  • Has the potential to lead the Training or Learning & Development function at an organization in the next one to ten years

Currently, Melissa supports over 3,000 professional staff and field craft across all DPR offices. One of her more salient responsibilities is leading Current Best Practices (CBP), DPR’s intensive training session that all new hires participate in within their first year with the company. CBP also happens to be Melissa’s favorite part about her job. “Getting to know a group of new DPR employees each time and walking away knowing we continue to hire great people is a pretty cool feeling. I feel like I leave each session with 30 new friends!” said Melissa.

Congratulations!


A group at Current Best Practices participates in an interactive quality control exercise. 


Melissa King and a Current Best Practices group in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina celebrate a successful training session. 

July 4, 2016

Happy Birthday, America (and DPR!)

Did you know? The Continental Congress actually voted to approve a resolution of independence declaring the United States independent from Great Britain on July 2, 1776. Congress debated and revised the wording of the Declaration of Independence, approving the final version on July 4, America’s celebrated birthday.

DPR Construction was also founded on July 2 (26 years ago in 1990) with the desire to be something different in the industry:  a company that exists to build great things—great teams, great projects, great relationships. A place that provides people with opportunities to learn and be better builders. An organization that cares deeply about changing the world and our surrounding communities.

More than two-and-a-half decades later, DPR has grown into a multi-billion-dollar organization that has built long-standing relationships with some of the world’s most progressive and admired companies.

Thank you for helping to turn a vision into a reality. We look forward to the next 26 years—working together to build a better future for generations to come.

Have a safe and happy 4th of July!


DPR co-founder Ron Davidowski leads a team on a site walk on a project in San Diego, California.


DPR celebrates its 26th birthday with a sunny BBQ in Redwood City, California. 


Yum! DPR employees enjoy a sundae and pie bar at the birthday BBQ.

June 29, 2016

DPR Helps Boys & Girls Club of Tampa Bay Expand Program

A recent DPR-led volunteer project that renovated classroom space at a Boys & Girls Club of Tampa Bay facility is fulfilling a vital community need by enabling the Club to expand its program offerings and ultimately, to serve more local youth – just in time for the students’ summer break.

The involved approximately 15 craft and administrative workers from DPR’s Tampa office, who put in a collective 189 hours to make improvements to a key area of the aging clubhouse. The project renovated and converted a single, long room used for program space for K-5th graders – space formerly subdivided by thin paper curtains – into three separate classrooms. The rooms are now visually and acoustically separated by solid walls, and each room has its own door for separate egress.

Before the volunteer-led renovation the Club had a single, large room for youth programming.  

The renovation transformed the large space into three classrooms, allowing the Club to host more academic enrichment programs at the same time.

In addition to constructing new walls to subdivide the classroom space, volunteers also painted the walls and trim, installed new baseboard and new ceiling tiles and stripped and re-waxed the floors (the latter contributed by a local flooring company). Additional DPR funds are being used to purchase new furniture to outfit the space and for several computer monitors.

The much-needed project will allow a greater number and diversity of classes to be offered simultaneously to the many local students who rely on the Boys & Girls Club facility to provide safe, secure and enriching after school and summer programs, according to DPR’s MaryAnn Skok.

“They can now have more academic enrichment programs going at the same time,” she pointed out.

The DPR Foundation awarded the Boys & Girls Club of Tampa Bay $15,000 in grant funding at the end of 2015 and has recognized it as a key community partner.

DPR volunteers were joined by volunteers from FleischmanGarcia Architects, as well as a local Sherwin Williams, the latter of which donated all of the paint.

Chris Letsos, President and CEO for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Tampa Bay, said the willingness of local businesses to partner with them makes a huge difference for the Club and their ability to provide vital services to the local community.

“It is only through the dedication of community partners, such as DPR Construction, that the Boys & Girls Clubs of Tampa Bay is able to provide a world class Club experience for the youth that need us the most,” Letsos said. “The Wilbert Davis Belmont Heights Club is a beacon for the families living in the surrounding neighborhood, providing a safe space where young people can spend time to learn, grow and be productive. The recent project completed by the team at DPR Construction will allow us to expand programming and serve more youth, more often.”

The new space will be used for a variety of hands-on, interactive learning activities and enrichment programs, including programs such as a “healthy habits” program, street smart program, arts and crafts and other offerings. 

June 28, 2016

DPR Survives the Big One! Six-Story Steel-Frame Building Withstands Earthquake Simulation

On the world’s largest outdoor shake table at the University of California, San Diego (UC San Diego), DPR erected the tallest cold-formed, steel-frame structure ever to be tested on a shake table. As engineers, scientists, earthquake experts and media watched, the six-story building withstood a simulation of 150% of 1994’s 6.7-magnitude Northridge, California earthquake, shaking and rocking, but remaining structurally intact and safe.

“What we are doing is the equivalent of giving the building an EKG to see how it performs after an earthquake and a post-earthquake fire,” said principal investigator and UC San Diego structural engineering professor Tara Hutchinson.

The project is part of a $1.5 million three-week series of tests, analyzing how cold-formed steel structural systems perform in multi-story buildings located in high seismic hazard zones. Prior to this test, the largest building ever studied was a two-story residential structure in 2013. The structure experienced accelerations of 3.0 to 3.5 G’s at the upper levels, putting a tremendous amount of demand on the “light-gauge” structural frame. Lighter than a concrete, or hot-rolled structural steel building of the same height, the cold-form, light-gauge panelized structure is strong and flexible, thus able to move with the shaking instead of against it.

“The introduction of light-gauge structural systems in areas of high seismic hazard offers owners a superior option over traditional wood framing construction from economic, quality, safety, sustainability and overall building performance standpoints,” said DPR’s Zach Murphy, who is part of DPR’s cold-form steel prefab operations team. “We believe the results of these tests and future projects will continue to prove that this is the better way to build and create higher quality, safer structures in a cost-effective manner.”

In 2015, DPR constructed the MonteCedro senior-living community in Altadena, California, using prefabricated light-gauge panels. While the direct costs were close to wood-frame construction, additional savings were realized through faster schedule, better fire resistance and higher quality framing. DPR also recently built student housing at Otis College in Los Angeles using cold-formed structural framing. 

Full video of this week’s shake test can be viewed below: 

 

Scott Reasoner (DPR), Steve Helland (DPR), Tara Hutchinson (UCSD), James Atwood (DPR) and Kelly Holcomb (Sureboard) celebrate the performance of the prefabricated light-gauge structure in San Diego, California. 

June 7, 2016

Watch DPR Transform An Empty Classroom Into Three Sound Studios

DPR's Community Initiatives team in Austin, Texas turned it up to 11 to transform an empty room at Kealing Middle School into three new sound studios over spring break.