January 12, 2017

DPR Volunteers Put Heart, Building Skills into REINS Facility

A group of DPR volunteers who helped construct a shade structure for REINS Therapeutic Horsemanship Program in Fallbrook, California brought much more than just their construction expertise to the project, which will benefit disabled individuals in their community.

They also brought plenty of heart.

The community initiative effort involved members of the Campus Point Building 2 project as well as HOK Architects, Hope-Amundson and several subcontractors. Collectively, they delivered a project to benefit the REINS program, which provides hundreds of disabled children and adults from Orange, Riverside and San Diego counties with physical, mental and emotional support through therapeutic equine-assisted activities.

The need for this particular project came to light earlier this year as the team was looking for an opportunity to tap their core expertise in a way that would have a lasting and positive impact on the local community. They had raised money for REINS through a cornhole event, but wanted to find a meaningful way to use their unique skillsets as builders–and found it when they discovered REINS needed a shading structure to protect children and families from weather when mounting and dismounting horses.


A DPR team gathered to build a shading structure for REINS Therapeutic Horsemanship Program in Fallbrook, California. (Photo courtesy: Debbie Shinner)

Last month, the team built the structure over the course of a day, with several following up at a later date to install the roof. Altogether, DPR volunteers put in an estimated nearly 120 volunteer hours, with the design team contributing an additional 40 hours or so to complete the job. The wood structure brings a highly functional, aesthetically pleasing new element to the REINS facility that has been met with widespread enthusiasm by the organization and its clients.

“I just can’t tell you all the wonderful comments we are getting on the project,” said Debbie Shinner, executive director at REINS. “The entire DPR team was so kind and considerate, and we are so very grateful for all the time and energy they put into the project.”

Building the structure in the midst of students who were passing by let volunteers truly see the positive impact the facility would have.

“It inspired us to do an even better job,” said DPR’s Dora Kaouki. “Everybody came together, and we not only put our expertise into the project, but we also put our hearts.”

Just one example of the “heart” that went in: project superintendent John McDougall came back after the first December build day and decorated the new structure with poinsettias and a wreath. 

December 23, 2016

DPR Experts Spark Conversation at Bisnow’s Annual Data Center Investment Expo

Two of DPR’s core market experts took the stage this winter at Bisnow’s Annual Data Center Investment Expo in Dallas, where industry leaders from across the country gathered to discuss the latest trends and innovations in data centers and industrial buildings.

Among the group of speakers and panelists were DPR’s Mark Thompson, national advanced technology market group leader and Andy Andres, a project executive in DPR’s Dallas office.

Throughout Thompson’s role as moderator of one of the panels, several topics about site selection were debated, including successful factors to hyperscale projects, and the process of locating strong regions and sites.

Thompson recalls the following takeaways:

  • The key to a hyperscale project’s success is speed-to-market and partnerships, due to rapid growth and extensive project scopes.
  • After the strategy behind the business direction is decided, regions are then considered and based around demand.
  • The two pivotal factors following site selection include core fundamentals of infrastructure (water, sewer, power, fiber), and connectivity to populated areas for access to labor.

Andres participated in a design and development discussion focused on the importance of progressive technology when building data centers. As a panelist, Andres shared some of DPR’s best practices in technology utilization, including:

  • The use of laser scanning and drones, which help transform facilities into more adaptable and flexible spaces, ultimately reducing uncertainty during the construction process.
  • The creation of a collaborative work environment with real-time project management tools to continuously reaffirm what the customer wants to build and how they want to build it.
  • The importance of technical platforms to integrate virtual designs in design-assist and build-out.

Industrial buildings and data centers have been equipped with more features in recent years and are continuing to evolve. Data centers are transforming to denser builds with more power and cooling. Like DPR, other client-serving companies are creating their own standards of certification, which can lead to an entirely different approach to build-outs and the overall business purpose of a project.

Overall, both conversations captured new and upcoming trends seen across the country in the business and development of data centers. From fundamental project planning to advancements in technology, both panels influenced audiences by providing a variety of outlooks and experiences, as well as robust strategy.

December 22, 2016

Q&A: Building Lasting Relationships

To truly develop a lasting relationship with a medical center, you have to be prepared to assist in whatever way is necessary to help them succeed, whether it is to provide a budget, complete a large expansion or come back to move something as simple as a door.

Palomar Medical Center in Escondido, California, a project DPR completed in 2012, recently selected DPR to build two new projects, valued at $200,000 each: retrofitting the existing labor-and-delivery floor and adding a neonatal intensive-care unit to the same floor. 


Palomar Medical Center accommodates up to 360 patient beds, 12 operating rooms, a 50-room trauma center, a 60,000-sq.-ft. undulating green roof and a 40,000-sq.-ft. central plant.

San Diego business unit leader Brian Gracz, who was the project executive on the original Palomar Medical Center, recently chatted with commercial real estate publication GlobeSt about what it takes not only to build great things, but build great relationships.

Read the full Q&A on the DPR Review

December 22, 2016

DPR Builds Bridge to Community with Mission Solano Women’s & Children’s Shelter

DPR’s Northbay Medical Center project team recently put its building skills to good use in Fairfield, California, delivering a much-needed flooring renovation at Mission Solano’s Bridge to Life Center, a holistic program that houses and assists homeless veterans and families.

The volunteer project infused a “breath of fresh air” into Mission Solano’s Matt Garcia Home for Women and Children, according to chief program officer Raymond Courtemanche. “There is new movement, energy and feeling valued (by our residents) by taking care of the place that they live in, where they receive compassionate care,” he said. “DPR helped start this movement of support for this building that will help us get to capacity. The DPR team was just amazing in their support, generosity and synergy, in partnering with us to complete this work.”


DPR installed new flooring throughout the Mission Solano women's and children's center. 

The DPR team had been looking for a project that would use their unique skillset as builders to benefit the community when the center contacted them this fall for help installing new flooring throughout its women and children’s center. DPR project manager Stephanie Jones-Lee spearheaded the effort, bringing in subcontractors to assist with donating and installing new carpets and wood bases for the sleeping dorms, family lounges, family sleeping quarters and nursery areas. DPR donated approximately $5,000 in materials and labor, and four project team members spent several days installing the wood base.

The project’s completion enables Mission Solano to pursue its mission of providing not only transitional residential housing but also holistic care for up to 68 residents in the women and children’s shelter alone. The organization also provides services to veterans and others in need.

“We provide an economic and spiritual bridge so that people can strive to regain the basic necessities in their lives, and join the community as full and active participants,” said Courtemanche.


DPR volunteers infused a “breath of fresh air” into Mission Solano’s Matt Garcia Home for Women and Children.

December 15, 2016

Can Companies Successfully Operate without a CEO?

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) asked that very question during recent interviews with Doug Woods, co-founder and the D in DPR, and Matt Murphy, who is part of the Texas Business Unit Leadership team.

How does DPR do it? What are the benefits? What are the challenges?

The benefits were easy to articulate: increased collaboration, enhanced decision-making at all levels, greater opportunities for leadership, and a highly engaged workforce. Employees are empowered and trusted to make decisions. The focus is on roles, responsibilities and experience—versus titles, bureaucracy and power. That’s what it feels like to work at DPR.


The Wall Street Journal interviewed DPR's Doug Woods and Matt Murphy about shared leadership for the December 14, 2016 print and online editions. 

The challenges, however, while slightly more difficult to accurately convey, are what builds the character of DPR from deep within.

In the WSJ article, Woods mentions that the Management Committee arrives at decisions together, sometimes after “a lot of argument,” but claims the company is better off with consensus.

To some, arguing or conflict is seen as a negative. In the culture of DPR, it’s a positive. We have groups of leaders, who are passionate, engaged, and openly and respectfully express/debate various points of view to arrive at the best direction for the company. It is by thoughtful design and this commitment to brutal honesty and transparency that helps build trust with all who have the opportunity to work here.


Shared leadership focuses on combining the strengths of people to produce high-performing teams ready to build great things. DPR's Management Committee includes (top row) Mike Ford, Greg Haldeman, George Pfeffer, Eric Lamb, (bottom row) Mike Humphrey, Michele Leiva, Peter Salvati and Jody Quinton. 

For Murphy, who previously worked for more traditionally structured construction companies before joining DPR in 2013, it’s a “breath of fresh air” that has helped the Texas region thrive and grow into a tri-city, $1 billion operation.

“In the traditional model, you get one person’s direction or opinion. At DPR, you get lots of opinions and advice but no one person tells you what to do. At the end of the day, it’s your decision to make and you take responsibility for that decision,” said Murphy. “The Management Committee gives us all the tools we need and trusts us to make it happen.”

That’s the level of trust you need if you want to operate without a CEO.


DPR’s collaborative spirit is exemplified through shared leadership. It began with DPR’s three co-founders, Doug Woods, Peter Nosler and Ron Davidowski in 1990, and continues with DPR’s Management Committee and throughout the company.

December 14, 2016

DPR Corner: The Advancement of Standards

We all desire more predictable results and outcomes.

One of DPR’s four core values is Ever Forward: “We believe in continual self-initiated change, improvement, learning and the advancement of standards for their own sake.” This core value, combined with our other core values of integrity, enjoyment and uniqueness, has served us well.

It has helped sustain our desire to be a progressive and nimble learning organization, where people are empowered to drive continuous improvement for our customers and their projects. DPR has always been a thinking organization, with people willing to learn, change, adapt, move and build it better.

But as we move forward and further dissect the intent of our Ever Forward core value, we must also be mindful of where standards (or the advancement of standards) fit into our entrepreneurial company culture and our customer-centric industry. Well-crafted standards and proven current best practices (how we like to think of them at DPR) are the basis for improvement and can help set a strong foundation for consistency and reliability. 

Read the full story about how we’re working together to set new standards and then advance them for advancement’s sake in the DPR Review.


Ever Forward: “We believe in continual self-initiated change, improvement, learning and the advancement of standards for their own sake.” 

December 9, 2016

DPR Dallas Team Educates Students about Construction Career Paths

Approximately 60 students at an under-resourced high school in Dallas got an inside look at the diverse opportunities in the construction industry, thanks to an effort led by DPR volunteers to engage youth through educational outreach both inside and outside the classroom.

Casey Cox, a concrete project engineer with DPR’s self-perform work group, helped spearhead the outreach effort geared toward students at Woodrow Wilson High School. Drawing from his own past experience working with a high school youth ministry, Cox worked to accomplish the effort’s overall goal: to apply one of DPR’s key tenets of making a difference and helping build the future workforce through career and education guidance to local youth.


DPR's Brendan Hastings teaches a class about construction innovation at Woodrow Wilson High School in Dallas. (Photo courtesy: Brendan Hastings)

“We wanted to partner with a strong STEM school to bring DPR’s work into the classroom, as well as give the students an opportunity to experience a day-in-the-life by taking them out to one of our actual jobsites,” said Cox. “Taking the time to expose these students to what it’s like working in the real world around industry professionals provided insight on a career in the construction business, and more importantly, spurred confidence as they consider life after graduation.”

Cox reached out to the Digital Realty Trust team to be part of this community initiative, which so far has included two in-class lessons and a jobsite tour. DPR project manager Brendan Hastings led the first classroom presentation on innovation and technology in the construction industry, where he spoke to about 60 students in Woodrow Wilson’s architecture and civil engineering class in early November.


Students from Woodrow Wilson High School tour a DPR project site in the Dallas area. (Photo courtesy: Brad Barton)

After the first classroom presentation, students visited the Digital Realty data center project in the Dallas area. They not only had the chance to experience an active construction project firsthand, but were also able to hear from various workers about their jobs and pathways into the industry. The DPR team enjoyed the students’ genuine curiosity and articulate questions.

DPR volunteers returned after Thanksgiving to deliver a second lesson focused on MEP (Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing) coordination, and plan to keep coming back to spotlight different aspects of construction, as they use our work building great things to help educate the leaders of tomorrow.

December 6, 2016

Moving Quickly to Facilitate Quality Healthcare

From the very beginning of the Boca Raton Regional Hospital’s Christine E. Lynn Health & Wellness Institute project, it was clear that the 90% female team of architects, designers and owner’s representatives shared a vision for creating a facility with the patient in mind.

With five unique women’s health service lines planned for the institute, each discipline’s professional and personal experiences informed the overall design of the project. The patient-oriented approach resulted in a two-story, 45,800-sq.-ft. facility with abundant natural light, seamless patient flow and inviting clinical areas.

Located on the Boca Raton Regional Hospital’s campus, adjacent to the former health and wellness institute, and designed by HKS Architects, the facility offers clinical, holistic and educational programs that support women’s unique medical needs.

“Our design drew upon a culmination of prior healthcare space planning and focuses on providing a calming and safe experience for women going through medical procedures,” said Tatiana Guimaraes, senior medical planner for HKS Architects. “All of the spaces are planned with sensitivity for privacy and comfort, much like the calming environment of a spa, versus a medical facility.”

With the Women’s Health & Wellness Institute open and operational, the contractor-led design-build team of DPR and HKS continues work on a second project with Boca Raton Regional Hospital: The Gloria Drummond Physical Rehabilitation Institute.

To learn more about the facility built by women, for women, read the full DPR Review story here.


The Boca Raton Regional Hospital’s Christine E. Lynn Health & Wellness Institute was designed for women, by women. (Photo courtesy: Miami in Focus)

December 5, 2016

A Company of Builders: DPR Project Engineers Learn the Meaning of Self-Perform Work

On a sunny fall day in Santa Clara, California, about 60 of DPR’s project engineers grabbed their boots, gloves and shovels and spent the day doing hands-on concrete work, as they created a new paved space in DPR’s self-perform work (SPW) concrete yard.

Inspired by a similar day organized for project engineers, during which they learned about drywall, framing and openings from DPR’s SPW interiors team, a handful of project engineers organized a second build day with the concrete team. The day helped open their minds as to what it takes for craft workers in the field to do their jobs every day, and how they can best support them as engineers.


Project engineers strap on their boots and learn how to lay concrete. (Photo courtesy: Everett Rosette)

“The concrete build day gave our PEs more of an understanding of what other team members do. We are all pushing for the same goal: to successfully deliver projects safely and efficiently,” said DPR’s Richard Rech, the SPW concrete group’s manager. “Learning how to layout, tie rebar and place concrete gave the PEs so much insight and appreciation into what craftsmen do every day.”

The PEs were mentored at various stations by DPR SPW teams, who explained the technical process – which many PE’s learned was a lot more complicated than it looked – as well as important safety best practices of working with concrete.


DPR’s SPW concrete team teaches project engineers how to close up a typical concrete column form. (Photo courtesy: Everett Rosette)

“Having an understanding of what it takes for everyone on the project to complete their job every day improves collaboration, efficiency and ultimately helps us build better projects,” said Rech.

The day was a reminder of our roots: we are a company of builders. And we exist to build great things.


A company of builders: we exist to build great things. (Photo courtesy: Everett Rosette)

November 30, 2016

Bringing Together BIM and Virtual Reality to Prevent Injuries

Safety is a value, not a priority. Priorities can change over time, but value systems remain constant. As a part of building our culture of safety, DPR is piloting technology from Human Condition Safety (HCS), a workplace wearables startup that is creating a suite of tools that helps craft workers and their managers prevent injuries before they happen.

Used on select DPR project sites in Sacramento and the Bay Area, the HCS technology incorporates wearable devices that disappear into traditional safety clothing, artificial intelligence, BIM and cloud computing to create an ecosystem that keeps workers safe.


A DPR team performs tasks with HCS wearable devices embedded in traditional safety clothing. (Photo courtesy: Jonathan Savosnick)

HCS software develops deep insights about safety and efficiency, and can identify safety issues in real-time, as well as predict future events. HCS focuses on activities and repetitive motion to pose the question, what can be prevented right now, and what can be prevented in the future?

Read more about how we’re using wearable devices to prevent injuries before they happen in the DPR Review