November 21, 2016

Facility of the Year Winner Roars Back to Life

In the world of business, a successful outcome is not always the result of a straightforward journey.

Best exemplifying this is a pair of projects completed for Genentech, where a world-class project team successfully delivered, and then returned to service, one of the largest biotech fermentation facilities of its kind.

In 2007, the team completed the Cell Culture Biologics Drug Substance Plant 2 (CCP2) Facility, which employs some of the largest scale production equipment in the industry. In 2010, the facility was shuttered after Roche acquired Genentech and the decision was made to fulfill the demand for their drugs elsewhere. And finally, in 2015, the CCP2 facility fulfilled its mission of producing lifesaving pharmaceuticals for a global marketplace.

With a challenging and award-winning project like this came aggressive goals and tight timelines. To be successful, the Return to Service team capitalized on lessons learned from the original CCP2 team.

What were these lessons? Read the DPR Review story to find out.

November 11, 2016

Honoring DPR Veterans: Rob Sparacino, U.S. Navy

Home means something different for everyone. Home is more than a place and the people in it. Home is a feeling of acceptance and understanding.  

For DPR’s Rob Sparacino, home is a vast open space in San Joaquin County outside of Stockton, California. Grassy fields and dirt have been transformed into SEAL for a Day, an experience that brings civilians together with former U.S. Navy SEALs and veterans of other elite forces to spend a day going through field and weapons training used by the Navy’s primary special operations force.  

A former corpsman in the U.S. Navy, Sparacino served for six years as a combat medic, practicing trauma medicine in the field during Operation Desert Storm in 1991. His time in the military brought him to places including Kuwait, the Philippines, Guam, South Korea, and even the North Pole for artic training in the Bering Sea. Submarine-qualified and combat dive-certified, Sparacino knows how to navigate all kinds of terrain, survive in frigid and tropical weather, and quickly read people and situations to know whether he needs to protect someone, or protect himself from them.


Rob Sparacino, corpsman in the U.S. Navy, is honored by an admiral post-deployment. (Photo courtesy: Rob Sparacino)

Sparacino, who joined DPR in 1999 after being honorably discharged from service, is now a senior superintendent, using the skills he so finely honed in the Navy on his jobsite every day. Accustomed to training for 16 out of 24 hours a day on a constant high level of stress, Sparacino can handle anything at any time and is not rattled by the daily challenges of civilian life and working on large-scale, complex projects. Things that might cause others to panic roll off his back, because he’s seen worse. According to Sparacino, it is this slower pace that is often one of the hardest things to adjust to when veterans return to life as civilians.

Discipline, self-motivation and collaboration are keys to success on the jobsite and in the military. In the Navy, Sparacino was trained to learn everyone’s job, and know where everybody is supposed to be at all times. The same concept applies on his jobsites, especially when multiple trades are working in the same area – all the pieces need to operate in tandem, like a finely tuned machine, to prevent injury, improve efficiency and successfully deliver a project.


Sparacino enjoys keeping up his tactical skill sets as one of the resident medics and unofficial instructors at SEAL for a Day. (Photo courtesy: Rob Sparacino)

Creating this teamwork is one of Sparacino’s favorite parts of his job.

“To be successful, we need to collaborate and work together. Rounding up clients, subs and our own team brings me back to my military experience. Helping people see the benefit of working together is one of the most rewarding parts of my job,” he said. “Most veterans will tell you, the thing they miss most is the brotherhood. In the 18 years I’ve been with DPR, I hope that people walk away knowing that I’ve got their back. They can count on me.”

At SEAL for a Day, Sparacino enjoys keeping up his tactical skill sets as one of the resident medics and an unofficial instructor, making sure participants abide by the safety rules of the obstacle courses and training with firearms. In the case of an injury, he is there to treat on-scene until EMS arrives.

Surrounded by fellow veterans, training and challenging visitors to SEAL for a Day in safety, as well as physical and mental toughness, Sparacino has found a place where he feels understood and embraced by “brothers” who share the same character and values that he does.

He’s found a place where he belongs. Home. 


The SEAL for a Day Team is visited by retired U.S. Navy SEAL Mike Thornton (center), recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor. (Photo courtesy: Rob Sparacino)

November 11, 2016

Honoring DPR Veterans: Nick Ertmer, U.S. Air Force

Some languages can cross every culture in the world.

During his four years in the U.S. Air Force, DPR’s Nick Ertmer found that one of those is candy. Stationed in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom, Ertmer and his team would venture off-base into the countryside, passing out candy to the elation of the young Afghan children, fostering goodwill and bonds of trust.

“It was days like those that really grounded me, because we’re all more alike than we are different. Seeing those communities impacted how I view the world,” said Ertmer, who joined the Air Force after graduating from the University of Southern California’s Air Force ROTC program with a degree in civil engineering.

Captain in the 9th Civil Engineering Squadron, Ertmer led a team of engineers at Beale Air Force Base in Northern California, and Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan, tasked with making sure airfields were operational so planes could take off, land and perform their missions. Responsible for power production, safe drinking water and sewage, Ertmer’s team of 35 was made up of equipment operators, electricians, plumbers and other technicians.


Nick Ertmer (left) was stationed at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan, where his squadron kept airfields operational. (Photo courtesy: Nick Ertmer)

While deployed, a large part of his job was also planning what the base would leave the Afghans with when the Americans left the area. Ertmer helped plan a large-scale airfield replacement, creating a permanent airport that the Afghans would be able to use for decades to come.

“The Air Force opened me up to the diversity of our world. Not just seeing the world through the eyes of Afghans, but it also opened my eyes to the personal challenges and adversity that exists in every team, and every company,” he said.

After separating from the Air Force, Ertmer joined DPR in 2006 as a project engineer to grow the leadership skills that he had built in service and be a part of the entrepreneurial, inventive culture he had heard so much about from others in the industry. Ertmer draws parallels between the Air Force’s deliberate efforts to teach leadership skills and DPR’s culture at every level, where everyone is a leader in a different way.

He moved to DPR’s Raleigh office in 2010, where he is now a business unit leader, overseeing operations and helping project teams build great things for notable customers such as Fidelity, Biogen, United Therapeutics, EMC, Facebook, NC State University and Duke University.

“It’s a pretty humbling thing, knowing that I am now in a unique spot to influence people’s lives and careers, if they allow me to,” he said. “It brings me back to how no matter where you traveled in the world, as soon as you saw someone else in uniform, you felt a bond, an understanding – that you were there to support them and they were there to support you. That is a very powerful thing. We have opportunities in everything we do each day to model ourselves after that bond.”

Today, Ertmer takes pride in creating these bonds across DPR, and creating an empowered, supportive culture driven by people development and decision-making power at the front lines. He believes we are all tied together by a common fabric, united by being a part of something greater than ourselves – whether it is serving our country, passing out candy or building great things. 

November 8, 2016

DPR and the Batchelor Foundation Team Up to Build ‘Creation Station’ for Florida Teens

New hands-on learning opportunities that combine creativity and cutting-edge technology will soon be just a click away for over three dozen south Florida teens, thanks to a new Creation Station center that enables them to produce and edit audio and video recordings on demand.

DPR teamed up with the Batchelor Foundation to deliver the highly anticipated audio/visual recording center project at Milagro Center in Delray Beach, which serves economically disadvantaged youth in the region. Both longtime contributors to the organization, DPR provided materials and labor to renovate and equip a soundproof room that will house software and equipment provided by the Batchelor Foundation through a grant.

The Creation Station room renovation included designing, assembling and installing numerous large, multicolored acoustic panels, strategically placed for maximum visual effect. This fall, about ten DPR volunteers spent an afternoon creating and installing the panels, aided by a handful of Milagro Center teens who were inspired to help.


At the Milagro Center, DPR volunteers build the Creation Station, an audio/visual recording space, for Florida teens. (Photo courtesy: Adriana Martinengo-Rosenberg)

Luke Stocking, DPR’s liaison to the Milagro Center, said the teens are looking forward to designing and producing their own original videos using a big screen, computer software and audio equipment in the soundproofed, custom-renovated room. The only other Creation Station in Palm Beach County is at the Main Branch library, 25 miles north of Milagro Center – and it usually has a waitlist of two weeks to use that equipment.

Even more important than the “cool” factor of being able to make multimedia videos in their own after-school center, however, are the practical skills the Milagro Center teens will gain from doing so.


When complete, the Creation Station at the Milagro Center will provide teens with technical skills they can use in the workforce. (Photo courtesy: Adriana Martinengo-Rosenberg)

“The big picture is that it gives them technical, professional skills they can use in the workforce,” said Stocking. “These teens will get hands-on experience with the software, the technology and the equipment at their own center, whenever they want to use it.”

The Creation Station will be completed this month.

“The teens can’t wait to start using the Creation Station,” said Anthony Bacchus, director of the Milagro Center. “DPR has made a major impact at the teen center over the years, giving the teens confidence and knowledge about careers in construction. Sponsors and parents are truly inspired by DPR’s involvement with the center and the community.”

October 7, 2016

Fire Prevention Week: Fire Safety Begins at Home!

Fire safety is important every day of the year, at home and on our jobsites.

The longest running public health and safety observance on record, Fire Prevention Week began in 1922, and has been observed on the Sunday through Saturday period in which October 9 falls since then, aiming to educate citizens with the information they need to prevent death, injury, property and economic loss caused by fires.   

145 years ago from October 8-9, 1871, what is now known as the Great Chicago Fire killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures and burned more than 2,000 acres, forever changing the way that firefighters, public officials and citizens thought about fire safety.


Smoke alarms need to be replaced every ten years. (Image courtesy National Fire Protection Association)

Fire safety begins at home. Being informed about the basics could make a difference in protecting you wherever you are – at home, school or work. Below are a few fire safety tips:

  • Check your smoke detector battery: Three out of five home fire deaths happen from fires in homes with no smoke alarms, or no functioning smoke alarms. Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in reported home fires in half, but when they fail to operate, it is usually because batteries are disconnected or dead. Replace your smoke alarms every ten years.
  • Have an escape plan: Half of home fire deaths result from fires reported between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., when most people are asleep. Have an escape plan that includes: two different ways out, someone assigned to help those that need help getting out, someone assigned to call 911 and a safe meeting place outside of the house.
  • Cook with care: Cooking equipment is the leading cause of home fire injuries, followed by heating equipment. Never leave cooking unattended, wear clothes with short, rolled-up or tight-fitting sleeves and turn pot/pan handles inward on the stove so they can’t be accidentally bumped.  
  • Heat with caution: Just over half of home heating fire deaths result from fires caused by heating equipment too close to things that can burn, such as upholstered furniture, clothing, mattresses or bedding. Keep portable heaters and space heaters at least three feet away from anything that can burn; unplug them when not in use.
  • Use electricity safely:  Failures or malfunctions in wiring, cords, lighting and other electrical equipment caused an estimated 44,900 home fires in 2013, resulting in 410 deaths and $1.3 billion in direct property damage. Avoid using extension cords when possible, never run them under rugs or carpet and replace and frayed or cracked extension cords. Don’t tamper with your fuse box of use improper-size fuses.

Fires are fast-moving and ever-changing situations, so practice, be prepared and communicate with your loved ones. Safety is a value at DPR, and we want each and every employee to stay safe wherever they are – whether it’s at home or on the jobsite.

More detailed fire safety tips can be found at the National Fire Protection Association.

*All statistics courtesy National Fire Protection Association

October 6, 2016

DPR Atlanta Volunteers Deliver Big Makeover to Boys & Girls Club Facility

Sporting fresh paint, an updated teen center, and new garden and kitchen features to support farm-to-table cooking classes, the Brookhaven Boys & Girls Club in Metropolitan Atlanta is ready to welcome more teens into their program – all thanks to a major facelift completed by DPR volunteers in September.

More than 20 DPR Atlanta employees put their professional skills to good use during the “Service September” makeover project, donating an estimated 250 volunteer hours and $4,500 in materials to complete the needed renovation.

The project included:

  • Moving the teen room to a new location within the center
  • Completely repainting the facility
  • Constructing new garden planter boxes where teens can grow their own fruits and vegetables
  • Donating and assembling a compost facility and a movable kitchen island for use in the teen center


DPR volunteers completely repainted the Brookhaven Boys & Girls Club's teen room in Atlanta. (Photo courtesy Andi King)

Volunteer coordinator Andi King serves on the board of the DeKalb County arm of the Boys & Girls Club of Metro Atlanta, and worked with the organization to identify a project that needed DPR’s unique skill set as technical builders.

DPR self-perform work crews, particularly Jay Campbell and Chris Jones, were instrumental in bringing the project to fruition.

“From the job walk to getting the self-perform guys there, to hardcore woodworking, we couldn’t have done it without them,” said King.

Ziggy Asfaw, executive director of the Brookhaven Boys & Girls Club, said the project is already having a big impact on the approximately 160 children who use the facility for after-school activities each day, including more than 30 teens who are regulars.


The DPR Atlanta team built new planter boxes, where teens will be able to grow their own fruits and vegetables. (Photo courtesy Andi King)

The makeover will help the club expand its mission to serve more youth in the community, while empowering those who already have been using the center.

“DPR has helped us give the teens more reason to want to be at the club. When members feel as though the club is a place they can call their own, they are empowered to serve the community and have a sense of belonging. With support and the feeling that they are cared for, the teens tend to pay it forward,” said Asfaw. 

October 3, 2016

DPR Volunteers Make Big Impact During ‘Service September’

For the entire month of September, DPR teams across the country took their construction skills into the communities in which we serve to support nonprofit organizations through facility renovation and repair.  

Approximately 65 employees in the Bay Area, ranging from tradespeople to senior leadership, came together on Sept. 10 with Rebuilding Together, an organization that aims to transform the lives of low-income homeowners by improving the safety and health of their homes. DPR’s Bay Area region delivered four different hands-on construction projects that underscored its commitment to giving back.

The projects – which included making improvements to an elementary school in Belmont, a historic community building in Oakland and community centers in San Francisco and San Jose – shared a common thread:  all touch the lives of a broad number of people in the communities in which they were located. Together, the projects benefited thousands of students, special needs adults and local citizens.


At the I.T. Bookman Center in San Francisco, DPR made facility improvements that will enable it to act as a disaster response shelter. (Photo courtesy: Rena Crittendon)

Rena Crittendon organized the service events in the Bay Area and personally championed the San Francisco project. “This year we wanted to concentrate our efforts on community centers or other projects that make an impact on a bigger group of people, and to take on tougher projects that required our unique skills as technical builders,” she said.

At San Francisco’s I.T. Bookman Center, which serves over 1,500 individuals annually through community programs, DPR made improvements that will enable it to operate as a disaster response shelter. The project was one component of a larger, ongoing neighborhood revitalization effort.

“DPR’s involvement was critical to our improvement program. The DPR team served as the tip of the ‘rebuilding sword’ at I.T. Bookman Community Center,” said Rebuilding Together San Francisco’s Jennifer Leshnower. “In just one day, a team of DPR volunteers completed the wall and floor demolition necessary to launch a multiphase kitchen remodeling project.”

A team of more than 20 DPR volunteers provided all the materials and manpower for work that included painting, installing a brick paver patio, landscaping, as well as removing extensive debris and clutter from three local homes.


DPR volunteers clear brush from the garden of the Cohen Bray House, a historic home in Oakland, built in 1884. (Photo courtesy: Simon Eldridge)

In three other Bay Area communities, DPR volunteers took on equally challenging and vital service projects during the Sept. 10 day of service, including:

  • Grace Community Center, San Jose – DPR’s Nick Garzini championed improvements for a community center serving adults with special needs in the South Bay. A wide spectrum of volunteers from various self-perform work divisions (doors, concrete and interiors) and subcontracting partners performed hands-on construction work. The team painted the exterior, and replaced numerous aspects of the center, including stairs, toilets, doors and lights. “The work is amazing – you have changed and affected a lot of people’s lives,” commented Debbie Reynolds from Grace Community Center after the workday. “Thank you from the bottom of my heart!”
  • Cohen Bray House Museum, Oakland – A DPR team championed by Simon Eldridge restored a historic Victorian house museum, an Oakland city landmark on the National Register of Historic Places. The team made improvements including new railings and fencing, exterior paint and a cleaned garden.
  • Nesbit Elementary School, Belmont – A dozen volunteers demolished and replaced cabinets in five classrooms for an elementary school serving almost 600 students on the Peninsula.  

September 22, 2016

Clemson Alum and DPR Project Team “All In” at Clemson Football Operations Center

Clemson Football head coach Dabo Swinney has a saying that has become an organizational mantra, a way of life, a mindset: “All In.” In October 2008, Swinney, who at the time was a wide receivers coach, was unexpectedly named the Clemson Tigers’ interim head coach mid-season. He made a now-famous speech to his players, “For the next six weeks we’re going to do things differently. I know I don’t have much of a chance to get this job, but I have a chance. For the next six weeks, I’m all in— everything I’ve got.”

There’s something about the emotions college football can evoke, unlike any other sport. The way it can fill a stadium with screaming fans, then just as easily silence them with unexpected heartbreak.  The way you know nothing about the person cheering next to you other than they too have a heart filled with the same spirit, joy and stress that fills yours. The way cheers and chants are passed down as traditions year after year.  Your college team is different than your pro team; it’s more than just your favorite team, it’s part of who you are.

You’re a Texas Longhorn, a Michigan Wolverine, an Oregon Duck, or in the case of DPR’s Joey Weir, you’re a Clemson Tiger, supporting your team in the best way you can by building its new football operations center.  


DPR’s Joey Weir (on far right) was born and raised a Clemson Tiger in Clemson, South Carolina. Three generations of his family have graduated from Clemson. (Photo courtesy: Joey Weir)

Born and raised a third-generation Clemson grad in the town of Clemson, South Carolina, Weir knows every backroad, and everyone knows him. He does his laundry in loads of lights, darks and oranges. It’s hard for him to find a shirt he owns without a Clemson Tiger Paw on it. He’s driven 60 hours (30 each way) to the national championship in Phoenix, Arizona instead of flying, just so he could throw a proper tailgate. He’s paid for every meal, souvenir and expense on the road in Tiger Paw-stamped two-dollar bills, as part of a school tradition to prove that Clemson fans do indeed travel to other cities and states to support their team.  

He never wanted to go anywhere else, so he didn’t apply to any other colleges other than (you guessed it) Clemson. After beginning his career at DPR as an intern, Weir worked as a project engineer on life sciences projects with DPR’s Atlanta and Raleigh offices. When he found out DPR was building Clemson’s new $55 million, 140,000-sq.-ft. football operations center, his ears perked up; if any project was made for him, it was this one. He made a few calls, and the rest is history.


Weir is living the dream, building great things for the school he has always loved. (Photo courtesy: Paul Borick)

Weir now works in a field office covered with Clemson decorations and gear, with a project team that includes six Clemson alumni, making for a very spirited work atmosphere as they move toward their goal of completing the facility by National Signing Day in February 2017.

In his natural habitat, the world that revolves around Clemson Football, Weir has been able to get to know the team’s coaches and recruiting staff, even appearing in a series of videos made by the athletic department. When Swinney played an Undercover Boss prank on the jobsite, it was Weir who was right beside him, showing him around and introducing him to the project team as “Fred from Albuquerque.” In other videos, he tells The Tiger mascot to get out of a crane, gets hit in the head with a football and joins the offensive line playing with Mega Tonka Tiger trucks.

“To be able to work on the football operations center, and get to know the coaches and staff has been an experience I’ll never forget. As a Clemson fan, to know that we built something that will make a positive impact on this football program for years to come, has been so rewarding,” said Weir. “I stand behind Dabo Swinney, and everything that he, this team, and this building stand for and represent.”


Clemson’s football operations center will include a locker room, bowling alley, barber shop, relaxation room and golf simulator, among many other amenities. (Rendering courtesy: HOK) 

Eight years after Swinney’s emotional locker room speech, the team is coming off a dream season that sent them to last year’s national championship. Their football operations center, fully loaded with amenities including a bowling alley, hydrotherapy pools, X-ray suite, 25,000-sq.-ft. weight room, production studio, barber shop and a replica of Clemson’s famous Death Valley hill, is set to become a major tool in the competitive college football recruiting landscape.  

Weir and his team are giving it everything they’ve got to make sure the project will be the forever home where Swinney can make countless more inspirational speeches, where recruits can visit and realize what it means to be a Tiger, and where Clemson Football can build and grow their program for decades to come.  

They’re all in. 

September 7, 2016

Celebrating DPR Interns: Who We Build is as Important as What We Build

In 1992, DPR was barely two years old and Mike Humphrey, a senior at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, was impressed by a conversation he had with DPR representatives on campus. Although two other companies had already made him offers, he showed up at DPR over winter break and asked to help in any way that he could, whatever it took.

And that’s how DPR hired its very first intern.

At DPR, who we build is as important as what we build. In a very competitive market for talent, DPR has attracted and retained a highly motivated workforce by fostering a unique, empowered company culture. All this starts with our interns, the best and brightest construction management, construction engineering, civil engineering, mechanical engineering and electrical engineering students from around the nation. 


Interns across all regions go on getaway/decompression days, which include activities such as zip lining, river-rafting and hiking. Here, DPR’s SoCal interns go on an adventure along the treetops at Big Pines Ziplines. (Photo courtesy: Maisie Gwynne) 

DPR college champions return to their alma maters (currently over 35 schools across the country) and engage students with 25-minute interviews, before second-round interviews take place in a DPR office location. The internship itself is like a three-month interview, in which both the students and the project teams get a chance to see if this would be a long-term fit. The DPR intern program has grown to include sophomores through seniors, so by the time many returning interns are graduating, they are able to fill open project engineer positions.

“College recruiting is instrumental in finding our new talent. It has a tremendous impact on DPR because we are building for the future. We are looking for people who embody our core values and have a genuine passion for construction, even if they don’t have a lot of experience yet,” said Rocky Moss, DPR’s national college recruiting champion.

And it’s working. One-third of our business unit leaders started their careers as DPR college recruits. In 2015, 83% of interns offered a full-time position accepted, and less than 1% of our 2015 college recruits involuntarily separated from DPR. 9% voluntarily separated, for reasons like returning back to school or moving to another state where DPR is not currently located.


“If you can do Class-4 rapids together, it really shows you that you can solve problems together in a real-world environment too. When they go back to their work lives, teams that have gone through these experiences feel more enjoyment, have each other’s backs and more camaraderie than when they left,” said Mike Humphrey.  (Photo courtesy: Daniel Berson) 

After Humphrey became a full-time project engineer on DPR’s first ground-up project, he continued to grow with DPR, becoming a project manager, preconstruction manager, part of the San Francisco Regional Management Team, regional manager of DPR’s San Francisco office and now, member of DPR’s Management Committee focusing on talent management, HR, training and recruiting.

“All we have is our people; we don’t sell a product. It starts with identifying them, hiring them, taking care of them as whole people, and tailoring opportunities to the individual, not pretending everyone is the same,” said Humphrey.  


DPR’s Orlando interns organize a “Roast This” BBQ to raise funds for DPR’s Build a Backpack school supply drive. (Photo courtesy: Taylor Duffy)

The intern program is a large part of DPR’s culture of development. Not only does DPR want its employees to better themselves through constant self-development and learning, but we want them to learn how to develop others. The intern program offers second-year engineers a chance to grow their own leadership, listening and mentoring skills with interns, resulting in a culture driven by honesty, feedback, and decision-making power at the front lines, with interns receiving the same experience as engineers. 

DPR is now filled with people who have the same persistent and bullet-smart self-initiative that led Humphrey to create a spot for himself at DPR 24 years ago.

“DPR used to just mean Doug, Peter and Ron, but at some point it transcended the names and became an idea, a point of view, a culture,” Humphrey said. “And through our hiring and talent development, we will protect that culture for decades to come.”


DPR’s Houston interns hit the racetrack in a go-kart racing competition. (Photo courtesy: Matthew Aversa)

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.