June 25, 2015

Future For KIDS Sports Camp Offers Fun, Inspiration for Youth and Volunteers

What do you get when you put 307 elementary school aged youth with more than 100 adult volunteers – including 25 college football players, four college coaches and one school mascot – to try their hand at football, baseball, soccer, an obstacle course and a host of other activities?

For those participating in the Future for KIDS (FFK) Sports camp held at Arizona State University’s (ASU) football practice field in Tempe, Ariz. May 30, the answer was a day of fun and inspiration for all involved.

Now in its sixth year, the camp drew at-risk youngsters from around the Phoenix region to participate in an event designed to both inspire and motivate. The camp was made possible in part through the DPR Foundation’s annual grant of $60,000. A half dozen Phoenix DPR volunteers turned out to help run the event as well.

The camp kicked off with Zumba and stretch-and-flex to music provided by a local radio station, accompanied by members of the ASU college football team. After the warmup, they gathered to hear an inspirational message from ASU football coach Todd Graham who spoke about character and responsibility.

“The kids all seemed really excited to hear from Coach Graham,” said DPR’s David Mazzarelli, who took the lead as one of the DPR volunteers the day of the camp. “He got them excited about the day and about our responsibility to give respect to others, and what that means to help build character.”

Photo credit: David Mazzarelli

Once divided into smaller groups, the youngsters rotated through 12 stations spanning everything from baseball, basketball and soccer to a water challenge, obstacle course, a fitness station and more. DPR volunteers ran the baseball station. “It was fun to see the parents who tagged along cheering their kids on as they ran the bases,” Mazzarelli said. “They all had a blast.”

Throughout the day, members of the ASU cheerleading squad and the ASU Sun Devil mascot intermingled with the children as they rotated through the events.

FFK Director Madonna Bistany was enthusiastic about the result of this year’s efforts. “Future for KIDS 2015 Youth Sports and Fitness Camp was a HUGE success,” she commented. “DPR’s volunteers sprinkled cheer throughout camp, ensuring the kids had a great experience!”

June 24, 2015

Topping Out at Arizona State University

Earlier this month, the project team for the Arizona Center for Law and Society building as well as the campus community gathered to mark the project’s topping out.

Nearly a year after we began construction, the topping out was an important milestone for the 268,000-sq.-ft., $129 million facility.

Here are some photos from the June 9th topping out event:

The crew gets the beam ready.

The crew signs the beam.

The community signs the beam.

Then, the beam starts its ascent.

The beam swings into place.

Finally, the beam is in place and the topping out is complete.

The facility will hold its first classes in August 2016.

In addition to the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law spaces, the facility will also include the first-of-its-kind student law firm (run by recent graduates), a retail space on the first floor consisting of the bookstore and a café, and a two-level underground parking structure. The Ross-Blakely Law Library—currently housed in a separate building on the Tempe campus—will also be moved to the new facility.

You can watch the project as it progresses in real time here.

June 15, 2015

DPR Sacramento Office Cornhole Competition Supports Vital Community Resource

Cornhole is catching on in California.

At least it is in DPR’s offices, where the Sacramento office followed San Diego’s lead and hosted a Cornhole Classic tournament on the afternoon of Friday, May 8.

Photo courtesy Alena Quintero

The event brought together more than 30 of DPR’s local subcontractors and design team partners for an afternoon of fun and friendly competition, and raised serious cash for an important local community organization known as WEAVE. WEAVE is the primary provider of crisis intervention services for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault in Sacramento County.

Rodman Marquez and Megan Valles organized the event, and talked about why they opted for a cornhole event in lieu of a traditional golf tournament fundraiser. “This gave golfers and non-golfers alike the opportunity to participate in a very low key and casual environment,” Valles commented. “Since everyone was together in the same general location, it was easier for everyone to mingle as well.”

Set up in DPR’s office parking lot, the 96 participants competed in pool play and then tournament head-to-head matches. Players toss corn-filled bags into a pair of 2-by-4 wooden platforms in a game that essentially tests eye-hand coordination and accuracy.

Photo courtesy Rodman Marquez

A live band, lunch and beverages and a chance to live one of DPR’s core values, Enjoyment, made for a memorable afternoon.

“By nature of what we do on a day-to-day basis, our days can be challenging and our subcontract and design partners feel this pressure as well,” Valles commented. “It’s a good feeling to see people smiling and laughing that you usually meet under more serious circumstances. The event removed all barriers and brought us together in support of a common goal.”

Photo courtesy Alena Quintero

Added Marquez, “This was a sold out event, and everyone commented on what a great idea it was and that they want to do it again next year. It was great to raise funds for and bring awareness to WEAVE.”

June 15, 2015

UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay: Integrated Project, Integrated Delivery

The UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay in San Francisco is the nation’s first integrated project of its size and scope, according an article published by Healthcare Design, a resource that reaches, informs and influences key decision makers responsible for healthcare facilities.

The 289-bed, six-story, 878,000-sq.-ft. campus is home to three specialty hospitals:

  • The 183-bed Benioff Children’s Hospital with urgent/emergency care, primary care and specialty outpatient services.
  • The Betty Irene Moore Women’s Hospital offering cancer care, specialty surgery and 36-bed birth center.
  • The 70-bed Bakar Cancer Hospital for adults.

The team, which included DPR and Stantec, also built the project using an integrated approach—working together nearly 18 months prior to the start of construction to virtually design and construct the facility in the Integrated Center for Design and Construction (ICDC) onsite. Techniques including target value design, building information modeling (BIM), model-based estimating, and lean methodology allowed the team to reduce costs without reducing scope.

“There’s a lot of interest beyond our shores about how we were able to do this and how it can be adopted into other places,” UCSF Director of Design and Construction Stuart Eckblad told Healthcare Design. “I think we’ve made a significant contribution in how people are thinking about their buildings…and instead of thinking about the cost, thinking about the value.”

Completed late last year and opened on Feb. 1, the project has achieved LEED Gold certification and won a Fiatech CETI award for scenario-based project planning, as well as been spoken about at numerous national conferences, including ASHE PDC in San Antonio in March.

June 2, 2015

Why Do We Stand Down? (Video)

On May 4th, 6,670 participants at 79 DPR jobsites and 18 offices across multiple time zones joined together to take part in the 2015 OSHA National Safety Stand-Down campaign. By taking a moment to pause and reflect, we were able to raise awareness about fall protection for thousands in the construction industry.

On each jobsite, we asked participants to answer the question: “Why do you Stand Down?” 

While the type of projects were different—from a healthcare interior build-out to a new corporate campus—and the locations ranged from coast to coast…the common reason found among all responses? To send people safely home to their families every day.  

Watch this video to view our 2015 National Safety Stand Down participation and see why we stood down:


This was OSHA’s second National Safety Stand-Down campaign. Our participation grew by more than 500 people compared to last year’s Stand-Down, which included 6,125 participants across DPR jobsites and offices. Last year’s OSHA campaign reached one million workers total in the construction industry.

This is the fourth safety-related blog post in a series of posts written by DPR safety champions across the nation. The series covers practical safety tips as well as safety philosophies. Read the first, second and third.

May 29, 2015

Safety, Quality and Productivity: A Holistic Approach

Safety. Quality. Productivity. While some may see these as separate modes of thinking, they really are—and should always be—integrated.

Safety, quality and productivity are three aspects of one holistic approach to building, which benefits the flow of a project.  

In a holistic approach, you remove the silos. You don’t just think of safety or quality or productivity as separate values or reactionary, corrective measures only taken on by different groups of people that are not usually connected. On the contrary, in the holistic approach, the entire team adopts a mindset that combines all three of these values—with engagement at all levels—from the very beginning all the way through the end of the project.

Safety should be the primary filter integrated into everything. When project teams execute the holistic approach correctly, properly and safely, they consistently meet or beat their schedules with less rework in the field.  

Watch this video to learn more about DPR’s safety philosophy, and how we promote and nurture an Injury-Free Environment (IFE):

This is the third blog post in a series of safety-related posts this month; here are the first and second posts. 

May 28, 2015

Teambuilding in Atlanta During Lifecycle Building Center Volunteer Day

More than a dozen DPR Hardin volunteers, ranging from interns to senior management, gathered May 15 for a day of team building and giving back during their second Lifecycle Building Center (LBC) volunteer day in Atlanta. LBC is a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing the Atlanta community’s sustainability. LBC achieves its mission both through educational outreach and by reselling materials that have been repurposed and reclaimed from renovated or demolished buildings.

Celebrating DPR's 25th anniversary year by supporting our local communities. Photo courtesy Ashley Conklin

Approximately 15 DPR Hardin volunteers started off working together in a group team-building session, de-nailing hardwood floors that had been pulled from a 100-year-old house and were being repurposed for future use.

Removing nails from 100-year-old hardwood flooring. Photo courtesy Ashley Conklin

After the de-nailing work, the group then split into groups to tackle additional projects. Several of the volunteers worked on sorting, categorizing and preparing for sale hundreds of slightly irregular blinds that had donated by manufacturers. Others helped separate and organize various sizes and styles of casters and assorted materials such as nails, screws and bolts among other miscellaneous materials.

Organizing reclaimed flooring to prepare for retail sale. Photo courtesy Ashley Conklin

Altogether, volunteers put in about 60 hours during the recent store organization day, according to Atlanta volunteer coordinator Andi King. “It was a nice team-building day,” she commented. “It was nice to see such a variety of DPR Hardin employees, many of whom don’t usually get to work directly with each other and some of whom actually had never even met before, having the opportunity to work together for a good cause.”

In addition to approximately twice yearly, hands-on volunteer days at the store, DPR Hardin provides ongoing financial support to LBC as part of their regional community outreach efforts. 

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.*