December 10, 2015

The Rewards of Awards

Companies that win awards, win rewards beyond the accolades.

That’s the conclusion of two separate studies that sought to determine whether awards deliver tangible benefits to the companies that receive them.

A study released earlier this year by jobs and recruiting firm Glassdoor found that companies that rank on “best employers” lists—an indication of employee satisfaction—experienced higher returns and financial performance than the overall stock market during the last six years. Meanwhile, companies with low employee satisfaction ratings have underperformed the overall market during that same period.

Since 2009, a portfolio of companies on Fortune’s “Best Companies to Work For” outperformed the S&P 500 by 84 percent (for five consecutive years, DPR has ranked in the Top 25 of Fortune’s “Best Companies to Work For”).

Additionally, a similar portfolio of companies on Glassdoor’s “Best Places to Work” outperformed the overall market by nearly 116 percent (and DPR gets 4.6 out of 5 stars in reviews on Glassdoor.)

Research conducted more than a decade earlier by Kevin Hendricks and Vinod Singhal, which is still cited as the benchmark of assessing the value of total quality management (TQM) principles, found that corporate quality awards had an impact on bottom-line business results. The researchers found that over a 10-year period, more than 600 corporate winners of quality awards had 48% higher growth in operating income and 37% higher growth in sales compared to the control group. Award winners also outperformed the controls on return on sales, growth in employees and growth in assets.

That said, we are honored that you like us and the work that we do!

Some examples of recent awards include:

  • Eagle award for excellence in construction, from the ABC of the Carolinas to the University of North Carolina at Greensboro Dining Hall Renovation and Expansion project 
  • Large builder of the year, given by the West Palm Beach chapter of the American Institute of Architects
  • Award of merit, from ENR Southwest to the Banner Boswell Medical Center Hybrid Operating Room project
  • Corporate safety award, given by the Associated General Contractors of Metro Washington 

For more, check out our awards here.

*This blog post is part of a series that celebrates DPR's silver anniversary and focuses on 25 great things from the company from over 25 years. Here's the last one

December 8, 2015

Milagro Center Recognizes DPR, and Ambassador of the Year

DPR’s goal to become indispensable to the communities in which it works was reinforced in the West Palm Beach region recently by one of its key community beneficiaries – the Milagro Center.

This fall the Center recognized DPR employee Luke Stocking with an “Ambassador of the Year” Award, while also heralding DPR’s corporate efforts supporting the center’s youth programs with both financial and hands-on support. In addition to Stocking, West Palm Beach office regional leader for DPR, Deborah Beetson, also serves on the Milagro board of directors.

Pictured at the award ceremony are DPR's Theresa Kinsloe, Adriana Martinengo-Rosenberg, and Luke Stocking. Photo courtesy the Milagro Center.

Both Stocking and DPR as a corporate contributor were highlighted at a volunteer recognition event in October. Barbara Stark, President and CEO of Milagro Center, offered these comments on Stocking’s work and DPR’s commitment to the program: “Luke is more than just an ambassador sitting as a committee member on our ambassador committee. He’s really taken it to the next level. To us, Luke is a miracle. He has made so many things possible for us that we never thought would be possible. Combining what Luke does as an ambassador for Milagro Center with the monetary grant proceeds that we get each year from DPR, in addition to the help they give us with construction projects and now with our teen center development programs – it’s been absolutely amazing and had such remarkable affects both on our center and our foundation as well as on the lives of our kids.”

Stocking has championed DPR’s efforts with Milagro center for the past two years. The primary efforts in 2015 and those planned for the year ahead are on further growing Milagro Center’s Teen Center and the programs in which local teens participate. He has spearheaded several impactful initiatives that capitalize on DPR's skills over the past year, including a career day with the Milagro teens, a three-session Construction School where youths learned about jobsite safety, power tools and career options, and a project to build and install countertops to create a dedicated homework area for the club.

In 2016, plans are in the works for a hands-on workbench design and build in the fall, ongoing career development talks delivered by DPR employees, and a spring project being planned for the Center’s “Star” program serving elementary school age children.

DPR hosted a three-session Construction School that introduced Milagro Center youth to many facets of working in construction. Day 1 of the school is highlighted in this video. Photo and video courtesy Adriana Martinengo-Rosenberg.

For Stocking, the time put into Milagro Center serving on the committee and helping the center with various construction and educational contributions brings a sense of deep personal gratification. “It is rewarding to see the effort we are putting in to the Center be recognized and appreciated,” he says. “The award means that we are truly becoming indispensable to our community.”

Milagro Center’s mission is to enrich children’s lives through cultural arts, academic support and living values. The nonprofit serves at-risk children, youth and families living at or below the federal poverty level in South Florida.

December 1, 2015

Building Great Things in Austin (Video)

This year alone, DPR was ranked No. 2 on the Top Commercial Construction Company list and No. 6 on the list of the Top Midsized Employers in Austin, Texas.

Curious about our Austin office? Learn about our passion for building and vision of shared leadership, and meet some of our folks in the following video.

With projects like the new Charles Schwab corporate campus, the Aloft/Element Hotel, Third+Shoal Office Building, the Replacement Office Building and the Business School for the University of Texas, there is so much to be excited about in Austin this year, next year and beyond.

November 19, 2015

DPR Pitches In on Habitat Project to Help Local Family Realize Home Ownership Dream

The dream of home ownership is a step closer to reality for one Sacramento-area family, thanks to a Habitat for Humanity project aided by DPR’s recent donation of both funding and labor.

A total of 10 DPR Sacramento office employees pitched in about 75 volunteer hours over two workdays, helping build the infrastructure for two new homes that will go to deserving, low-income families in the Del Paso Heights area. DPR crews worked alongside members of the Cebrero-Lara family which is slated to receive one of the two homes. The family ultimately will contribute at least 500 hours of sweat equity on their home and other projects to fulfill the home ownership guidelines set forth by Habitat.

Photos courtesy Rodman Marquez and Habitat for Humanity of Greater Sacramento

During the workdays earlier this month, volunteers literally got into the trenches to dig out space for sewer and water connections one day while installing plywood for sheer walls on the other. Before either workday could take place, however, DPR’s Sacramento office had already stepped in to donate a $10,000 funding shortfall that had initially threatened to delay the project’s fall start date.

Superintendent Marco Cabodi participated in both workdays to get the project off the ground. He was joined by an array of DPR employees, representing regional management, business development and estimating crews as well as project managers, engineering and craft personnel.

“It’s a lot of hard work but quite rewarding to be part of creating a new home for somebody who needs it, while supporting the wonderful Habitat organization,” Cabodi commented. “These are smart, efficient new homes (designed to LEED Gold standards) that brighten a little spot in the community and have a positive effect on the whole area.”

Photo courtesy Rodman Marquez

As a builder, the project fits perfectly in DPR’s wheelhouse, and crews made quick work of a job that Habitat for Humanity of Greater Sacramento had estimated would take substantially longer. In fact Habitat’s site supervisor raved Saturday morning about how much the DPR crew had been able to knock out Friday, noting that the work DPR had completed by noon would have taken their regular volunteers over two days to complete.

Volunteer Ken Vail, a DPR carpenter foreman, said that it was a good feeling to give back and contribute in a way that utilized his building skills. “It always feels good to get out there and help,” he commented. “I can’t wait until my children are old enough to do these things with me and to show them it’s good to get out there and lend a hand. Giving people a warm and safe place to raise their children is a great feeling, and it’s a reminder of how fortunate we are.”

Photo courtesy Habitat for Humanity of Greater Sacramento

DPR plans to continue its participation on Habitat’s Cebrero-Lara home building project, with another workday tentatively planned for January. The project is slated to complete in the spring of 2016. 

November 12, 2015

Offices and Projects: From Sea to Shining Sea

For 25 years, DPR has been serving customers across the nation by bringing our technical expertise to a regional level through our 20 offices. These regional offices allow us to support customers wherever we are needed and respond to the frequently changing needs of the construction industry.  

Throughout these regions, DPR and its customers have been hard at work. Curious? Here's a peek at some of the many exciting projects being accomplished, from sea to shining sea:

  • In Texas, we broke ground on the Capital One Plano campus. The 5,900 employees on campus will be glad to hear that this four-story building will include a game room, collaboration spaces, cafeteria, and training rooms. This will be the seventh building on the Plano campus and is expected to be complete by early 2017. 
  • In the Mid-Atlantic, we continue to be part of the growing data center presence and recently broke ground on the 45-acre Equinix Ashburn North Campus. This will add 1.2 million sq. ft. of data center space to the area in Northern Virginia referred to as “Data Center Alley,” where up to 70% of the world’s internet traffic flows through.
  • In Florida, we are renovating the Boca Raton Gloria Drummond Physical Rehabilitation Institute. This project will make it possible for patients to receive speech therapy, assisted daily living, cardiac rehabilitation, wound care, aquatic therapy, diabetes treatment and more.  
  • In San Diego, the next generation of nurse scientists, educators, and practitioners are continuing their education at the University of San Diego Beyster Institute for Nursing Research.  This new building, complete with a simulation facility featuring computerized mannequins, was completed in just 16 months and is now a national model for nursing education.

The list could go on, but we'll keep it brief. While this is just a glimpse of what we're up to, DPR's strong national presence allows us to continously embark on many amazing projects such as these and provide a consistent experience for our customers every time. 

*This blog post is part of a series that celebrates DPR's silver anniversary and focuses on 25 great things from the company from over 25 years. Here's the last one

November 6, 2015

What Makes a Workplace Great?

If you’re sitting in your office reading this, take a moment and look around. What do you enjoy most about your workplace? Is it something specific, or is it something a little less tangible? What is it exactly that makes a workplace great?  

  • According to Gallup, the average American adult works 47 hours a week, which adds up to 2,256 hours of your life per year. That is just one of the many reasons why CEOs, HR departments, and psychologists across the country have put in so much time and effort into researching what makes a workplace great.
  • Ron Friedman, a psychologist and business consultant, recently published a book called, The Best Place to Work: The Art and Science of Creating an Extraordinary Workplace. In his book, Friedman suggests that one of the best things employers can do for their workplaces is to challenge their employees, without overwhelming them. With the right amount of challenge, employees will feel empowered to come up with their own best approach or solution to a problem.
  • In addition to empowerment, people need to feel like they are part of one culture. When Fortune magazine spoke to China Gorman, the CEO of the Great Place to Work Institute, she said companies succeed when they create one consistent culture throughout the entire organization. By doing so, employees will be better equipped for collaboration, which ensures customers will have a consistently excellent experience.  

DPR strives to not only build great things, but to build great people – and it shows.

For five consecutive years, DPR has been awarded a spot on Fortune’s Best Places to Work list for reasons such as our open culture and our environment of trust that empowers employees at all levels to make decisions in the best interest of our projects, our customers and our company. This feeling of empowerment can be felt throughout all of DPR’s regions. In 2015 alone, the Triangle Business Journal, the Dallas Business JournalFlorida Trend, and the San Francisco Business Times have all given DPR top spots on their lists of the best places to work.  

*This blog post is part of a series that celebrates DPR's silver anniversary and focuses on 25 great things from the company from over 25 years. Here's the last one. Follow #DPR25 on social media to learn more.

November 3, 2015

DPR’s Mid-Atlantic Region Makes a Difference with Playworks in D.C.

There couldn’t have been a better backdrop than national “Make a Difference Day” Oct. 24 for DPR’s Mid-Atlantic region volunteers to undertake a community service project designed to bring more healthy fun to inner city youngsters in Washington, D.C.

About 10 DPR-affiliated volunteers along with 25 volunteers from local TV station WUSA 9 came together at Malcom X Elementary School to make quick work of a project focused on creating fun. The end product: 12 mobile “wall ball” courts for Playworks, a nonprofit organization that works in under-resourced schools to achieve its goal to transform recess and “create a place for every kid on the playground to feel included, be active, and build valuable social and emotional skills.”

The building project was custom made for DPR’s unique skill set, and it marked their first community event with Playworks in the D.C. region. DPR currently maintains relationships with Playworks in the Bay Area and Phoenix regions as well.

It was rewarding for all involved according to DPR’s Graham Parks, who helped set up the outreach to Playworks and organize the event. Hearing the school principal’s gratitude about their effort drove home the impact DPR had, doing what it does best – designing, building and delivering a needed project that benefits the local community.

“The principal got up and really thanked us for donating our time and energy. It made my day when she said that when the kids showed up Monday it would be like Christmas for them,” Parks commented. “We really did feel like we were making a difference.”

DPR volunteer Chris Hoffman added that working alongside the friendly, engaging volunteers from WUSA 9, Playworks and AmeriCorps while taking the lead in translating initial design into useable wall ball courts for the school’s approximately 220 youngsters was particularly rewarding. He helped create a mock-up and prefabricated 11 additional mobile courts off-site for easy assembly by volunteer crews on the workday. In addition to about 120 volunteer hours, DPR’s Mid-Atlantic office donated some $2,000 in materials for the courts as well as the various other small projects undertaken by the volunteers, including painting lines on the asphalt playground for basketball and Four Square.

“This event was a good kickoff to what will hopefully be a long-term partnership with the Playworks organization here in the Mid-Atlantic region,” Parks added.

October 30, 2015

Treat Yourself Safely - Happy Halloween!

Safety is a value at DPR Construction. Whether it’s on the job or at home with family and friends, we want you to have a spooktacular time. Following are a few safety reminders as you head into the night in search of treats or a good holiday fright:

 Walk Safely: Flashlights will not only help you see, but help others see you. On average, twice as many child pedestrians are injured on Halloween compared to any other day of the year. Look both ways before crossing the street and use crosswalks wherever possible.
 Treat Safely: Examine all treats for choking hazards, tampering and allergy risks before eating them. Limit the amount of treats you eat.
 Dress Safely: Wear well-fitting masks, costumes and shoes to avoid blocked vision, trips and falls. Consider adding reflective tape to costumes and trick-or-treat bags for increased visibility.
 Drive Safely: Children may be hard to see in costume. Reduce any distractions inside your car so that you can concentrate on the road, and be alert for children or little monsters wandering into the street.
 Carve Safely: Use the right tools and do the decorative work before taking off the top of the pumpkin to reduce the likelihood of hand injury. Also use a flashlight or glow stick instead of a candle in your jack-o-lantern. Be cautious of lit candles (don’t leave them unattended).

Did you know? 
Halloween is more than 2,000 years old. The origins of Halloween have been traced back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, which was celebrated on Nov. 1 as a time to honor all saints. The evening before (Oct. 31) was known as All Hallow’s Eve and later Halloween. People would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off roaming ghosts.

DPR Construction is 25 years old. The origins of DPR have been traced back to a temporary workspace off of Embarcadero Road in Palo Alto. In November of 1990, DPR moved into its new office in Redwood City, where Peter Nosler and Peter Salvati built the wall behind the front lobby desk—DPR’s first self-perform work. Everything was new and being invented to ward off the status quo.

Thank you for helping to move the industry forward and turning a vision into reality.

Have a safe and Happy Halloween!

October 29, 2015

UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay Wins ENR Award

In the last month or so, there's been a flurry of activity around the integrated UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay project:

  • The 878,000-sq.-ft. medical facility won ENR California’s best healthcare project in Northern California.
  • Members of the project team spoke at the 28th annual Healthcare Facilities Symposium & Expo, held October 6-8 in Chicago, IL. Professionals from all areas of healthcare facility delivery came together to examine the latest trends, perspectives, products and solutions in the market sector. This year’s theme: the intersection of design and wellness. 

At the Healthcare Facilities Symposium & Expo, DPR’s Ray Trebino joined J. Stuart Eckblad, director, design & construction for the UCSF Medical Center’s Mission Bay Hospitals project, and Stantec’s Laurel Harrison, to lead a session on the $1.5 billion UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay project. The session’s focus: How they brought together a community of more than 1,200 individuals to deliver one of the largest healthcare projects ever completed in the U.S. ahead of schedule and under budget – all while creating an optimal healing environment. Fostering a culture of shared values, vision, behaviors and processes, the team took healthcare delivery to the next level on this world-class project that opened on Feb. 1 this year.

Starting in May 2009—more than a year and a half before construction began—more than 250 architects, engineers and contractors co-located in the Integrated Center for Design and Construction (ICDC) on the 14-acre site to build a high-performing team focused on “first, doing what’s best for the project.” The result is one of the greenest urban hospitals in the nation, which received LEED Gold certification prior to occupancy. The facility was delivered eight days early despite implementing nearly $55 million in changes and passed the California Department of Public Health’s licensing inspections with “no deficiencies” in 2 days, which is unprecedented among new California hospitals (which average 30 days for this process). 

Photo Credit: Rien van Rijthoven

And it seems certain that many healthcare projects will continue to comprise a growing share of the healthcare market landscape in the near future. It’s been three years since DPR published its “Future of Healthcare” study, but the findings and implications from this yearlong survey of executives and leaders in healthcare and the A/E/C industry remain highly relevant.

As we look to the future of healthcare, we also look back at the close to 1,300 hospital/medical center projects that DPR has completed in the last 25 years (since our birthday in July).

*This blog post is part of a series that celebrates DPR's silver anniversary and focuses on 25 great things from the company from over 25 years. Here's the last one. Follow #DPR25 on social media to learn more.

October 28, 2015

DPR Puts Building Skills to Use in Volunteer Effort for Baja Challenge

DPR San Diego employees’ construction skills, along with their generous spirit of volunteerism, were put to good use on a recent community service endeavor. The project: building a house for a family in need as part of the 2015 Baja Challenge.

About 15 DPR employees along with friends and family members traveled across the border on Oct. 3 to Tecate, Mexico, where they set about building a home for a preselected family. It was DPR’s 15th year participating in the home building effort that is sponsored and organized by Project Mercy, a not-for-profit relief and development agency that promotes education, healthcare and other community development projects. The annual event relies on participation from San Diego based real estate and construction companies like DPR who are looking to make a difference.

Photo credit: Matt Pranzo

DPR’s San Diego office donated funds for materials, then brought their own tools and supplies to completely assemble and finish the prefabricated, 16x20 foot house during one long day of construction.

While the project’s physical location is only about 50 miles from San Diego, the area’s lack of basic infrastructure such as electricity and plumbing and its high poverty level set the two regions seemingly worlds apart.

“Having the opportunity to interact with and lend a hand to the families living in this area really puts the things we take for granted into perspective,” said Sam McAllister, DPR San Diego office employee who helped lead DPR’s work on the project.

Photo credit: Matt Pranzo

An array of DPR employees, from craftsmen and project engineers to carpenters and senior management, participated in the build day. They gathered early in the morning and then caravanned down to the jobsite where they put in a long day constructing, painting and finishing the house for one very grateful family.

Photo credit: Matt Pranzo

Emily Robertson, who helped organize the volunteers, said the Baja Challenge is an event that resonates with everyone involved. “It really hits home with a lot of folks,” she commented. “We’re so close, but you go over the border and find many people are pretty much living in cardboard shacks. We’ve got a lot of resources that can go toward something like this. It’s a great opportunity for us to use our skills sets to improve the community.”