July 15, 2015

High-Stakes Medical Center Project Exceeds Expectations

“No surprises” was the DPR team motto on the St. David’s North Austin Medical Center expansion project. In one of the most complex and high-stakes projects that many DPR team members had ever taken on, careful planning and communication were crucial for reaching intense schedule milestones.

This $34 million, multiphasic project included an intensive 95,000-sq.-ft. vertical expansion of this fully operational hospital in Austin, Texas. Some of the work was often directly in the middle of the most sensitive areas of the hospital, such as the neonatal intensive care unit.

Although confronted with many challenges, the team not only completed the work on an accelerated 12 month schedule, but also took extraordinary measures to minimize impact on the medical center’s existing operations. The team truly lived its motto, delivered predictable results and exceeded the owner’s high expectations on the project.

Get the full story here and learn even more in the extended case study.

Photo Credit: Brian Mihealsick

July 8, 2015

Project Awards, Milestones, and More Across DPR

The last several months have seen lots of good news from all over DPR. Check out a snapshot of company news, including project milestones, community outreach, industry events, and awards in the Across DPR section of the latest DPR Review newsletter.

Some highlights include:

  • The 1.2-million-sq.-ft. luxury JW Marriott Austin hotel (the largest JW Marriott in North America) is completed ahead of schedule for an early opening;  
  • DPR wins an Excellence in Safety Award for the 12th year in a row with an incident rate of 1.07 compared to the industry average of 3.8;
  • The 878,000-sq.-ft. UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay opens on schedule;
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognizes DPR's company-wide 31 percent reduction in greenhouse gases with a Climate Leadership Award in Excellence in Greenhouse Gas Management; 
  • Arizona Commercial Real Estate (AZRE) magazine honors DPR with three Real Estate Development (RED) awards this year, bringing the total wins since 2009 to eight.

The JW Marriott Austin had more than 520,000 room nights reserved through the year 2021 before it opened.

July 2, 2015

DPR Celebrates 25 Years of Building Great Things

DPR Construction was founded 25 years ago today by Doug Woods, Peter Nosler and Ron Davidowski.

1990 was the same year that smoking was banned on domestic flights, Microsoft released Windows 3.0, Tim Berners-Lee developed the World Wide Web, and the first U.S. digital cellular call was made. It was also the year that Iraq invaded Kuwait, leading to the start of the Gulf War, and the Dow Jones closed the year at 2633, and the world entered a recession.

It was an uncertain time. Yet three construction industry veterans still set out to do something different in an industry traditionally resistant to change. Starting our first year with 11 employees, DPR grew and reached the $1 billion mark in less than 10 years.

Today with 20 offices, 3,000-plus employees and more than 8,700 projects completed totaling some $29.7 billion, we’ve had the opportunity to work with and learn from some of the most progressive companies. We look forward to the next 25 years—working together to build a better future for generations to come.

Take a look at DPR in the early days:


We'll be celebrating our birthday on social media for the rest of the year. Look for #DPR25.

Happy Birthday, DPR! Happy Birthday, United States of America!


June 30, 2015

The Evolution of Projects, Processes and the Profession

How has the construction industry changed in the last 25 years?

Technology is only part of the answer.

In 1990, “The FedEx pick-up deadline and fax machines were the drivers of the day," says Martin Fischer, director of Stanford University’s Center for Integrated Facility Engineering (CIFE).

"Even a single computer on a jobsite was a big deal,” he continues.

How have innovations and pressures added to project complexity? How has project delivery shifted? What's the difference in the workforce? Learn the answers to these questions and more in the cover story of the latest DPR Review.

Check out the differences in technology from 1990 (pictured left) versus today (pictured right):

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.