October 21, 2014

Opening the World of Possibilities Through Seven Tepees Career Day

Providing young people with a window into the “real world” of work and showcasing the many, diverse career paths they can pursue were key goals of DPR’s recent Seven Tepees career day in San Francisco.

Photo courtesy Kedyn Sierra

The fourth annual Career Day brought together nearly a dozen high school youth and Seven Tepees staff members with several DPR employees. Throughout the day, employees shared their personal journeys that led them into their careers with DPR.

Steven Grandin, DPR’s Seven Tepees liaison and incoming president of its board of directors, spearheaded the event. It began with a tour of Autodesk’s offices at One Market Street (built out by DPR with Gensler Architects), where students had the opportunity to learn about 3D imaging, 3D printing and graphics development. They went on to visit a DPR jobsite at Pier 9 where they talked with project engineer Dylan Swallow and superintendent John Bloomfield. Next, they headed over to DPR’s San Francisco offices where they learned about the intricacies of creating a net zero building, LEED building practices and 3D modeling, and other things.

Photo courtesy Kedyn Sierra

Throughout the day DPR employees spoke with the youth about how they got to where they are in their careers. In some cases, those employees’ journeys and the challenges they had faced were similar to challenges confronting the Seven Tepees students.

One of the participating students, high school junior Kedyn Sierra, has been part of Seven Tepees for the past five years and plans to intern with DPR next summer.

“Having now been on two career days with DPR, I can attest that these experiences offer a sense of what the “real-world” is going to be like,” Sierra said. “Seven Tepees has brought me a new way of viewing my future. Beginning when I was in the sixth grade, this organization has helped me step out of my comfort zone in many ways that include immersive leading experiences. Personally, being exposed to the outdoors is what I’ve taken to heart from this program, because I do not have access to such locations in my everyday life.”

Seven Tepees high school program coordinator Ashley Allen was a participant in Seven Tepees as a youth, and then returned to the organization as a staff member after finishing college. 

“I am 100 percent a product of the many benefits of being in this exceptional program, from my knowledge and respect of the environment to my passion to giving back to the community,” Allen said. She received her degree in community studies from UC Santa Cruz with a minor in sociology. “I believe in life journeys coming full circle and wanted to commit myself to a space that was truly impactful to me,” Allen said.

The career day achieved its objective to expose the youth to possible careers and spark their interest in planning for their future, according to DPR’s Grandin.

“My main goal is teaching the youth about maintaining options,” he said. “The best plans don’t always work out, so you should have a backup. This day introduces them not only to construction, but encourages them to look at careers in whatever they want to pursue.”

Photo courtesy Kedyn Sierra

October 15, 2014

Mentors Participate in ACE All Schools Day

On October 11th, Southern California DPR employees participated in the ACE Mentor Program's All Schools Day, a competition for all Los Angeles and Orange County schools that participate in ACE. DPR employees across the country volunteer their time for the program, which brings together architecture, engineering and construction professionals with high school students in a formal extracurricular enrichment program. 

The DPR mentors, who work with Century High School students in Santa Ana, were Brennan Cooke, Brandon Fullam and Ocean Van. Ron Rendina also participated with the Pasadena team. Josh DeStefano and Alison Lind also mentor at Century High, but could not attend this event.

The challenge was to build a cantilevered platform from popsicle sticks, pasta and hot glue within a two-hour time frame. Mentors could help with design, but not build. Each school was judged on load the platform could carry, efficiency and overall performance. 

L to R: Brandon Fullam, Ron Rendina, Brennan Cooke, and Ocean Van.

October 7, 2014

Big Business Tools + Small Business Know-How

On Friday, October 3 DPR's West Palm Beach office kicked off the first of a three-part Contracting Series at Palm Beach State College’s Boca Raton campus. The series is geared toward emerging contractors searching for new opportunities to grow their business. Part one focused on valuable tips, tools and resources to assist subcontractors in generating new revenue streams. DPR’s overall objective is to help Palm Beach Stage College’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) provide a valuable educational series from the commercial contractor’s perspective.

Attendees gained insight on how to market and grow their business, with first hand feedback from what customers expect before working with a new firm in the Construction and Engineering arena. Debbie Lanford, the International Trade Specialist at the FSBDC at Palm Beach State College, commented, “The presentation was one of the best I have seen. Relevant, informative and engaging.”

For DPR, this is an opportunity to get involved in the community and seek out qualified Small Business Enterprises (SBE’s) and to help Palm Beach State College SBDC fulfill their mission “To impact the small business community with world-class quality services that make a measurable contribution to regional economic growth and prosperity.”

Series #2 will be held November 7th and targeted towards small businesses that have been up and running for at least one year and are looking to establish relationships with the right resources (CPA, legal counsel, bonding, insurance, and banking) to grow their business.

Series #3 will be held December 5th and will focus on retaining talent and managing business growth. Topics covered will focus on HR, company policies and retention.

(L to R) DPR's Krista Luther, Mouji Linarez Castillo, Adrian Barrios

October 6, 2014

Whitepaper Watch: Getting the Most Out of BIM

When VDC apps are used correctly, project teams have the opportunity to improve productivity, reduce rework in the field, enhance building documentation, and feed into management systems that can result in lower long-term facility operating costs.

In light of these potential benefits, it can be tempting to think of software as a “silver bullet” to the solution to the many complex hurdles that project teams face. But even the very best software is simply a tool and is only useful if the person (or team) who wields it, does so effectively.

In a new DPR white paper, “Getting the Most Out of BIM: The Secret Guide to VDC Apps,” DPR’s Andrew Fisher addresses those issues and more. The educational guide for owners and users describes what major apps can do and which ones currently lead the market in six functional areas: BIM authoring, coordination, visualization, analysis and measurement, sequencing and estimating. 

For coordination, Autodesk Navisworks Manage stands out for its clash detection capabilities, while Autodesk BIM 360 Glue is also gaining popularity. Tapping into the power of the “cloud” to access the model, BIM 360 Glue works with iPads in the field.

For other BIM functions, some of the top applications include Lumion 3D for visualization, Solibri Model Checker for analysis and measurement, Synchro for sequencing, and Vico for estimating, to name just a few.

Understanding how to select and fully utilize the best BIM tools to their potential can create the most direct benefits to a project team’s processes, productivity and overall performance on a job.

The whitepaper was highlighted in the latest edition of the DPR Review, and can be viewed in full here.

September 29, 2014

Digital Project Resonates with Technology-Driven Owner

Digital projects are a growing trend around the country, and recently DPR completed its first in Florida. The 80,000-sq.-ft. headquarters for Carley Corporation, a training and technology solutions company, is owned by SWAMP 1. The project was completely digitally managed, saving the owner time and money despite the challenging, swampy Florida terrain.

The team primarily collaborated through the cloud, which also facilitated digital turnover and archiving, and used BIM 360 Glue on iPads in the field, laser scanning, and digital lean tools such as Last Planner. 

“When DPR said they were going to run this whole job electronically, I thought, a lot of companies say that; they don’t really do it,” Carley’s Chief Information Officer Jeremy Good said. “But in this case, it was true.”

See the full story on the SWAMP 1 project in the latest edition of the DPR Review.

September 29, 2014

Routine Maintenance Makes Big Impact On Organization

On Sept. 26 about a dozen DPR employees volunteered their time performing routine maintenance on a villa at the Give Kids the World complex in Orlando, Fla. While the work may have been ordinary, the cause that it supports is anything but.

The biannual workday was part of DPR’s regularly scheduled upkeep of two DPR-sponsored. Give Kids the World is a nonprofit organization that has fulfilled the wishes of more than 130,000 children from around the world since it began by offering all-expense-paid vacations for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. They are provided five star treatment including lodging, entrance to Disneyworld and other area attractions and additional amenities. The goal is to provide an experience that allows the children and their families to focus on creating memories and just having fun.

Employees in Florida have supported the organization for nearly a decade. Their involvement has included building two villas at the Florida development, financial support and regular maintenance of the two DPR-sponsored villas. DPR volunteers also decorate the villas for special holidays.

DPR Orlando employee Chris Bell has been involved for many of those years and coordinated the recent local workday that brought DPR volunteers in to perform deep cleaning, lawn work and light maintenance of one of the villas.

“It’s just doing good work for a great organization,” he commented, noting that at different times many local employees have participated in volunteering with the nonprofit organization that is making a big difference for youngsters with terminal illnesses. “People enjoy the chance to be part of doing something that has a positive impact.”

September 22, 2014

Insights on Total Cost of Ownership

How can BIM help reduce operations and maintenance costs? What data yields the biggest results? Why isn't it being captured? What is "total cost of ownership" (TCO) anyway? 

DPR's Director of Consulting Andrew Arnold answers all these questions in a Q&A for the latest edition of the DPR Review. In the article, Andrew explains that the cost of designing and constructing a building is only 10 percent of the cost over the lifecycle of the building. The operation cost, which includes regular service and preventive maintenance for building systems, ongoing repairs, consumables and energy consumption, is 90 percent. This is why owners are realizing the importance of designing for TCO–often, investing a little more up front in a better building will mean savings over the long term.

Andrew highlights the value that building information modeling (BIM) can provide to operations and maintenance teams. When the right BIM data flows easily to operations teams, they can manage a building more efficiently and effectively. 

Read Andrew's entire Q&A here.

September 22, 2014

Supporting Young Women On The Path To College And Professional Careers With Girls Inc.

High school senior Arelly Ocampo from Costa Mesa, Calif., had the opportunity to immerse herself in the DPR culture this summer while working as a Girls Inc. extern in the Newport Beach office. It was an experience that she describes as both positive and “a real eye opener.”

Girls Inc. extern Arelly Ocampo works with a DPR estimator to learn how to read drawings.

“As a senior going off to college next year, I was able to get an idea of what to look for in a college, especially as a civil engineering major,” Ocampo said. “I enjoyed the collaboration all the externs had with each other and the DPR employees and valued how open everyone was to answer any questions I had. I realized that people at DPR have passion and pride in what they do, which is why they love talking about their jobs.”

Ocampo worked directly with DPR’s Melissa King, who said hosting a summer extern from Girls Inc. for the second year turned out to be a win-win for all involved.

“I was so impressed with what she could do, how quickly she could do it and how much initiative she took,” King commented. Ocampo worked with King to develop training materials and plan group meetings. She also attended in-house training classes and project engineer meetings and made numerous jobsite visits.

Ocampo attended a regional project engineer meeting, where she learned how to frame door openings.

On Aug. 11, the last day of Ocampo’s externship, DPR hosted a two-hour resume workshop that brought together all 50 of the Girls Inc. externs at their Youth & Family Center. The goal: to help the girls put their summer externship experiences onto their resumes.

Approximately 10 DPR volunteers participated in the workshop, leading small group sessions. Externs and leaders shared personal stories and gave feedback. Ocampo helped create a facilitator guide for DPR volunteers involved in the resume workshop and developed training slides for the session.

Neiasha Russell, Community Development Coordinator with Girls Inc. of Orange County, commended DPR’s work on the resume workshop, its externship participation and its longtime commitment to the organization.

“The overall response to the resume workshop was the information presented was valuable. The girls really enjoyed the breakout session with the volunteers. This gave them a chance to hear personal stories and ask questions,” she said.

“DPR has had a huge impact on the Girls Inc.’s Externship Program,” Russell added. “I couldn’t ask for a more supportive, vibrant and involved externship site!”

Ocampo attended the annual Girls Inc. Youth Empowerment and Self Sufficiency luncheon (Y.E.S.S) with her DPR hosts.

September 17, 2014

DPR Helping Build Future Industry Workforce Through ACE Mentor Program

Ask a typical high school student what a career in construction looks like, and it’s likely he or she will describe a worker on a jobsite, swinging a hammer. Few will think of the project engineer creating a BIM model, the estimator crunching numbers in a LEED Platinum certified, net zero energy office building, or the project executive collaborating with team members on ways to make their project more efficient.

ACE Mentor students tour the Kaiser Morse jobsite in Sacramento

In an effort to introduce more students to real-world opportunities in the construction industry, DPR employees in San Diego, Sacramento, Tampa and other regions work closely with ACE Mentor. The program brings together architecture, engineering and construction professionals with high school students in a formal extracurricular enrichment program. DPR co-founder Doug Woods also serves on the Leadership Council.

Sparking Students' Interest in College

DPR began participating with ACE Mentor in San Diego in 2004. Since then, the program has grown from three or four high schools to 11 schools currently serving between 180-220 students per year. DPR’s Whitney Dorn served as an ACE mentor team leader for five years and as a member of the San Diego Board since 2009, the last two as fundraising chair.

“There’s a real satisfaction in seeing a light bulb go off for a kid who came in without having any kind of expectation about what we were going to be doing,” Dorn says. “I feel like we’re providing a great service and opening the eyes of students about the industry. Over the years I have felt like ACE was the reason many of them went to or even considered college.”

In Tampa, ACE Mentor students visited DPR's Main Terminal Modernization project at Tampa International Airport.

Dorn points to one particular student, Omar, as an example of the impact the ACE Mentor program can have inspiring young people. Omar signed up for the program in his high school even though his family, struggling to keep a small restaurant afloat, didn’t fully support the idea. Dorn met with Omar’s parents and persuaded them about the value of the program. The end result? Omar went on to become the first in his family to go to college, and as a result is building a promising future for himself in the industry.

In Sacramento, DPR’s Rodman Marquez serves on the ACE board of directors. He has also seen many positive outcomes and says one of the most rewarding aspects is when former students of the program come back to serve as mentors.

Seeing the students gain confidence as a result of the program over the year is another highlight, Marquez says. “It’s pretty rewarding to see a kid in the beginning of the year who is very shy and maybe not communicating well, and then at the end of the year be up onstage giving a presentation about their project to people in the industry.”

Career Development For Mentors Too

 “All different types of people in the industry come together to serve as mentors for the ACE Mentor program,” says Dorn. “It has provided a great way for our younger entry level project engineers who participate to get exposure, meet other people in the industry that are not on projects with them and kind of understand what other roles are in the industry.”

Adds Dorn, “Over the years it’s been so much fun to walk into an owner’s or job meeting and know people there from different companies because I worked with them in ACE. It really brings our industry together for a common purpose.”

September 12, 2014

eBay’s Salt Lake City Data Center: Turning the Dial on Digital Efficiency

eBay Inc. has recently rolled out the world's first mission critical data center using fuel-cell technology as its primary power source, resulting in more available and reliable power with lower environmental impact. The Salt Lake City data center, designed by Winter Street Architects and built by DPR Construction, is highlighted in the latest edition of the DPR Review.

eBay Inc.’s decision to change gears from a more traditional design to the cleaner, greener power solution advanced its vision for a more environmentally sustainable future, according to Dean Nelson, eBay’s vice president of Global Foundation Services.

“By challenging the status quo on how data centers have been designed for the last 30 years, we’ve yielded even bigger returns,” Nelson explained. “In implementing a design like this, we’ve been able to ‘move the needle’ as we measure the increased efficiency of each transaction for our business.”

Read the full story here.