April 14, 2017

Paving the Way: Improving Efficiency and Quality through Laser Scanning

At a time when recent reports say the construction industry isn’t changing fast enough, DPR Construction has earned international recognition with an award from Fiatech, an organization whose focus is “innovation that builds the world.”

This week, during Fiatech’s 2017 Technology Conference and Showcase in Orlando, DPR’s Josh DeStefano accepted a Celebration of Engineering & Technology Innovation (CETI) Award in the “Intelligent & Automated Construction Jobsite” category on behalf of the entire organization. The CETI award recognizes DPR’s development of a new, quicker method for measuring the flatness of concrete floors in partnership with Rithm, a software developer, and Faro, a maker of 3D imaging devices.

March 27, 2017

Three Things to Know about “Integrating Project Delivery”

What if every building and every piece of infrastructure truly worked? What if they were all designed not simply to fill a need but to enhance our way of life? What if every building performed as highly as possible, with all systems working in concert to support its purpose? (Integrating Project Delivery, Chapter 1.2)

If you are someone who believes there is a better way to design and build buildings, infrastructure, dwellings, etc., then you should spend some time reading Integrating Project Delivery written by Martin Fischer, Howard Ashcraft, Dean Reed and Atul Khanzode. Written as a textbook, it is the first comprehensive look at the Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) system. If you tackle it in bits and pieces, you’ll discover a road map for integrating project delivery filled with stories, practical knowledge and applications, legal structures for supporting the process, and real-life examples—all written with a dose of inspiration that there are actually many different ways teams can achieve better outcomes.

 Following are three things to know about Integrating Project Delivery:

  • Integrating Project Delivery is organized around a Simple Framework, a road map for producing a high-performing building, a “building that supports its end users in performing their activities as optimally as possible."

  • Each chapter asks and answers one or two big questions, including “what does success look like?” 
Chapter Title Question
1

What Would Make Us Proud 

What do we want to do and what can we do? 
2 Transitioning to IPD: Owners’ Experiences  What do owners who have used integrated project delivery (IPD) think about what they can do to improve outcomes? 
3 Putting it All Together: A Simple Framework  What is the roadmap, the strategy to successfully produce a high-performance building? 
4 Defining High-Performing Buildings  What is a high-performing building? 
5 Achieving High-Value Buildings  What makes a high-value building? 
6 Integrating the Building’s Systems  How can systems be integrated to achieve a high-performing building? 
7 Integrating Process Knowledge  How can process knowledge be integrated? 
8 Integrating the Project Organization  What is an integrated project organization and how is it created? 
9 Managing Integrated Project Teams What is an integrated project delivery team, and how do you create and manage one? 
10 Integrating Project Information  What does it mean to integrate project information, why is this so important, and how can we do this? 
11 Managing with Metrics How do define and uphold the client’s value goals for their unique high performing building? 
12 Visualizing and Simulating Building Performance  How do we enable stakeholders to visualize and understand how their building will perform through every step of design, long before it is built? 
13 Collaborating in an Integrated Project  What does it mean to collaborate in an integrated project? 
14 Co-locating to Improve Performance  How can we leverage co-location to improve behaviors and outcomes? 
15 Managing Production as an Integrated Team  How do we manage the production as an integrated project team? 
16

Avoiding the Pitfalls of Traditional Contracts 

Why is it so difficult to use traditional contracts to support project integration? 
17

Contracting for Project Integration 

How does an integrated form of agreement support integrated organization and behaviors? 
18 Delivering the High Performance Building as a Product  How high-performing, valuable buildings can be developed and delivered as a product? 
  • Chapter 2 is dedicated to the owners’ experience in their own words and observations as they transitioned to IPD. Fourteen industry leaders, who were all involved in IPD projects, participated in a series of interviews that confirmed that IPD is an owner-driven process and frustration with existing project delivery systems was the most common reason for turning to IPD.

    When asked what it took to be a good IPD owner, the group identified five key characteristics: 

    • Clarity – Define what you want and what the IPD team must achieve
    • Commitment – An ongoing willingness to support the process with training and resources
    • Engagement – An active and knowledgeable participant who maintains a daily presence on the project
    • Leadership – Knowing when to lead and when not to lead, how to set the expectations for the project but also share leadership responsibilities
    • ​Integrity – Setting the project tone and creating an environment of trust 

Published by Wiley and now available on Amazon, Integrating Project Delivery details the “why” and “how” of IPD and how to organize and execute projects to achieve better value for all participants as an integrated team. It is a guide for aligning project collaborators and a promise for designing and building a better, higher performing built environment for us all.

March 16, 2017

DPR Foundation Awards Nearly $800,000 in Grants

Earlier this year, 22 organizations around the country received nearly $800,000 in grants from the DPR Foundation. DPR employees volunteer thousands of hours annually with these organizations, helping with facility renovations, youth career guidance and board service. Hands-on volunteer service multiplies the impact of the financial gifts, and helps DPR’s partner organizations advance their missions.

The DPR Foundation is a central component of DPR’s philanthropic vision of supporting under-resourced communities through facility construction and renovation; career and education guidance for youth; and support of operational capabilities for nonprofits. Organizations supported by the DPR Foundation focus on working with under-resourced youth to help them maximize their potential.


ATLANTA: Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta, Brookhaven (Photo courtesy: Diane Shelton)

Now in its ninth year of giving, the DPR Foundation has awarded $5.8 million to organizations across the country, with an average grant size of $35,000. The Foundation has developed lasting relationships with the organizations it serves, including the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta, Brookhaven. Since 2008, more than 75 DPR employees have volunteered at the Brookhaven Club, totaling over 4,000 hours. DPR volunteers have impacted over 3,800 young people who use the club’s after-school programs.

“It takes longtime partners like this to drive real change and, through our shared vision, we are working every day to help thousands of children reach their full potential,” said Missy Dugan, president and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta. “DPR really cares about the future of our city and they show it at our clubs. Not only have they contributed significant funding over the years, but their leaders and employees have spent countless hours working with our kids and making our spaces more welcoming and inspiring.”


RICHMOND: Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Richmond (Photo courtesy: Diane Shelton)

The DPR Foundation’s 2017 grants were awarded to the following organizations:

  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta, Brookhaven (Atlanta, GA)
  • LifeWorks (Austin, TX)
  • Girls Inc. of Orange County (Costa Mesa, CA)
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas, Oak Cliff (Dallas, TX)
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Durham and Orange Counties (Durham, NC)
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston, Holthouse (Houston, TX)
  • Girls Inc. of Alameda County (Oakland, CA)
  • Playworks Northern California (Oakland, CA)
  • Children's Home Society, Perinatal Program (Orlando, FL)
  • Peninsula Bridge (Palo Alto, CA)
  • Future For KIDS (Phoenix, AZ)
  • New Pathways for Youth (Phoenix, AZ)
  • Playworks Arizona (Phoenix, AZ)
  • UMOM Leaders in Training (Phoenix, AZ)
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Richmond (Richmond, VA)
  • Boys & Girls Club of Placer County (Sacramento, CA)
  • WEAVE Charter School (Sacramento, CA)
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of San Dieguito, La Colonia (San Diego, CA)
  • Food 4 Kids Backpack Program (San Diego, CA)
  • Seven Tepees (San Francisco, CA)
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Tampa, Wilbert Davis (Tampa, FL)
  • Milagro Center (West Palm Beach, FL)


HOUSTON: Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston, Holthouse (Photo courtesy: Diane Shelton)


BAY AREA: Girls Inc. of Alameda County (Photo courtesy: Diane Shelton)


ORLANDO: Perinatal Program, Children's Home Society (Photo courtesy: Diane Shelton)


TAMPA: Boys & Girls Clubs of Tampa, Wilbert Davis (Photo courtesy: Diane Shelton)


WEST PALM BEACH: The Milagro Center (Photo courtesy: Diane Shelton)

March 16, 2017

Celebrating Women Who Build: Gretchen Kinsella


We are proud to kick off our Celebrating Women Who Build blog series with the story of Gretchen Kinsella. Gretchen is DPR’s youngest project executive in the Phoenix region, managing the largest project that we have ever built in the area—the $318-million renovation of Banner University Medical Center Phoenix (BUMCP).

Starting at DPR in 2002 as an intern, Gretchen found herself assigned to a project that didn’t offer the challenges she was looking for in her internship. She was honest and candid with her intern mentor; she wanted more challenges, responsibilities, problems to solve. She wanted to build great things.

Gretchen was moved to another project. “If you want to be heard, you need to continue to speak up and be confident in your own capabilities, whether you’re a 25-year veteran or an intern in your first week on the job,” she said.

Gretchen’s story continues to be one pushing limits. Her first full-time project at DPR was Banner Good Samaritan Hospital (now BUMCP, the project she is building today). She was given a lot of responsibility, because she asked for it. She continued to raise her hand for challenging projects as she progressed to becoming a project engineer, project manager and project executive.

And 15 years later, she chose an OB/GYN that delivers at BUMCP because she felt there was no better place for her personally to bring her daughter into this world. She was coming full circle, with the child she gave birth to at the site of the project she helped create (in one of the very same rooms she built back in 2004).

Read Gretchen’s full story, “How to Ask for What You Want and Find Your Voice in a Male-Dominated Industry,” on ENR.

March 7, 2017

Celebrating Women Who Build, Today and Every Day

Today is International Women’s Day. This week is both International Women’s Week and Women in Construction Week, and March is Women’s History Month in the U.S. During this time, we are celebrating the achievements made by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries, communities and fields of work.

  • According to the Center for American Progress, if every woman in the workforce did not work for 24 hours, it would put a $21 billion dollar dent in country's gross domestic product—without factoring in the economic value of women's unpaid labor. If all that caretaking work were factored into GDP, it would surge by more than 25% (Bureau of Labor Statistics).
  • A new study from the Peterson Institute for International Economics and EY reports that profitability increases by 15% for firms that have at least 30% female executives versus firms with no women in the top tier positions.
  • As of 2016, there are 11.3 million women-owned businesses in the U.S., employing 9 million people and generating an astounding $1.6 trillion in revenues. Between 2007 and 2016, the growth in the number of women-owned firms has outpaced the national average by five times and business revenues have increased at a rate that’s 30% higher than the national average during this same period.

As we celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women across the world in honor of International Women’s Day, we at DPR want to recognize the women who lead and inspire us every day. Construction is a traditionally male-dominated industry that is only 9.3 percent women (Bureau of Labor Statistics). We want to spotlight the women who are paving the way and are proud to announce the launch of a monthly blog series called Celebrating Women Who Build, dedicated to sharing stories of women who build great things not only at DPR, but across the AEC industry.

Celebrating Women Who Build will tell stories of empowered women, who are successfully executing complex, technical projects. We want to connect, inspire, develop and advance women in the industry as they build meaningful careers–whether it’s as a PE, a PX, an architect or an owner.

As our first Celebrating Women Who Build profile will post later this month, please join us in creating a strong, supportive environment where all builders can thrive–today, and every day. 

March 5, 2017

Southeast Sports Construction: Bringing Home the W’s On and Off the Field

After a heartbreaking loss to Alabama in 2016’s College Football Playoff National Championship, the Clemson Football team worked harder than ever to earn a rematch and, with only a few minutes left on the clock, upset The Crimson Tide in true cinematic fashion to win the 2017 national championship game 35-31—bringing home Clemson's first national football title since 1981.

In a field office covered with Clemson emblems and gear, the DPR Construction team mirrored the spirit and work ethic of their national championship customer to complete a new $55 million, 140,000-sq.-ft. football operations center by National Signing Day in February 2017.


Champions on and off the field: the DPR team poses with Clemson’s national championship trophy. (Photo courtesy: Bryan McCaffrey)

Home to the national championship trophy, Clemson’s new center is 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, and is set to become a major tool in the competitive college football recruiting landscape. 

The project overcame challenges including:

  • Tight schedule: Although work couldn’t begin until Clemson’s soccer team completed its run for the national title (they were using the existing site as a practice field), the project still needed to be completed as originally planned in just 12 months, in time for the next football recruitment season.
  • Procurement: Because of DPR’s previous work on Clemson’s life sciences facility, the Clemson team trusted DPR to manage the football operations center’s expansive and complex procurement process, resulting in more than 85 contracts that DPR managed, ranging from MEP to indoor golf simulators and bowling alleys.


An aerial shot from December 2016 shows how Clemson sits along the banks of Lake Hartwell and the Seneca River Basin, creating a shallow 3-foot water table that presented a challenge for the team. (Photo courtesy: Ashley Conklin) 

  • Water table: Clemson sits along the banks of Lake Hartwell and the Seneca River Basin, creating a shallow 3-foot water table that presented a challenge for the facility’s 10-foot deep hydrotherapy and lap pools. The DPR team closely coordinated with the Army Corps of Engineers and watershed management to minimize the impact of rain and groundwater on the project schedule.
  • Building codes: The team needed to connect the new facility to an existing indoor/outdoor practice field built under an older building code. With the help of an engineering firm and the State Engineers Office, the team created an engineered life safety system, preventing the cost and delay of having to upgrade the slightly older building as well, saving Clemson $1.3 million.


The Clemson football operations center features 10-foot deep hydrotherapy and lap pools. (Photo courtesy: Thomas Watkins)

“Sports facilities are unique opportunities to leverage our expertise as a national technical builder,” said DPR’s Bryan McCaffrey. “These types of projects are much more sophisticated today than ever before–whether it’s mitigating a water table to accommodate a hydrotherapy pool or building the only red clay tennis courts in North America for the USTA. Combined with accelerated timeframes and the public spotlight of a fan base and team eager to move in to their new home, sports facilities are growing much more complex."

Other sports facilities recently completed in the Southeast include the University of Georgia Indoor Athletic Facility–which was completed on an accelerated schedule to allow the team to use it for bowl game practices–and the United States Tennis Association (USTA) National Campus in Lake Nona, Florida, which is the largest tennis facility in North America. Up next is Florida Atlantic University’s $40 million Schmidt Family Complex for Academic and Athletic Excellence, set to open in the summer of 2018.  


Clemson’s football operations center (locker room pictured above) is set to become a major tool in the competitive college football recruiting landscape. (Photo courtesy: Thomas Watkins)

February 22, 2017

VCU Health Team Proves Efficiency of Prefab

Ninety minutes outside of Raleigh, North Carolina and Richmond, Virginia, the 70-bed Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Health Community Memorial Hospital (CMH) in South Hill, Virginia had a challenge. Because of the large construction boom in North Carolina and southern Virginia, the number of qualified med-gas installers in the area have more than enough work to keep them busy in their respective cities.

After the downturn of 2008, many experienced construction tradesmen left the field—for good. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, national skilled construction employment is down 19% from its 2007 peak, with the decline particularly stark in areas strongly affected by the housing bust. Now with construction roaring, many new, inexperienced workers have entered the job market, and–as with any new employees in any industry–need time to train and develop, increasing the importance for contractors to have self-perform work and prefab expertise.

The DPR team working on the design-build, 170,000-sq.-ft. replacement hospital found a creative solution for its dearth of labor, while still using a local subcontractor, as well as a way to improve overall efficiency: using prefab strategies for patient headwalls, med-gas zone valves and central utility plant skids and piping.


The DPR team used prefab strategies for patient headwalls, med-gas zone valves and central utility plant skids and piping, including this prefab chilled water piping. (Photo courtesy: Rob Johnson)

Every patient bed in the hospital required framing, med-gas, electrical rough-in and wood blocking at the head of the bed to accommodate the patient needs and provider care. With 70 identical beds, the team designed and constructed the headwalls off-site about 50 miles away, with pre-manufactured piping, electrical and wood blocking in a panelized wall system, which was then transported to site and installed in the patient rooms. The team then built the rest of the walls around the headwalls, and connected the overhead piping to the in-wall piping. What makes the headwalls notable is that many were back-to-back so one prefab wall accommodated two patient rooms.

Other prefabrication efforts on the project included skids and piping for the boiler and chiller plant that were shop-fabricated and shipped fully assembled to site. What would normally take months to complete, took only days in the field. 

The DPR team carefully kept track of hours saved by the prefabrication efforts, turning VCU CMH into a proving ground for the efficiency of prefabrication, with the data to back it up.


Prefabrication efforts on the project included skids and piping for the boiler and chiller plant that were shop-fabricated and shipped fully assembled to site. (Photo courtesy: Rob Johnson)

When compared to traditional in-field methods and production rates:

  • Prefabricated headwalls increased efficiency in med-gas piping production by 70% and in-wall electrical increased rough-in productivity by 20%.
  • The prefabricated boiler and chiller skids saved 86% of on-site hours.
  • Significant portions of mechanical and plumbing throughout the building were prefabricated in-shop, saving over 10,000 man-hours on-site.

“We find it rare to have prefabrication measured in such an empirical way as we have done at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital. We believe in this, and with the support of our trade partners, we are proving the efficiency of prefabrication,” said DPR’s Rob Johnson. “We are excited to explore and study additional prefabrication strategies on future DPR projects.”


Back-to-back headwalls enabled one prefab wall to accomodate two patient rooms. (Photo courtesy: Rob Johnson)

The prefabricated headwall strategy not only improved production rates and overcame a labor shortage issue, it benefited the project on the second-floor patient wing where in-wall rough-ins became the critical path at a critical point in the project. Having that work already complete mitigated a potential delay to the overall project schedule, allowing DPR to recognize another tangible benefit to prefabrication. 

The DPR team will continue to push the envelope and prove the efficiency of other prefab strategies on future projects in big ways—always adapting, solving problems and moving ever forward. 

February 12, 2017

Update: DPR, Spotify & Rebuilding Together Create a Drumbeat of Change at Kealing Middle School

A drumbeat of change has swept over Kealing Middle School in the past year, ever since DPR teamed up with Spotify and Rebuilding Together to deliver a brand-new sound studio project to the magnet school located in an economically disadvantaged area of Austin, Texas.

In the wake of the annual South by Southwest (SXSW) festival held last spring, Spotify wanted to make a lasting, positive impact on the Austin community, and decided to donate the extensive sound equipment, furniture and art from its popular SXSW “Spotify House” to a local school’s music program. Spotify reached out to Rebuilding Together to help find the right school and team to deliver its vision.


DPR teamed up with Spotify and Rebuilding together to create a brand-new sound studio at Kealing Middle School. (Photo courtesy: Spotify)

Longtime partners, Rebuilding Together brought DPR on board to help design and build three brand new recording lab studios that would house the Spotify-donated equipment. Kealing Middle School, a magnet school and comprehensive academy in a diverse, under-resourced neighborhood, was the perfect fit. It already had a modern, organized music program in place and a strong vision for how it could grow.

Last March, DPR project manager Angie Weyant called the project a “major undertaking” involving DPR’s donation of approximately $25,000 in materials and labor to build the new sound studio over the school’s spring break.

“The best part was being able to use our core skills doing what we do every day to help youth in our local community,” she said. “That was pretty awesome.”


Kealing Middle School students are now able to create and record their own music. (Photo courtesy: Spotify)

Less than a year later, the project has already had a profound impact on the students and the programs offered at the school, according to Kealing Middle School Principal Kenisha Coburn. In addition to increasing the number of students who could be accommodated in existing music classes, the new sound studio space spurred the start of new after-school clubs for students who want to create and record music.

A new robotics program added this year is also tying into the production studio capabilities in an innovative way, with students able to program robots to perform pieces that they’ve created on their music production systems.

The school has seen some financial savings resulting from the project as well; students in the music production program now DJ school dances that they once hired an outside DJ to do. The enhanced collaboration by students in different classes, working together on diverse projects, has been another major, positive impact–enhancing the learning experience of all.


The studio space has created collaboration between music, video production and graphic design students. (Photo courtesy: Spotify)

“We are using the studio space to embed more of the work that happens on our campus into collaborative projects,” said Coburn. “A lot of groups are coming in from outside of the music production program, and they go in and collaborate with the music production students in a way that they couldn’t do here before. So, for example our news team that is charged with creating a weekly news story for campus is able to use studio space and work with music production students to record audio that is part of the weekly news now. And our music production students are learning to work with our graphic design students so they can provide soundtracks to some of the pieces they make in video production, which is a big undertaking.”

Overall, she adds, “the impact has been big. To be able to get studio-grade space that not only allows the students to grow inside of music production, but also allows them to bring in other groups and collaborate with them, has been pretty special.”

February 12, 2017

DPR Recognized as Top Company for Learning and Development

Last week, Training Magazine recognized DPR’s Learning and Development efforts—we ranked 26th on the magazine’s 2017 Training Top 125 list. Many of our customers were also recognized on the list, which includes companies from all sectors. Congratulations to all the firms recognized! Read the full article here.

A bit of background on the award: The Training Top 125 ranks companies that excel at employee learning and development, and it is determined by assessing a range of qualitative and quantitative factors. According to the magazine, “Training Top 125 Award winners are the organizations with the most successful learning and development programs in the world—and the Top 125 has been the premier learning industry awards program for 16 years.” DPR has appeared on the list six times.  In addition, last year, Training Magazine named DPR’s Melissa King an Emerging Training Leader.


DPR's Melissa King (bottom row, right) celebrates a successful Current Best Practices training session in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina. Melissa was named an Emerging Training Leader by Training Magazine. (Photo courtesy: Melissa King) 

A few examples of DPR’s learning opportunities:

  • A national DPR training initiative that helps our project engineers (PEs) become even better, more well-rounded, technical builders is in line with our core value of “Ever Forward.” PEs from around the country converge at one DPR region for the week, where participants have long days of actual physical building, lessons learned from the day, team-building events at night, and DPR culture story telling. The unique experience also incorporates the company’s strong commitment to giving back to the community—in a recent session, participants donated chicken coops they built to local schools.


Project engineers strap on their boots and learn how to lay concrete during a build day with DPR's self-perform work concrete team. (Photo courtesy: Everett Rosette)

  • The Energy Project is an approach we used on one of our complex hospital projects, which extended beyond our employees and included the engineers, architects, subcontractors and customer on that project team. The concept behind The Energy Project is that by raising our own personal energy levels, we can increase our personal and professional performance. Looking at four aspects of energy (physical, mental, emotional and spiritual), the team’s overall energy improved by 43% as a direct result of training.

Those are just two examples of the diverse learning opportunities we offer, which range from focusing on technical aspects of construction to people skills (self-awareness, conflict resolution, time/life management, etc.). Using data from Customer Satisfaction Surveys, Critical Success Factors and more performance metrics, our training concentrates on building better builders.

At DPR, we are a learning organization and believe who we build is as important as what we build. We recognize that continuous learning and development are keys to the success of individuals and project teams. 


Who we build is as important as what we build: a group at Current Best Practices participates in an interactive quality control exercise. (Photo courtesy: Melissa King) 

February 4, 2017

Former Atlanta Falcons QB Steve Bartkowski: Building Great Things On and Off the Field

DPR’s Steve Bartkowski has been building great things his whole life–but not in the way you might think.

Taken off the board as the No. 1 overall pick of the 1975 National Football League (NFL) Draft by the Atlanta Falcons, the young quarterback from Santa Clara, California started building a strong reputation and relationships early on in his career. He helped resurrect the struggling football program at UC Berkeley, leading the nation in passing yards and becoming a consensus All-American in the process. Bartkowski also became the first client of his pal from the Berkeley dorms–Leigh Steinberg, who went on to represent more star athletes and inspire the film Jerry Maguire


The No. 1 overall pick of the 1975 NFL Draft, Bartkowski guided the team to its first playoff victory in franchise history over the Philadelphia Eagles in 1978. (Photo courtesy: Steve Bartkowski)

The blessing (and the curse) of being the No. 1 overall pick is that the best collegiate player goes to the worst team in the NFL. No stranger to rebuilding, Bartkowski became the NFL Rookie of the Year, led Atlanta to its first playoff victory in franchise history in 1978 and playoff appearances in 1980 and 1982, setting multiple team records along the way. In his 11 seasons with the Falcons and one season with the Los Angeles Rams, he appeared in two Pro Bowls and threw for over 24,000 passing yards.

After undergoing nine operations over the course of his football career, Bartkowski had failing knees and “literally no gas in the tank,” as he likes to put it. He retired after the 1986 season, and faced the difficult, strange challenge of adjusting to a life without football–all he’d ever known. He served on the Atlanta Falcons’ board of advisors for 13 years, attends almost every home game and occasionally mentors current players.


After retiring from football, Bartkowski took up golfing. From left to right: Bartkowski, John Imlay, Chris Redman and Matt Ryan on a golf trip to Scotland. (Photo courtesy: Steve Bartkowski)

Close friends with the Falcons’ Matt Ryan, Bartkowski talks about everything other than football with the Super Bowl quarterback who is breaking the passing records he set decades ago. Sharing a love of golf and impacting people’s lives in a positive way, the two have collaborated on community initiatives with organizations, including Children’s Healthcare and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Atlanta.

With the reputation of integrity he built as a player in Atlanta, he was adamant about working for a company he would never have to apologize for and one that he could be proud of like he is of his beloved Falcons. After connecting Jim Dolen, his childhood best friend and one of DPR’s original eight employees, to some construction opportunities in the Southeast, Bartkowski joined the DPR team as one of the first four members of DPR’s Atlanta office. In his client relations/business development role, Bartkowski helps grow relationships with customers.


Bartkowski is joined by Jim and James Dolen at his induction to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2012. (Photo courtesy: Steve Bartkowski)

“I’m now going on my 17th year with DPR, and never once have I had to apologize for anything that we have done. We do what we say we’re going to do, and this team has always made me proud of what we’ve built in the area,” he said.

Bartkowski compares construction to football as the ultimate team sport. His strength is creating conversation starters and building relationships–football is always an easy topic in the South–but he is just one piece of the team. “I’m pretty good at shaking someone’s hand, creating a relationship, and then ‘handing off’ the project to others on the team to execute,” he said. “There are so many people who are passionate about what they do at DPR, and none of them is going to allow the ball to be dropped.”


After hosting outdoor television shows on ESPN and TNN, Bartkowski joined DPR in a business development role. (Photo courtesy: Steve Bartkowski)

Bartkowski’s sons Phil and Peter followed in their father’s footsteps and joined the DPR family. Phil started in Atlanta, moved to DPR’s Redwood City office and has now relocated to DPR’s Houston office, and Peter worked in the Atlanta office for 11 years–creating lots of fun times at the Bartkowski Thanksgiving table, sharing DPR stories.

One thing Bartkowski learned on the football field is that you’re only as good as the team around you, and he has found a new team at DPR. They might not play football, but they will always have each other’s back, just like his offensive line would protect him from a pass rush.

And just as he helped build the football teams at Cal and Atlanta from the ground up, he helped open a new frontier with DPR Atlanta’s office, which now includes more than 150-employees and recently completed Clemson’s new football operations center and the University of Georgia’s indoor practice facility. Bartkowski has been a football player his whole life; he’s also been a builder…a builder of great things. 


A family of builders: Bartkowski’s son Phil (left) joined DPR and now works in the Houston office. (Photo courtesy: Steve Bartkowski)