Diane Shelton
Marketing

Diane Shelton

Diane Shelton works as a marketing professional. She has been with DPR since 1999. With a degree in journalism, if she wasn’t doing this, she would be a war correspondent for the Associated Press.

Posts: 111
Location: Austin, Texas
Favorite hobby: Riding my bike
Hometown: Berkeley, CA
Favorite book: Where I’m Calling From by Raymond Carver
Posts In: Communities


January 11, 2017

DPR Volunteers Put Heart, Building Skills into REINS Facility

A group of DPR volunteers who helped construct a shade structure for REINS Therapeutic Horsemanship Program in Fallbrook, California brought much more than just their construction expertise to the project, which will benefit disabled individuals in their community.

They also brought plenty of heart.

The community initiative effort involved members of the Campus Point Building 2 project as well as HOK Architects, Hope-Amundson and several subcontractors. Collectively, they delivered a project to benefit the REINS program, which provides hundreds of disabled children and adults from Orange, Riverside and San Diego counties with physical, mental and emotional support through therapeutic equine-assisted activities.

The need for this particular project came to light earlier this year as the team was looking for an opportunity to tap their core expertise in a way that would have a lasting and positive impact on the local community. They had raised money for REINS through a cornhole event, but wanted to find a meaningful way to use their unique skillsets as builders–and found it when they discovered REINS needed a shading structure to protect children and families from weather when mounting and dismounting horses.


A DPR team gathered to build a shading structure for REINS Therapeutic Horsemanship Program in Fallbrook, California. (Photo courtesy: Debbie Shinner)

Last month, the team built the structure over the course of a day, with several following up at a later date to install the roof. Altogether, DPR volunteers put in an estimated nearly 120 volunteer hours, with the design team contributing an additional 40 hours or so to complete the job. The wood structure brings a highly functional, aesthetically pleasing new element to the REINS facility that has been met with widespread enthusiasm by the organization and its clients.

“I just can’t tell you all the wonderful comments we are getting on the project,” said Debbie Shinner, executive director at REINS. “The entire DPR team was so kind and considerate, and we are so very grateful for all the time and energy they put into the project.”

Building the structure in the midst of students who were passing by let volunteers truly see the positive impact the facility would have.

“It inspired us to do an even better job,” said DPR’s Dora Kaouki. “Everybody came together, and we not only put our expertise into the project, but we also put our hearts.”

Just one example of the “heart” that went in: project superintendent John McDougall came back after the first December build day and decorated the new structure with poinsettias and a wreath. 

December 21, 2016

DPR Builds Bridge to Community with Mission Solano Women’s & Children’s Shelter

DPR’s Northbay Medical Center project team recently put its building skills to good use in Fairfield, California, delivering a much-needed flooring renovation at Mission Solano’s Bridge to Life Center, a holistic program that houses and assists homeless veterans and families.

The volunteer project infused a “breath of fresh air” into Mission Solano’s Matt Garcia Home for Women and Children, according to chief program officer Raymond Courtemanche. “There is new movement, energy and feeling valued (by our residents) by taking care of the place that they live in, where they receive compassionate care,” he said. “DPR helped start this movement of support for this building that will help us get to capacity. The DPR team was just amazing in their support, generosity and synergy, in partnering with us to complete this work.”


DPR installed new flooring throughout the Mission Solano women's and children's center. 

The DPR team had been looking for a project that would use their unique skillset as builders to benefit the community when the center contacted them this fall for help installing new flooring throughout its women and children’s center. DPR project manager Stephanie Jones-Lee spearheaded the effort, bringing in subcontractors to assist with donating and installing new carpets and wood bases for the sleeping dorms, family lounges, family sleeping quarters and nursery areas. DPR donated approximately $5,000 in materials and labor, and four project team members spent several days installing the wood base.

The project’s completion enables Mission Solano to pursue its mission of providing not only transitional residential housing but also holistic care for up to 68 residents in the women and children’s shelter alone. The organization also provides services to veterans and others in need.

“We provide an economic and spiritual bridge so that people can strive to regain the basic necessities in their lives, and join the community as full and active participants,” said Courtemanche.


DPR volunteers infused a “breath of fresh air” into Mission Solano’s Matt Garcia Home for Women and Children.

December 8, 2016

DPR Dallas Team Educates Students about Construction Career Paths

Approximately 60 students at an under-resourced high school in Dallas got an inside look at the diverse opportunities in the construction industry, thanks to an effort led by DPR volunteers to engage youth through educational outreach both inside and outside the classroom.

Casey Cox, a concrete project engineer with DPR’s self-perform work group, helped spearhead the outreach effort geared toward students at Woodrow Wilson High School. Drawing from his own past experience working with a high school youth ministry, Cox worked to accomplish the effort’s overall goal: to apply one of DPR’s key tenets of making a difference and helping build the future workforce through career and education guidance to local youth.


DPR's Brendan Hastings teaches a class about construction innovation at Woodrow Wilson High School in Dallas. (Photo courtesy: Brendan Hastings)

“We wanted to partner with a strong STEM school to bring DPR’s work into the classroom, as well as give the students an opportunity to experience a day-in-the-life by taking them out to one of our actual jobsites,” said Cox. “Taking the time to expose these students to what it’s like working in the real world around industry professionals provided insight on a career in the construction business, and more importantly, spurred confidence as they consider life after graduation.”

Cox reached out to the Digital Realty Trust team to be part of this community initiative, which so far has included two in-class lessons and a jobsite tour. DPR project manager Brendan Hastings led the first classroom presentation on innovation and technology in the construction industry, where he spoke to about 60 students in Woodrow Wilson’s architecture and civil engineering class in early November.


Students from Woodrow Wilson High School tour a DPR project site in the Dallas area. (Photo courtesy: Brad Barton)

After the first classroom presentation, students visited the Digital Realty data center project in the Dallas area. They not only had the chance to experience an active construction project firsthand, but were also able to hear from various workers about their jobs and pathways into the industry. The DPR team enjoyed the students’ genuine curiosity and articulate questions.

DPR volunteers returned after Thanksgiving to deliver a second lesson focused on MEP (Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing) coordination, and plan to keep coming back to spotlight different aspects of construction, as they use our work building great things to help educate the leaders of tomorrow.

November 7, 2016

DPR and the Batchelor Foundation Team Up to Build ‘Creation Station’ for Florida Teens

New hands-on learning opportunities that combine creativity and cutting-edge technology will soon be just a click away for over three dozen south Florida teens, thanks to a new Creation Station center that enables them to produce and edit audio and video recordings on demand.

DPR teamed up with the Batchelor Foundation to deliver the highly anticipated audio/visual recording center project at Milagro Center in Delray Beach, which serves economically disadvantaged youth in the region. Both longtime contributors to the organization, DPR provided materials and labor to renovate and equip a soundproof room that will house software and equipment provided by the Batchelor Foundation through a grant.

The Creation Station room renovation included designing, assembling and installing numerous large, multicolored acoustic panels, strategically placed for maximum visual effect. This fall, about ten DPR volunteers spent an afternoon creating and installing the panels, aided by a handful of Milagro Center teens who were inspired to help.


At the Milagro Center, DPR volunteers build the Creation Station, an audio/visual recording space, for Florida teens. (Photo courtesy: Adriana Martinengo-Rosenberg)

Luke Stocking, DPR’s liaison to the Milagro Center, said the teens are looking forward to designing and producing their own original videos using a big screen, computer software and audio equipment in the soundproofed, custom-renovated room. The only other Creation Station in Palm Beach County is at the Main Branch library, 25 miles north of Milagro Center – and it usually has a waitlist of two weeks to use that equipment.

Even more important than the “cool” factor of being able to make multimedia videos in their own after-school center, however, are the practical skills the Milagro Center teens will gain from doing so.


When complete, the Creation Station at the Milagro Center will provide teens with technical skills they can use in the workforce. (Photo courtesy: Adriana Martinengo-Rosenberg)

“The big picture is that it gives them technical, professional skills they can use in the workforce,” said Stocking. “These teens will get hands-on experience with the software, the technology and the equipment at their own center, whenever they want to use it.”

The Creation Station will be completed this month.

“The teens can’t wait to start using the Creation Station,” said Anthony Bacchus, director of the Milagro Center. “DPR has made a major impact at the teen center over the years, giving the teens confidence and knowledge about careers in construction. Sponsors and parents are truly inspired by DPR’s involvement with the center and the community.”

October 5, 2016

DPR Atlanta Volunteers Deliver Big Makeover to Boys & Girls Club Facility

Sporting fresh paint, an updated teen center, and new garden and kitchen features to support farm-to-table cooking classes, the Brookhaven Boys & Girls Club in Metropolitan Atlanta is ready to welcome more teens into their program – all thanks to a major facelift completed by DPR volunteers in September.

More than 20 DPR Atlanta employees put their professional skills to good use during the “Service September” makeover project, donating an estimated 250 volunteer hours and $4,500 in materials to complete the needed renovation.

The project included:

  • Moving the teen room to a new location within the center
  • Completely repainting the facility
  • Constructing new garden planter boxes where teens can grow their own fruits and vegetables
  • Donating and assembling a compost facility and a movable kitchen island for use in the teen center


DPR volunteers completely repainted the Brookhaven Boys & Girls Club's teen room in Atlanta. (Photo courtesy Andi King)

Volunteer coordinator Andi King serves on the board of the DeKalb County arm of the Boys & Girls Club of Metro Atlanta, and worked with the organization to identify a project that needed DPR’s unique skill set as technical builders.

DPR self-perform work crews, particularly Jay Campbell and Chris Jones, were instrumental in bringing the project to fruition.

“From the job walk to getting the self-perform guys there, to hardcore woodworking, we couldn’t have done it without them,” said King.

Ziggy Asfaw, executive director of the Brookhaven Boys & Girls Club, said the project is already having a big impact on the approximately 160 children who use the facility for after-school activities each day, including more than 30 teens who are regulars.


The DPR Atlanta team built new planter boxes, where teens will be able to grow their own fruits and vegetables. (Photo courtesy Andi King)

The makeover will help the club expand its mission to serve more youth in the community, while empowering those who already have been using the center.

“DPR has helped us give the teens more reason to want to be at the club. When members feel as though the club is a place they can call their own, they are empowered to serve the community and have a sense of belonging. With support and the feeling that they are cared for, the teens tend to pay it forward,” said Asfaw. 

October 2, 2016

DPR Volunteers Make Big Impact During ‘Service September’

For the entire month of September, DPR teams across the country took their construction skills into the communities in which we serve to support nonprofit organizations through facility renovation and repair.  

Approximately 65 employees in the Bay Area, ranging from tradespeople to senior leadership, came together on Sept. 10 with Rebuilding Together, an organization that aims to transform the lives of low-income homeowners by improving the safety and health of their homes. DPR’s Bay Area region delivered four different hands-on construction projects that underscored its commitment to giving back.

The projects – which included making improvements to an elementary school in Belmont, a historic community building in Oakland and community centers in San Francisco and San Jose – shared a common thread:  all touch the lives of a broad number of people in the communities in which they were located. Together, the projects benefited thousands of students, special needs adults and local citizens.


At the I.T. Bookman Center in San Francisco, DPR made facility improvements that will enable it to act as a disaster response shelter. (Photo courtesy: Rena Crittendon)

Rena Crittendon organized the service events in the Bay Area and personally championed the San Francisco project. “This year we wanted to concentrate our efforts on community centers or other projects that make an impact on a bigger group of people, and to take on tougher projects that required our unique skills as technical builders,” she said.

At San Francisco’s I.T. Bookman Center, which serves over 1,500 individuals annually through community programs, DPR made improvements that will enable it to operate as a disaster response shelter. The project was one component of a larger, ongoing neighborhood revitalization effort.

“DPR’s involvement was critical to our improvement program. The DPR team served as the tip of the ‘rebuilding sword’ at I.T. Bookman Community Center,” said Rebuilding Together San Francisco’s Jennifer Leshnower. “In just one day, a team of DPR volunteers completed the wall and floor demolition necessary to launch a multiphase kitchen remodeling project.”

A team of more than 20 DPR volunteers provided all the materials and manpower for work that included painting, installing a brick paver patio, landscaping, as well as removing extensive debris and clutter from three local homes.


DPR volunteers clear brush from the garden of the Cohen Bray House, a historic home in Oakland, built in 1884. (Photo courtesy: Simon Eldridge)

In three other Bay Area communities, DPR volunteers took on equally challenging and vital service projects during the Sept. 10 day of service, including:

  • Grace Community Center, San Jose – DPR’s Nick Garzini championed improvements for a community center serving adults with special needs in the South Bay. A wide spectrum of volunteers from various self-perform work divisions (doors, concrete and interiors) and subcontracting partners performed hands-on construction work. The team painted the exterior, and replaced numerous aspects of the center, including stairs, toilets, doors and lights. “The work is amazing – you have changed and affected a lot of people’s lives,” commented Debbie Reynolds from Grace Community Center after the workday. “Thank you from the bottom of my heart!”
  • Cohen Bray House Museum, Oakland – A DPR team championed by Simon Eldridge restored a historic Victorian house museum, an Oakland city landmark on the National Register of Historic Places. The team made improvements including new railings and fencing, exterior paint and a cleaned garden.
  • Nesbit Elementary School, Belmont – A dozen volunteers demolished and replaced cabinets in five classrooms for an elementary school serving almost 600 students on the Peninsula.  

August 29, 2016

DPR Hosts Girls Inc. Workshops to Open New Perspectives on Careers in the Construction Industry

Before DPR volunteers put on a series of after-school workshops for 130 third-through-fifth-grade girls at Girls Inc. of Alameda County clubs in the Bay Area this spring, the students mostly thought of a construction worker as a male in a hard hat and vest, swinging a hammer on a jobsite.

Now, those girls know that they can accomplish anything, and that there are no limits to what they can be when they grow up. They know they can be a project manager in charge of a multi-million-dollar construction project, an estimator using her math skills to deliver a winning bid or a BIM engineer creating a model for a complex job. 

“The volunteers who led the workshops for Girls Inc. opened up an entirely new perspective on careers in the construction industry,” commented Nicki Guard, community engagement manager for Girls Incorporated of Alameda County. “The activities allowed for unique insight into the diverse ways that women work in the construction industry. The women who partner with Girls Inc. role model women as project managers, engineers, architects and more. For the younger girls, they may not completely understand what is involved in each career, but they now have new vocabulary to talk about the industry and know women who are smart and successful at their work.”


Club-goers built DPR logos based on Building Information Model (BIM) details. Photo courtesy Rena Crittendon.

The workshops were held at four East Bay elementary schools and included hands-on building activities alongside DPR volunteers. The broader message, according to DPR’s event coordinator Rena Crittendon, was to model the many paths women can take to achieve a well-paying and satisfying job in the industry. The workshops also encourage and help educate the girls in the art of collaboration and teamwork.

“By the end of their workshop, a few of the girls raised their hands and said, 'you know, I might like to do this too.' In each of the sessions there were a few girls that were off on their own, but usually by the end of each activity, they were all in it and working together, collaborating on ideas,” Crittendon said. “That was really neat to see."


Photo courtesy Rena Crittendon.

DPR plans to continue the ongoing relationships working with Girls Inc. with an upcoming six to eight after-school workshops planned for the fall. The Bay Area region also helped provide laptops to 30 girls in Girls Inc.’s College Access program, and DPR has hosted a Girls Inc. intern for the past two summers.

August 8, 2016

Boys & Girls Club Facility Upgraded Through DPR Volunteer Effort

DPR’s community initiatives goal of supporting under-resourced communities through facility renovation and repair was on full display in recent work it undertook at the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Houston’s Holthouse facility.

DPR stepped in to help Holthouse with a variety of small renovation work and repairs at the facility that helped offset repair costs. With just two weeks to get the work completed, DPR donated 150 man-hours, sending several of its drywall and carpenter craftsmen to perform a variety of tasks at the facility. The work included a series of drywall patches, painting, exterior woodwork to stop water leaks, restroom upgrades, a new water heater donated and installed by its trade partner MLN, and more.

The two-week project brought a like-new gleam to the club. Photo courtesy Trey Biediger.

The club updates also included repairs to picnic tables. Photo courtesy Trey Biediger.

DPR self-perform drywall estimator/project manager Trey Biediger organized the work. As DPR’s liaison for Boys & Girls Club of Greater Houston, Biediger serves on their Building and Construction Subcommittee. He said he initially got involved volunteering with the organization because of the rewarding feeling of “being a role model” for local youth.

“These are children that often don’t get corporate volunteer exposure on such a continuous basis, so they really look up to you,” Biediger added. “They get so excited when you show up and see that you have returned to simply hang out and offer support. It’s very rewarding.”

Kevin Hattery, President and CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston, said DPR’s involvement with the program over the past two years and particularly with the recent project has been vital.

“From painting the gym to installing a new water heater, DPR’s many renovations are helping Boys & Girls Clubs provide every child who walks through our doors with a fun and safe environment to learn, play and grow. We are grateful for DPR’s support and know that these upgrades will have a lasting impact for years to come for the Club members,” Hattery said.

DPR’s outreach with Boys & Girls Club of Greater Houston continues next month, when they will host their first construction camp at the facility on Aug. 10. Approximately 60 children are signed up for the half-day camp and will enjoy hands-on construction projects building a birdhouse, toolbox or bughouse.

The children will also have the chance to interact with and learn from the anticipated 20-30 DPR volunteers that are expected to help out, representing all facets of the company. “It is a big effort and we’re looking forward to a really great event,” Biediger added.

August 1, 2016

One Year Later, DPR Community Partner MACH 1 Has Expanded Services, Doubled Clients

One year ago, Move a Child Higher, Inc. (MACH 1) and its founder, Joy Rittenhouse, only dreamed of expanding the nonprofit’s therapeutic equestrian services to help a larger number of disabled youths and wounded warriors in the Pasadena area.

The center provides therapeutic equestrian services for disabled youths. Photo courtesy Kelley Radtke.

Then last spring, a DPR-led community service project delivered a significantly expanded new facility – which in turn triggered new donations and grants that are helping the 18-year-old organization broaden its services and outreach, and double the number of clients it serves.

The newly-built out center has allowed MACH 1 to ramp up its services, and invest in additional therapy horses. Photo courtesy Kelley Radtke.

Since the project was completed, MACH 1 has been ramping up its service potential with the acquisition of three additional horses, bringing the total number of therapeutic horses to eight. In the coming months, Rittenhouse said they will add and train additional volunteer staff, with plans to double the number of children and veterans in its horse therapy program within the next year or so.

They have also launched a new horsemanship program designed to introduce students to horses and horse safety, and they continue to operate as a teaching center, providing ongoing classes to students at Cal State LA, Western University and Azusa Pacific. Where their previous space allowed them to operate 11 hours a week, they are now a full time organization.

“It’s really difficult to explain how much this project has meant to us,” Rittenhouse said. “We were borrowing a place, and now we have an actual center. We received two grants to get two horses and another general grant to work on scholarships and to help us launch our horsemanship program. We never would have gotten them without the new center and the added space.”

July 24, 2016

School of Construction Events Offer Richmond, Phoenix Youth Insight on Construction Industry

One of the pillars of DPR’s community initiatives is to share our passion for construction with under-resourced youth through career and education guidance. During two DPR School of Construction events, scores of DPR volunteers turned out to help teach dozens of eager youth about much more than just the basics of what goes into a construction project. They also helped enlighten the students about the many different career options available in the construction industry, and how they all contribute to creating a built project.

DPR’s Richmond, VA office held its first School of Construction, while the Phoenix, AZ office held its third annual event. Each two-hour event featured breakout sessions that focused on designing, planning, and building the unique projects – a “little free library” in Richmond, and a finished wall segment in Phoenix.

The Richmond, VA School of Construction students pose with their "Little Free Libraries." The neighborhood book-lending displays will be installed in areas where the students live. Photo courtesy Diane Rossini.

During the sessions, students peppered the volunteers with questions about their jobs, the tools they use, safety issues and a host of other aspects relating to the hands-on experience of building projects.

“DPR’s School of Construction event opened the eyes of our youth to the world of construction, which they found out is a lot more than digging a ditch,” commented Darricka Carter, Director of Corporate & Foundation Relations with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Richmond, VA. “They were exposed to the design and planning phase that happens in the office before the actual “construction” begins.”

Engaging Richmond Area Teens

Extensive hours of preparation went into ensuring that both School of Construction events were a resounding success. In its first year hosting the event, the Richmond office drew 25 mostly 13-17-year-old youth to the office for the structured two-hour program. Altogether 18 DPR volunteers donated a total of 152 hours planning and running the event. The four “Little Free Libraries” that were built will be donated to hosts in the communities in which the club members live, according to DPR event organizer Diane Rossini.

Photo courtesy Diane Rossini.

“Seeing the need for engagement with the (Boys & Girls Club) teen group, and knowing what we can provide in real world mentoring and experience was really an inspiration for this event,” said Rossini. While the DPR Foundation supported the organization with a $25,000 grant this year, the office was looking for a way for employees to be able to volunteer their time and talent working one-on-one with the youth.

Photo courtesy Diane Rossini.

The event started out focused on design of the project. Students had the opportunity for hands-on work with google SketchUp, technology that many had never experienced before. During the second session, they worked with DPR volunteers to schedule various project items and had a chance to see a 4D Synchro model. A DPR superintendent led a safety demo during the third session while the kids enjoyed dinner. The fourth session involved actually building the structures.

“The kids engaging the staff throughout was one of the big highlights for me,” Rossini commented. “They asked some very pointed questions that I think taught them a lot about the industry. When our BIM coordinator was sharing the synchro models, he explained that modeling is part of the construction process and how you can work within construction but be a modeler, a BIM coordinator, an accountant or other roles. I think it was very eye opening for them.”

Boys & Girls Club Director Carter said that most of the kids are familiar with the construction industry “only from the perspective of seeing big machinery and men in hard hats working on site.” During the School of Construction, employees of DPR “exposed our kids to another side of the industry, teaching them that the construction they’re familiar with is just a part of the entire process,” Carter added. “Our kids were able to learn and practice skills and tools used during that process, like brainstorming and digital design using Google SketchUp, all while having lots of fun.”

Multiple Return Participants for Phoenix Event

Fun and learning also went hand in hand in the third annual School of Construction event in the Phoenix office. Fifty students from ICAN and Future for Kids – including about a dozen who had participated in at least one prior year’s event – spent two hours working with 32 DPR volunteers and others.

This year’s emphasis was self-perform work, a major driver in the Phoenix office which does extensive framing and drywall work in-house. Eight to 10 self-perform crafts workers were among those who showed up to teach the kids how to design, plan and build four 4-by-4-ft. model walls. The craftsmen contributed 48 hours of the total 238 total volunteer hours that went into putting the event on this year.

DPR craftsmen answer questions about framing, drywalling and mudding walls. Photo courtesy Tim Hyde.

Craftsman Richard Cruz kicked of the day with a Q&A led by DPR project manager Tim Hyde. “He was fantastic, the kids were very interested and asked him so many questions,” Hyde said of Cruz. “It just ended up being a huge success.”

During the sessions kids learned the ins and outs of framing, drywalling and applying mud to the walls. Volunteers used premade mockup walls as a teaching tool. The models (two with doors and two with windows) were painted and fully finished on one side with the other side left exposed and covered with Plexiglas to allow a look inside. “We kept the kids engaged throughout the whole process, teaching them different terminology, why we use metal vs. wood studs, the different framing members, all about drywall and mud, etc.,” Hyde said.

Students learn to use tools safely. Photo courtesy Tim Hyde.

Following the wall construction, the kids broke off into another hands-on session led by DPR superintendent Chad Drake. After discussing tool safety, he and other volunteers showed the kids how to work with tools to drill, hammer and screw preset nails and screws into precut plywood boards that sported a DPR log. The kids also decorated their take-home boards.

The students used hammers, nails, drills, screwdrivers and screws to decorate take-home souvenirs. Photo courtesy Tim Hyde.

“It was a chance to actually put a tool in their hands, and they seemed to really enjoy it,” said Drake. “We also encouraged them to look into the future, and if they enjoyed what they were doing, consider eventually getting into the trades, since there is definitely a shortage of workers going into the trades.”

Following the event, Future for Kids Community Relations Manager Nicole Pepper commented, “We are in awe of the time and work you all put in to making this event happen. Our kids had such a great time and learned so much.”