September 15, 2020
Superintendent Carlos Moreno stands on his jobsite.
Superintendent Carlos Moreno sees the ability to better control safety as one of the main benefits of being a self-performing general contractor. Photo courtesy of Matt Pranzo

Carlos Moreno is committed to working safely, not because it is a rule imposed on him, but because he believes in his heart it is the right thing to do. For himself, for his coworkers and for the people they love. As an SPW general superintendent in San Diego responsible for drywall and taping; doors, frames and hardware; acoustical ceiling; and firestopping and insulation work, Moreno sees the ability to better control safety as one of the main benefits of being a self-performing general contractor. This ability to guide a project’s direction, along with better control of schedule and quality, make self-perform work an essential part of DPR’s success. Says Moreno, “We’re the builders; I think that’s the heart of the company.”

Q: What is your role at DPR and describe the path you took to get there?

I joined DPR 10 years ago, after working for a drywall subcontracting company for 25 years. I knew DPR was a good company, and coming here was the best decision I have made in my career. The culture here has given me the opportunity to grow. I started as a carpenter journeyman, later began to run work as a foreman, and today I have the privilege of being a part of the SPW superintendent team, a role I’ve been in for five years.

Q: What do you love about your job?

I enjoy building things and using my hands to create great things—that makes me feel proud of what I do. My passion is providing training. Every Wednesday, I bring a group of foremen into the office and we provide any training they need: blueprint classes, preplanning, navigating on Box, Bluebeam, PlanGrid, etc. DPR gives us the opportunity to grow. Why not give that chance to the next generation?

Carlos Moreno offers suggestions to craft team members on his jobsite.
Moreno is proud of creating things with his hands, but his true passion lies in training the next generation of builders. Photo courtesy of Matt Pranzo

Q: What are the most challenging things you have worked on?

Working for DPR has been a new experience in learning how to build things differently using the latest technology. Every foreman has access to an iPad and/or a laptop, and they use various software platforms to perform their work more efficiently.

At the moment, I’m working on a Life Sciences project. We’re in the beginning stages of the drywall scopes. Our strategic partner, Digital Building Components, will be supplying prefabricated wall and ceiling panels for the lab areas. With having these prefabricated assemblies on this project, coordination and collaboration is a top priority to ensure we set the project up for success. This is a challenge, but an exciting one that I have no doubt we will manage.

Working in this industry can always be very challenging. No matter how much you organize and plan your workday, unpredicted roadblocks come up. Trying to balance the plan and having the ability to effectively address these unplanned changes is a skillset I am continuously improving upon.

Q: Talk about a time in your career where you intervened to make the work on-site safer.

Early on in my career, I realized how important the life of each person is. Every person depends on someone. I recall a time I arrived on-site to one of my projects to find the jobsite was dirty, with potential slip, trip and fall hazards. I called for a stand down, met with my foreman, leadmen, workers and the on-site safety coordinator, and explained my concerns. After the stand down, I also met with the superintendent and project manager so they could share our findings and solutions with our trade partners.

I have a family who depends on me—my wife and three children. Every day they expect me to come back home. Just like me and you, every employee has someone who is waiting for them at the end of the day.

Superintendent Carlos Moreno talks with a craft team member.
Moreno believes everyone must commit to working safely, not because it is a rule, but because they believe in its importance in protecting everyone on every jobsite. Photo courtesy of Matt Pranzo

Q: What is one thing you think everyone can do to make the industry as a whole safer for everyone?

Everyone needs to commit first to themselves—not to a rule or imposition, but to themselves; committing to working safely because they believe in its importance. When this happens, they will automatically commit to the company’s safety culture. Not out of obligation, but from the heart because they understand how important their lives and the lives of others are.

Q: What is the most important thing you have learned over the course of your career?

Every day that I wake up is an opportunity to learn something new; you never finish learning. If I stop learning, I will stop growing. I’ve learned that each person is important and contributes valuable ideas that help our team achieve great results. I have learned from people with years of experience, but also from young people who are just starting their careers in construction. Everyone has something to bring to the table, and we are all part of the end results.

Carlos Moreno meets with fellow craft team members on his jobsite.
Says Moreno, "We're the builders. I think that's the heart of the company." Photo courtesy of Matt Pranzo

Q: What would your advice be for the next generation of builders entering this field?

You must have integrity, have the mindset of contributing, and have a teachable heart. You must embrace the ever forward mindset, stay persistent and have a good attitude, even when the circumstances are difficult. You must embrace innovation. Everyone has a certain level of creativity. Identifying that creativity and putting it to use is key. Here at DPR, you are given the opportunities to be creative, to offer influence, and to grow your career in many ways—not just the traditional paths.