Builders at our Core: Moises Olivarez
Drop a pin on a map just north of Downtown Dallas, Texas, and you’ll hit the city’s bustling Uptown district—an area increasingly taking on the characteristics of a modern urban design movement characterized by mixed use structures in walkable neighborhoods, with a variety of housing, job types, public spaces and vibrant nightlife.
Adhering to this livable design ethos that aims to combat urban sprawl, DPR is constructing 23Springs, a mixed-use office tower designed by GFF Architects for Granite Properties. This 26-story, 625,000-sq-ft. high-rise has a vertical design to reduce the building footprint, leaving room on the site for publicly-accessible open space. Heading up the concrete scope for 23Springs is DPR’s Moises Olivarez, who joined DPR in 2014 as a field engineer and currently serves as the concrete superintendent on the project.
Olivarez has dreamt of doing this kind of work since he was 18. He enjoys navigating new challenges and proving himself on difficult projects, but he knows his work is always a team effort, from logistics and planning, to implementing safety protocols.
Q: What are some interesting aspects about the project you’re working on right now?
Olivarez: We’re doing the concrete scope here at 23Springs. The biggest challenge on this job is the lack of space around the site because it’s in a dense, urban area in Uptown Dallas. There isn’t a lot of space to lay down materials. It’s a challenge to organize them, to connect the concrete pumps, to coordinate the sequence—who’s first, who’s next, etc. There is a lot of coordination involved. If something gets delayed, the whole plan has to be adjusted. But I have a good team. We make things happen.
This is the tallest high-rise I’ve worked on. The concrete workforce right now consists of me as the concrete superintendent, six foremen, and around 70 laborers and carpenters. We will be working until December of 2024.
We’re doing six pours per floor at the moment, but it will get more difficult when we get to level one, above the seven-level underground parking structure. We’ll have sloping columns and architectural exposed concrete columns above level one. The lid and level one have many complicated, deep (eight-foot) beams. We’ve added days to our schedule to account for that. There is a lot of concrete on this project. We’ll soon have more challenges, but with the team I’ve got, we’ll be able to do it and be successful.
Q: Talk about a time in your career where you intervened to make the work on-site safer.
Olivarez: Safety is my number one priority, followed closely by quality and production. Before we start a job, my team and I discuss the project—how we will do things, what systems we can use to be better. We discuss the plans and figure out which tools will allow us to do our job more safely. We talk about safety every day, before we start a new project, and then every day to reinforce the plans we made.
I think the key to being able to do a job with zero injuries is always the team. We put the plan together and apply it in the field, but if the team doesn’t follow the plan, it could be a different story.
Q: What’s the most challenging part of your job?
Olivarez: Logistics and schedule are the biggest challenges. To me, those are the keys to being successful on the job. We coordinate and plan, but sometimes things happen that could lead to delays, making it a little tricky to finish out certain parts. Scheduling is really tough, but we’ve been doing a good job, even when challenges pop up.
Q: To be successful in your role, what skills does a person need?
Olivarez: I think the key to being successful is always planning, communicating the plan to your team, and letting them change the plan in a good way. Planning and communication are always the key.
Q: What would your advice be for the next generation of builders entering this field?
Olivarez: First of all, you have to feel passion for what you do. If you don’t have that feeling, I don’t think anything can be successful. But if you feel like, “I want to do this,” if you put in the effort and pay your dues, I think that’s all you need. The rest—the opportunities, the tools, the training—DPR will provide. It’s ultimately up to you. If you want to be successful, you can be. But you have to put in the effort.
Q: What do you love about your job?
Olivarez: I love what I’m doing right now—both the concrete scope and the fact that I get to lead teams. When I was 18, I saw myself doing what I’m doing right now, and I made it happen. I really love what we can do as a team. Every job is a challenge, but this project is my biggest challenge yet, so I’m even more motivated. I want to prove myself and my team, to show that we can do this job and whatever job they give us. After this, we can do anything.
Builders at our Core is a blog series dedicated to sharing stories of DPR’s self-perform work teams. With diverse career paths, we’ll hear from people who got to where they are in very different ways, but have a few key things in common: a passion for continuous learning, growth and building great things.
Posted on October 6, 2023
Last Updated October 2, 2023