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.



December 22, 2020

Builders at our Core: Jonathan Quezada, Lina Ortiz and Paul Dooley

A group of builders talk about their project.
Jonathan Quezada, Lina Ortiz and Paul Dooley have different roles on this Florida Cancer Specialists project in Orlando, but their commitment to teamwork and communication allow them to learn from each other every day. Photo courtesy of Robert Andrescik

In Orlando, Florida, a team of DPR builders is hard at work on a new Florida Cancer Specialists location at the recently repurposed University of Central Florida Lake Nona Cancer Center facility, a comprehensive, one-stop cancer research and treatment center. Jonathan Quezada, Lina Ortiz and Paul Dooley each have a different role on the project, but like everyone else at DPR, consider themselves to be one team. They learn from each other every day, and their easy communication allows them to keep their projects moving forward.

Q: What are your roles at DPR and describe the paths you took to get there?

Ortiz: I’m a project engineer; I’ve been with DPR for about two-and-a-half years. I initially went to school for architecture, and while I was doing a Masters in Construction Management at the University of Florida, my school held a career fair. DPR was one of the main sponsors, so I did a lot of research on them. The projects DPR built really interested me.

Quezada: I’m a labor foreman in charge of some of the safety efforts we carry out on our jobsites. Before coming to DPR two years ago, I did maintenance in a hospital, and I’ve mainly worked on healthcare projects here at DPR. I do whatever I need to do to help keep projects on track.

Dooley: I’m a drywall foreman. I’ve been at DPR for five years, but I’ve been in the trade for 21. I started as a drywall hanger in 1999. After I had learned what I could about installing work, I wanted to take on more responsibility. So, I started reading the blueprints, and in 2008 I became a lead. By 2014, I was running my own jobs and have been doing so ever since.

A drywall foreman gestures to work being done overhead at a construction site.
Dooley credits being able to get along with people, helping them and asking them for help, with making his projects run smoothly. Photo courtesy of Robert Andrescik

Q: Why do you think being a self-performing general contractor makes a difference on a project?

Ortiz: It makes a lot of difference because you have people from your own team and from different trades working together on one project. We can start planning ahead since we’re the first ones on-site doing layout. That ultimately saves time and money because communication is easier.

Dooley: The customer knows we’re on-site actually doing the work and they know we have the resources we need to complete it. Everything they expect from us is 100% going to happen. We’re able to push the job. We’re one team, and that gives us flexibility. Look, I have a DPR hardhat. I have a DPR vest. I have a DPR mask. I pull up in a DPR truck. Even though I’m a drywall guy, someone will ask me a question about plumbing, and I’ll help them if I can. Since we’re all on the same team, we can help each other without jumping through organizational hoops, and things happen quicker.

Q: Was this experience different from other projects you worked on? How?

Ortiz: Jonathan and I worked together for this owner on our last project at The Villages. We performed well there, so they wanted to work with us again. This project is a bit smaller, but there are a lot of similarities. The customer was happy that the same team was going to work with them again and execute the project as well as we did for them in the past.

Two people consult at a building app on iPad while working on a construction site.
As a project engineer, Ortiz sees herself as the bridge connecting planning to work being done in the field. Photo courtesy of Robert Andrescik

Q: What did you learn from each other on this project?

Ortiz: I’m constantly asking questions. As a project engineer, you’re the bridge that connects to the field. A lot of solutions and new ways of doing things happen in the field. For instance, I had heard about a new way of framing one of our team members came up with, without having the door frames installed; you put a temporary wood template in place and frame around that. Then, when the frames are delivered, you just swap them out for the templates. That's just one example of the on-site innovations that happen all the time, and it allowed us to save a couple of weeks of schedule.

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

Quezada: I was working on a project that had some hard-to-reach areas. Some of our finishers were having a hard time getting to them and were standing on top of scissor lifts. When I noticed them, I intervened. We had a meeting with our Safety committee to come up with a better system that allowed for them to be tied off while doing the job. That’s how we do it at DPR; we work together as a team to come up with ideas together.

Q: What is one thing everyone can do to make the industry safer overall?

Ortiz: Safety starts on a personal level with wanting to keep yourself safe, but also with not wanting to cause harm to others. It’s not just about you; it’s about everyone else on the jobsite. One unsafe act can lead to other people getting hurt, and everybody deserves to go home to their families safely.

Quezada: One of the most important things is to make sure you really look over the work you’re doing. Don’t rush. Think through the work and consider any potential risks. Just be aware and pay attention every time, even if you’ve done the task a hundred times. It only takes a second for an incident to happen.

A group of construction workers take part in a stretch and flex exercise at a jobsite.
For Quezada, project success comes down to having a good attitude and being understanding of the diverse backgrounds of people on every project. Photo courtesy of Robert Andrescik

Q: If there was a language barrier, how did you overcome it? What were some things you did to help others overcome that barrier?

Ortiz: We all come from different backgrounds—I’m from Colombia—and even though we may speak the same language, we have different accents and different ways of speaking. You have to be open and ask people to explain things when you don’t understand. Otherwise, you might end up doing something you don’t mean to.

Quezada: Yes, that’s true. I’m Puerto Rican, so even though many of us speak Spanish, there are differences. Some pieces of equipment have different names in different regions. You just have to be open minded and understand that you’re working with people from different backgrounds.

Q: To be successful in your role, what skills does a person need?

Ortiz: Number one is communication. You have to be willing to ask questions—more than once if necessary—and to make sure everyone is on the same page. As long as there is open communication, if you can ask for help or offer help when needed, and be open and honest, you can solve any problems.

Quezada: A good attitude. If you’re dealing with people from different backgrounds and different countries, attitude has a lot to do with how well you work together. Be willing to work with other people, make sure everyone is on the same page and work with other trades.

Dooley: Teamwork. Being able to get along with people, helping them and asking them to help you, that really makes these jobs go a lot smoother. If it weren’t for the folks we have out there doing things right and caring about their work, we wouldn’t be able to turn out a good product. They’re everything. You can’t build a job by yourself. That’s all there is to it. We’re one team.

A construction worker finishes framing with a drill on a project.
Dooley, Ortiz and Quezada all express pride in their work, emphasizing that if you work hard, you can do whatever you want in your career at DPR. Photo courtesy of Robert Andrescik

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

Ortiz: No matter your level of education, you’re always able to make progress and learn every day. This is something I say to Jonathan a lot. There are so many things he knows from his past experiences that I have no idea about and would love to learn. And there are things I went to school for that he doesn’t know. If you’re passionate and willing to put in the work, you can move through the company and do whatever you want to do. Just work hard and you will see the end results.

Quezada: People notice when you put in the time. I can say, “See that place? I worked on that.” You have pride in what you do. You’re building things people notice. In this company, they want you to progress and become better. Right now, I’m taking blueprint reading and safety courses within DPR and I’m also doing a carpentry apprenticeship. These things just show that DPR cares. If you want to move up, they will not say no.

Dooley: It’s important to be reliable and hardworking. As long as you’re hardworking, the knowledge will come. And be open to learning experiences. You have to be willing to teach the next builder who might not know as much, and you never know who will teach you something. We’re one team, and I learn from the others on the jobsite all the time.

November 30, 2020

High Performing Teams Tackling Challenges

A large greenhouse research facility mid-construction.
While maintaining a strong commitment to local trade partners, DPR project teams and their talented self-performing crews are able to react quickly to changes in the field, keeping projects on track. Photo courtesy of Paul Brown

Half of DPR Construction’s employees are craft workers in a variety of trades. That means DPR is able to leverage the benefits of being a self-performing general contractor to better control schedule and quality, and to react quickly when conditions change in the field. While maintaining a strong commitment to local trade partners, DPR project teams and their talented self-performing crews are making big things happen.

Building a state-of-the art plant research facility in Southern California

DPR’s self-perform capabilities were instrumental in the recent construction of the $22 million, 31,500-sq.-ft., two-story Plant Growth Environments Facility on the University of California, Riverside campus—the first new greenhouse facility built on the Southern California campus in nearly 40 years.

A greenhouse facility mid-construction with a concrete foundation and metal framed second story.
DPR relied heavily on its self-perform capabilities on the recent Plant Growth Environments Facility on the University of California, Riverside campus. Photo courtesy of Paul Brown

The design-build team of DPR and Perkins+Will, along with design-build subcontractor Stuppy Greenhouse, created a research facility that puts science on display. The facility was constructed with concrete walls on the first floor and glass-encased greenhouses elevated above. Individual growth chambers on the first floor will house plants, pathogens and insects in separate, controlled environments. DPR concrete crews self-performed roughly 15% of the project volume, while self-perform drywall crews played a key role in pushing the schedule forward.

Early on, the team faced some challenges with the greenhouse framing. At the time work was to begin on the greenhouse portion, DPR’s concrete crew was on-site completing the cast-in-place structure that would serve as the first-floor foundation for the glass building. The site was tight, with only one point of access and limited space between the site wall and finished concrete structure to receive and offload material for the entire project. Because of the high risk of loading and offloading materials and the lack of a certified forklift driver on the part of the greenhouse vendor, DPR’s self-perform group was able to quickly pivot to take on the scope of managing the hundreds of thousands of intricate pieces making up the state of the art research facility. “Given the small site and elevated work platform, material management was no small task,” said Damon Hole, who served as superintendent on the project.

DPR concrete crews pour a cast-in-place structure that serves as the first floor foundation for the glass greenhouse.
DPR concrete crews self-performed roughly 15% of the project volume, with the cast-in-place structure serving as the first floor foundation for the glass building. Photo courtesy of Paul Brown

DPR team members received load after load of metal, glass and other components from the greenhouse vendor’s Midwest location to keep the project on track. “They also went above and beyond to keep the work environment clean and safe to keep other trades effective and efficient,” said Hole.

Once the greenhouse vendor started erecting the structure, DPR’s concrete and drywall corps supplemented their crew to push the project forward.

“For months these carpenters traded their concrete formwork, chop saws and metal studs in for aluminum glass extrusions, ridge vent systems and bug screens on the 100% exposed structure,” said Hole. “Every screw, bracket and brace here is exposed to view through the glass walls and corridors. The team essentially plumbed and squared the building up, took over structural framing activities in their entirety, and corrected existing issues,” explained Hole.

Once framing was complete, SPW team members were divided among the greenhouse crew and assisted with the various greenhouse components that make the building so unique. They learned, assisted, then led the crews with installation and built 100% custom evaporative cooling systems with large vertical vent sashes that automatically open and close according the cooling demand of each individual plant house. Additionally, the DPR team installed custom-designed direct drive worm gear shade systems that open and close based on sunlight exposure and heat control requirements of each room. Operable glass ridge vents that allow fresh air to be pulled into the building when needed, along with thousands of feet of exposed flashing and 60 large greenhouse benches to support the plant research and growth were also completed by the DPR crew. “Perhaps the biggest lesson we learned on this project is that no matter how big or small the job, you can’t do it alone. We were lucky that we have so many talented craft men and women at DPR. Our client recognizes the monumental effort they have put into this success, and it is a testament to what our self-perform work can do for our clients to help ensure their projects will be successful,” said Hole.

Attention to detail saves schedule at The Center for Advanced Healthcare at Brownwood

In The Villages, Florida, DPR recently completed The Villages Center for Advanced Healthcare at Brownwood (CAHB) and Brownwood Hotel & Spa, a unique 31-acre project that includes over 400,000 sq.-ft. of interior space. The four-story medical facility is the first phase in the development of a long-term ambulatory care program that will provide a host of comprehensive services ranging from Dermatology to Urology. One notable tenant, the AVIV Clinic, offers a first-of-its-kind hyperbaric oxygen treatment center featuring two 138,000-pound hyperbaric chambers, making it the largest hyperbaric medicine operation in the United States.

The Brownwood Hotel and Spa building at dusk, flanked by palm trees.
The Brownwood Hotel and Spa connects to the Villages Center for Advanced Healthcare at Brownwood, allowing patients to receive outpatient procedures and then check into the hotel without ever leaving the premises. Photo courtesy of Darren Edwards Photographs

The adjacent Brownwood Hotel & Spa connects to the specialty center on the second floor, allowing patients to receive outpatient procedures and then check into the hotel ever without leaving the premises. Inspired by the nearby Brownwood Town Square, the hotel utilizes a warm, rustic interior and an exterior facade that features locally sourced stone and prefabricated wall panels on the hotel tower.

DPR actively embraces such innovative design and construction methods that can positively impact project schedules, and by paying close attention to specific details, project teams are able to adapt and overcome real-time challenges in the field that often prohibit construction advancement. On this project, the team’s diligence and proactive solutions allowed for an efficient and fluid construction sequence. The team was proactive in seeking out solutions and collaboratively developed an actionable plan to address finite details.

DPR’s self-perform group utilized virtual and physical mock-ups to check essential details at the outset, to facilitate early approvals and team alignment. Photo courtesy of Darren Edwards Photographs

An example of this was related to the Doors, Frames and Hardware (DFH) in the Brownwood Hotel & Spa. Setting the appropriate budget and schedule from the outset, DPR’s self-perform group was able to get into the details both virtually and in the form of physical mock-ups. A mock-up hotel room was created for early approvals and team alignment. Often overlooked, the entry doors had unique features that included a small rubber cap between the hotel corridor carpet and the entry suite LVT rather than the typical detail with a transition strip. Originally, the team planned on using a small transition strip, but the mock-up enabled and informed some early decisions, including incorporating the ½-inch rise strip. With the short time frame between mock-up approvals and the release of materials, DPR was able to make adjustments in the field without disrupting critical procurement milestones.

“We called the manufacturer and were able to change the size of the entry doors in time, just as they were about to run them through the mill. If we hadn’t done so, we would have spent hours modifying doors, or potentially having to order new ones altogether,” said Chris Lowe, who served as a project manager on the build.

Pushing schedule with self-perform work in Texas

In Austin, Texas, DPR’s concrete, framing and drywall, interiors/DFH and Division 7 (firestop & waterproofing) self-perform crews were instrumental in the early completion of the Austin Marriott Downtown, a 32-story, 613-key hotel project six weeks ahead of schedule.

A 32-story, downtown hotel and crane seen from the air, mid-construction.
DPR crews in Austin were instrumental in the early completion of a 32-story hotel project in a dense downtown environment six weeks ahead of schedule. Photo courtesy of Turner Kerr

“On this project, SPW made all the difference with our schedule,” said DPR’s Steven Paredes, a general superintendent. “Concrete was able to gain us about a month overall.”

In a dense, downtown environment, logistical challenges are many and construction crews look for innovative ways to build. The team in Austin decided to utilize a system that was uncommon there at that time but was familiar to DPR’s concrete lead from their time on the West Coast.

“We used a climbing core system,” Paredes said. “It allowed us to keep the form work intact. With limited space around the project, keeping that form work up on the deck rather than having to fly it down after every pour was pretty instrumental.”

In addition, DPR drywall crews performed all framing and drywall on the hotel’s guest room levels, from level 7 through level 34. Additionally, DPR’s interiors group installed all doors, hardware and bathroom accessories throughout the building and installed the shower glass enclosures in all of the guestrooms, while the Division 7 team performed all the acoustical and firestop, as well as all below-grade waterproofing. “We never missed a drywall hang date throughout the entire project. That was a big milestone, and we hit it on every single one of those floors,” said Paredes.

DPR concrete crews perform a concrete pour.
“On this project, SPW made all the difference with our schedule,” said DPR’s Steven Paredes, a general superintendent. “Concrete was able to gain us about a month overall.” Photo courtesy of Cambrella Photography

Utilizing DPR self-perform trades for the critical path work made this Austin project a success not only because of their skill and the presence of a solid plan. The high degree to which everyone was aligned, regardless of role, played a huge role in their success. Paredes and his team simply decided they would not allow themselves to fail. “We refused to allow that to happen on this job. Once we all agreed that we were in this together, we fought for each other. Having that mentality set up from the beginning had a huge impact on our overall success,” shared Paredes

November 4, 2020

Builders at our Core: Emory Sweeney and Steve Paredes

Aerial view of a tall downtown building mid-construction.
Superintendents Emory Sweeney and Steve Paredes point to good relationships, a solid plan and DPR's self-perform workforce as being key to their recent successful early completion of a downtown Austin hotel project. Photo courtesy of Turner Kerr

Austin, TX-based superintendents Emory Sweeney and Steve Paredes know the value of good planning and being good partners. Their robust collaboration coupled with a project-wide commitment to aligning everyone on the team, regardless of role, made all the difference on their most recent project, with their team completing a downtown Austin hotel six weeks ahead of schedule. What was the key to success? “Man, there really is no secret sauce,” Paredes said. “It comes down to having good relationships, a good plan, getting the key personnel in early, and having our self-perform workforces alongside us. We’ve had some people really stand out on this project who have now begun leading others, so we can leave saying we’ve executed on a high level and we’ve also built some good builders.”

Q: What are your roles at DPR and describe the paths you took to get there.

Sweeney: I started at DPR as an intern and then became a project engineer right out of the University of Texas at Austin, where I studied Civil Engineering. While I was a PE, I found that I really enjoyed being out in the field, helping coordinate work and interacting with the trades, so on one of my projects I made a switch and started doing both. From there, I progressed to assistant superintendent, then superintendent.

Paredes: I’m a general superintendent, and I’m on the leadership team in Austin. I studied Construction Management in college, but in 2006 I saw a need opening up in the field with a lot of experienced superintendents retiring, so I took advantage of that and went the field route. I’ve been able to do a lot of projects I really enjoy—tall structures in a hectic downtown environment that are logistically challenging—and I get to share my knowledge. What really drives me is building good teams, and I get great satisfaction from knowing we’re not just building projects; we’re building people.

Q: Why do you think being a self-performing general contractor makes a difference on a project?

Sweeney: One of the biggest benefits is that everyone is on same page as far as overall goal for project. There’s no hidden agenda; it’s all DPR and we all have the same goal. There’s an extra level of honesty and transparency that makes things a lot easier. You feel like you’re talking to a friend. The things we do in the field drive the critical path, and we have a massive impact as a team that helps the schedule. That all comes down to communication and that lack of a barrier.

Paredes: On this project, it made all the difference with our schedule. We did all the structural concrete from level B3 up to level 34, and Concrete was able to gain us about a month overall. We used a climbing core system, which used to be unique to Austin. Our concrete lead had a lot of experience with it on the West Coast, where it’s utilized more. It allowed us to keep the form work intact. With limited space around the project, keeping that form work up on the deck rather than having to fly it down after every pour was pretty instrumental. There was a cost upgrade to it, but it allowed us to gain some schedule time back. Now if you look around Austin, I think there are four other projects that have climbing core systems, and prior to this project there were zero.

Our Drywall group performed all the framing and drywall on all the guest room levels, from level 7 through 34. We never missed a drywall hang date throughout the entire project. That was a big milestone, and we hit it on every single one of those floors. Our Interiors group installed every bit of doors and hardware, all of the bathroom accessories, and the shower glass enclosures in the guest rooms. Our Division 7 team performed all the acoustical and firestop, and did all the waterproofing down below grade. They executed flawlessly. We did a really good job with our self-perform group, and we’re awfully proud.

Q: What have you learned from each other?

Paredes: What I got from Emory is a renewed drive. He is intense with planning and scheduling, and with what he expects from people. Part of our job is to motivate others on our team, so it was refreshing to see someone who has that intensity. His persistence with things is never-ending and watching him teach other people has been awesome. I’ve been able to take some cues for how to talk to others; he’s a really good partner.

Sweeney: It’s important for us to be able to give people guidelines but then allow them the freedom to develop plans. We have to manage expectations because we can’t touch everything personally. I needed to develop that skill: to help people grow and develop their own plans, and help them develop professionally. This is the first project where I felt I accomplished that and really helped build some good people. When we encountered difficult situations and tensions ran high, Steve was good about taking a step back and finding ways to keep people on the jobsite motivated.

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

Paredes: Our planning throughout this hotel project really aided in that, but we worked hard at it. We wanted to be very intentional, so we called a meeting with all our project leadership and foremen from our concrete crews. We tried to make it personal, and we talked through everything. I wrote on the board every person who was on-site. We drilled down into making the craft part of the process. After that discussion, there was a huge revelation for the entire team on what safety on the jobsite really meant. It wasn’t about me policing it. It was about being a team and caring for each other. It was about being productive, doing our jobs, and making sure everyone went home safely each day.

A team performs a concrete mat pour for a downtown Austin hotel.
DPR's self-perform concrete team handled all of the structural concrete work on the project, from level B3 up to level 34. Photo courtesy of Cambrella Photography

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

Sweeney: Find partners on your job who make safety personal—who take it seriously and always do the right thing—and then encourage that mindset to spread across the organization. You can’t sit down with everyone, so finding partners to talk about the importance of safety makes it infectious. The other component is not putting up with incorrect behavior. There’s a quote: “The thing about morals is it’s not what you say, it’s what you tolerate.” If you see something, say something and don’t tolerate unsafe activities. Training is a huge part of it, too. Make sure you have all the tools you need, then hold people accountable.

Paredes: For us, it’s about having an unparalleled training program to arm people with the tools they need to make the right decisions and have the entire team brought in on that mentality.

Q: Was this experience different from other projects you worked on? How?

Paredes: This is the first job for me that had my stamp on it 100%. It was really on me and the project manager to set up the project correctly with the knowledge that we were going to utilize our self-perform trades for the critical path work. When Emory came on board, I told him we were not going to allow ourselves to fail. We’ve been on jobs with scheduling issues, and I refused to allow that to happen here. Our SPW teams understood that we were all in this together, and we fought for each other. We set up that mentality from the beginning, and it had a huge impact on our overall success.

Sweeney: This was the first time I had ever done a hotel. I think our biggest success was our self-perform collaboration. We embraced the fact that we’re all on the same team--project management and the craft. We’ve talked about that a lot in the past, but I’ve never seen it as strong as it was on this project. Once we were all able to get on same page, we were hitting our schedule, and that led to this culture of everyone else falling in line. Our SPW team on this project was huge, delivering excellent work.

Aerial view of a construction site showing two cranes and tall buildings.
Paredes enjoys logistically challenging projects such as this: tall structures in a hectic downtown environment. Photo courtesy of Cambrella Photography

Q: To be successful in your role, what skills does a person need?

Sweeney: Accountability—to yourself and to others. And communication, which is huge to me. You have to communicate your plan and your expectations around schedule properly. That doesn’t mean talking TO team members, but talking WITH team members and getting them bought in. Once people agree and there’s buy-in, then you hold each other accountable.

Paredes: In my role, you have to be able to set boundaries and let your team make decisions while operating within those boundaries to allow them to grow and succeed. During my career, I’ve learned that I operate better when I can make my own decisions. It’s important to know when to offer more guidance within that matrix and when to hold back and let your team drive.

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

Paredes: For me, I was cocky and arrogant when I started out. I thought I knew a bunch of stuff, but I’m still learning every day. So, take advice from others. Don’t be afraid of criticism and be open to others’ thoughts and ideas. Be a sponge when you’re starting out and know that at the end of the day field operations is pretty damned cool. We’re the builders.

Sweeney: Be humble and admit that you don’t know a lot when you’re just starting out. Be willing to accept that. In the beginning, you don’t know a lot more than you do know, so act upon that. Find the right information. Ask questions. Learn. Be accountable. Trust is such a massive thing in our industry, so walk the talk and do what you say you’re going to do every time.

September 15, 2020

Builders at our Core: Carlos Moreno

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.

July 31, 2020

Builders at our Core: Getting the Bay Area Back to Work

Construction work taking place on the UCSF Block 23A Neurosciences Research Building in San Francisco
Work was paused on the UCSF Block 23A Building in San Francisco when California's Bay Area announced a shelter-in-place order. Photo courtesy of Barry Fleisher

On March 16, officials in California’s Bay Area announced a Shelter-in-Place (SIP) order for six Bay Area counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara. Many DPR Construction projects stopped work to abide by this order to help flatten the curve of COVID-19 infections. But that wasn’t the end of the story. Safely winding down a project is one thing. Getting things back online with new protocols in the face of a pandemic is another. DPR’s Bay Area project teams quickly got to work on what they knew would be the next step: restarting these projects as safely as possible.

Teams were set up to formulate return to work plans, for both offices and jobsites, so projects could come back online with enhanced COVID-19 safety protocols. One such project that was paused due to the SIP order was the 283,000-sq.-ft. UCSF Block 23A Neurosciences Research Building in San Francisco’s Mission Bay neighborhood. The project is in an urban setting, in the middle of a city block, a stone’s throw away from the Chase Center and AT&T Park. DPR’s self-perform scopes include concrete, drywall, ceilings, firestopping and fire safing.

Jack Poindexter, who serves as project executive on the UCSF job, summed up the challenges. “This project is massive. It’s a complex project with a lot of workers on-site—well over 300 on a given day.” The team knew they needed to build a plan to return to work, but being able to do it safely and with a high degree of excellence was paramount in their minds. “Our goal was to protect their jobs, but we also had to protect their health, and treat a potential restart with a level of seriousness that we would treat any other high hazard activity on a construction site.”

Cones and signage are set up outside the UCSF Block 23A site to remind people of social distancing requirements.
A team of DPR employees met daily via virtual conferences to devise a get back to work plan that included advanced protocols aimed at safeguarding everyone on-site. Photo courtesy of DPR Construction

The final result was akin to a project procedures manual on a large job. The team, who met daily via virtual conferences, considered all possible angles: How to get people in. How to check that they’re healthy. How to get them into the building in the most efficient manner. How to move materials to and around the site. How to keep people safe in the field and in the trailer. What types of PPE would be required? What should working hours be? How to bring people back into the site while orienting them to new logistics and procedures. The team collected myriad ideas and came up with a final get back to work plan that UCSF not only approved but praised.

First and foremost was the question of how to spread people out for social distancing purposes. A team of DPR employees, including superintendents and craft team members who could advise on the practicalities of the field and come up with workable solutions, decided to spread workers out across shifts. The core crews were split into two shifts, while a third shift was added to handle material deliveries and some on-site work.

The next step was to stagger the start times of subcontractors, even within the same shift. With a pre-screening process, including temperature scans, in place to ensure that every person who enters the site is healthy, this cuts down on people queuing up for screening at the same time. And those who do wait in line for screening prior to entry stand at designated places on the pavement, helping them maintain a 6-foot distance from each other while waiting to enter the gate. The team even added a second gate, allowing two people to be screened at once at separate entry points. Those conducting temperature scans are protected in booths, behind plexiglass--not only on the construction site itself, but also in jobsite trailers.

Employees are given temperature scans at screening booths before entering work areas.
Booths were set up to screen people for COVID-19 symptoms before they enter the site, with screeners performing temperature scans behind plexiglass. Photo courtesy of DPR Construction

The team also changed logistics once inside the site, even down to the use of the stairs in the building. One staircase is designated for going up, while another is designated for those going down. This minimizes the number of people potentially passing each other in close contact. Teams also began working in designated zones of the building so that certain crews can be isolated from others. For Poindexter, DPR’s self-perform crews not only helped make this possible, but helped make it a success.

“When we shut down, we were right in the middle of drywall, and we have a tremendous amount of our drywall and ceiling folks on-site. What’s great is getting them back to work, but also, they’re our people. It’s so much easier to control the safety and performance of a project when you’ve got DPR personnel executing it. These protocols are new to everybody, so making sure we’re all doing them well is a whole new hurdle for us. Having more DPR personnel on-site is a really big benefit for us.”

Three craft team members work to complete the UCSF Block 23A Building.
DPR's planning team included superintendents and craft team members who advised on the practicalities of the field and came up with workable solutions for restarting work. Photo courtesy of Barry Fleisher

The UCSF Block 23A project was able to restart successfully due to the careful analysis, planning and execution of those plans by DPR employees and the cooperation of every subcontractor and the client, itself. But, the importance of the learning element is not lost on anyone. The crisis has given everyone the opportunity to become better planners, with a multitude of lessons learned from both planning and scheduling standpoints.

Said Poindexter: “We’ve learned a ton. We’ve focused on it in a way that folks at DPR always do. We rise to the occasion. Every time, we rally around these issues, solve the problems, learn from them, and are better in the future. That effort is well worth it. We will end up in a stronger position as better builders in the long run.”

UCSF Block 23A welcomed more than 300 people back to work the week of May 4. Safely.

April 24, 2020

Builders at our Core: Keeping Team Members Safe

Workers wear mask on a construction site.
DPR has changed the way work is done to keep people safe while continuing to deliver results. Photo courtesy of DPR Construction

For businesses operating during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is anything but business as usual. Normal routines have been upended, and organizations have responded to the challenges by changing the way they work to protect the safety of employees, customers and communities. From maintaining social distance to donning face masks, the day to day of essential workers looks different than it ever has.

Construction is one such essential industry. While many projects remain operational, some sectors have experienced increased demand in the face of the current global health crisis. Hospitals continue to undertake herculean efforts while internet providers experience increased traffic, all with a view to helping people through the current crisis.

Taking care of people has always been at the heart of DPR. As projects continue to move forward, project teams have adjusted how they work to protect not only employees and their families, but customers and communities as well. Measures have been implemented on every DPR jobsite to keep people safe, the first being assessing personal health and risk factors before stepping onsite.

Jobsite workers wear face mask and practice social distancing.
DPR has implemented measures recommended by the CDC to safeguard health on all project sites. Photo courtesy of DPR Construction

Prior to entering any jobsite, team members must complete a Pre-Screen Self-Assessment with questions aimed at determining whether COVID-19 related symptoms or risk factors exist. Self-Assessments consist of:

  • questions delivered via an app on either a team member’s personal phone or on a DPR-supplied tablet.
  • a temperature check administered by a trained screener with a non-contact infrared thermometer or camera. If no fever is present, the team member is given a daily wristband or sticker indicating they have been cleared to enter that day.
  • information shared with designated DPR COVID-19 Captains, and if applicable, trade partners, vendors and client leads.
A team member gets his temperature checked, and another washes her hands.
Temperature checks are carried out to rule out fever before admittance, and extra hand washing stations have been deployed. Photo courtesy of DPR Construction

DPR’s Whitney Dorn reflected on her jobsite’s first go at screening. “More than 250 people went through the COVID-19 screen on our jobsite. The first day went swimmingly! The screen itself only took 45 seconds. The DPR Safety and craft team members are our first line of defense, keeping us safe.”

Once on the jobsite, team members practice social distancing, maintaining at least a 6-foot distance from each other. That means pre-task planning that takes social distancing into account. Additionally, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control, wearing cloth face masks is required. Extra hand washing stations are available on project sites, with reminders to wash hands often. Common areas and tools are sanitized frequently, and wherever possible team members avoid sharing tools.

Four team members practice social distancing while wearing face masks on a jobsite.
Team members wear cloth face masks and practice social distancing. Photo courtesy of DPR Construction

These safety measures taken on-site enable DPR to continue to deliver essential projects even during this pandemic. For example, on the East Coast, a longtime DPR healthcare partner issued an urgent request to DPR to modify 100 patient room doors and add glass panels into doors to enable care providers to observe patients while limiting direct exposure. The request came with a target timetable of just over a week. DPR responded immediately and mobilized an experienced self-perform workforce that knew the medical center well. The team formulated and deployed a plan best suited for the work, with the smallest impact to the customer and patients. DPR’s Chris Strock said, “I’m not sure we would be able to respond as quickly and with such confidence if we did not have self-perform work capabilities.

March 5, 2020

Builders at our Core: Nancy Martinez

Nancy Martinez currently works as a labor foreman and Black Hat Safety Supervisor.
Nancy Martinez's excellence and attitude have propelled her to being recognized as both a project foreman and a Black Hat Safety Supervisor in a historically male-dominated industry. Photo courtesy of Matt Pranzo

These days it’s not out of the ordinary to see women working on construction sites—something that was a rarity when Emily Roebling oversaw the completion of the Brooklyn Bridge in 1883. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a 31 percent increase in the total number of women in the construction industry over the last decade. They are empowered to undertake roles previously not open to them. The story of one such female builder is shared in this latest edition of Builders at our Core: Nancy Martinez.

Martinez flexes her team integration muscles on a daily basis. As the leader of a self-perform crew in Virginia that works with dozens of superintendents and a slew of craft teams to maintain order and cleanliness on the job site, she helps keep projects on track and works to spread safety awareness along the way. Her excellence and attitude have propelled her to being recognized as both a project foreman and a Black Hat Safety Supervisor in a historically male-dominated industry. She attributes these achievements to an ‘I can do it’ mentality, simply stating, “We work hard, and there is nothing we can’t do.”

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

Martinez: I’m currently in charge of the labor group for Building 3 on this job site. I heard about DPR from another team member, who happens to be my brother-in-law. I came from an outside contractor, cleaning hospitals, and I’ve been here since November of 2018. I started as a laborer, and as we grew and added more people, I became a lead for Building 1. From there, I became a foreman for electrical rooms and then ended up taking responsibility for the whole building.

I was also recently nominated to be a part of the new Black Hat Safety Supervisors program, which was an honor. The black hat signifies being a safety advocate for the people. We look out for everybody on the site, not just our specific craft team, and we work to spread safety awareness. We are vigilant about safety, which includes everything from making sure people have their PPE on to making sure everyone is tied off properly and has four points of contact.

Nancy Martinez points to a crew member on a DPR job site.
Martinez leads a self-perform crew in Virginia that works with dozens of superintendents and a slew of craft teams to maintain order and cleanliness on the job site. Photo courtesy of Matt Pranzo

Q: How does your team integrate with other teams? How do you work with each other or make things easier for each other?

Martinez: My team goes wherever we are needed. We coordinate with other craft schedules to clean areas when work is done, and we also prepare areas before work starts so craft team members know they are coming into a clean and safe environment. If there’s water in a pit, we figure out the most efficient way to get it out, whether it be pumps connected to a hose or shop vacs, or even a squeegee machine to squeegee it out. If a bunch of plywood needs to be moved, we walk it down three flights of stairs. We pick up trash, sweep break tents and make sure everything is clean and slip-trip-and-fall hazards are minimized so building can continue as it needs to.

Q: What is your proudest moment at DPR?

Martinez: Honestly, there’s a whole lot. I helped turn over parts of Building 1 on this site, and it was exciting to be a part of that. We watch a site go from dirt to an entire building. There’s a huge sense of accomplishment that goes along with that. At the end of this project, there will be a big reveal, and I will be able to say I was a part of that. But I think my proudest moment was becoming a foreman. It was a recognition of my determination and the contributions I’ve made to the team. It’s a real honor.

Martinez oversees a crew member on a DPR job site.
Martinez helps keep projects on track and works to spread safety awareness along the way as a Black Hat Safety Supervisor. Photo courtesy of Matt Pranzo

Q: What’s the most challenging part of your job?

Martinez: One challenge is managing so many moving parts. We have 23 superintendents running three different buildings, with each of them needing something different. Managing that takes some creativity. Everything else is cake. (Laughing) Before this, I was always a small fry. At first, I was terrified of being put in charge, but the superintendents I work with were able to guide me through how to handle everything, which made it easier. I just take it one room at a time.

Q: What do you love about construction/your job?

Martinez: It’s never the same work over and over again; there’s always something new. You can come onto a construction site doing one thing, and three years down the line be doing something completely different. The really great thing at DPR is there is unlimited potential for growth, and the work you do is recognized and rewarded.

Q: To be successful in your role, what skills does a person need?

Martinez: Honestly, I think it comes down to self-determination. There’s not one single skill I can identify in my role. It comes down to the desire to do the work and to do it well. Anybody can push a broom. What really matters is how you go about doing it. Anybody can pick up a piece of wood, but it’s another thing to pick up a 20-foot two-by-four and walk it down three floors. You have to see the work to its finish and every little bit matters.

Martinez and a coworker lift  a sign together.
Martinez attributes her achievements to an ‘I can do it’ mentality, stating, “We work hard, and there is nothing we can’t do.” Photo courtesy of Matt Pranzo

Q: What advice would you give other women who want to get into the industry?

Martinez: We are in a predominantly male industry, and we work just as hard as they do. It’s vital that we have an ‘I can do it’ mentality. If guys can do it, we can too. I see other females in our industry—painters, finishers, drywallers, electricians, laborers. A lot of them do duct work. I’ve even seen a female steelworker. There is nothing we can’t do. You get out of it what you put in, and the opportunities are there for us, as well.

January 23, 2020

Builders at our Core: Hershal Rogers

Hershal Rogers, superintendent for DPR's SPW crew, talks about his experiences.
Hershal Rogers has witnessed a lot of positive industry change since he started in the drywall business over 35 years ago. Photo courtesy of Matt Pranzo

Hershal Rogers began his professional journey nailing off houses in Texas at the age of 13. He has witnessed a lot of change in the industry, from the adoption of iPads in the field to the use of digitally fabricated panels. He spoke to us about the benefits of using prefabricated panels over traditional stick-built methods in accelerating project schedules and improving overall safety in the field. And the tools he has found most useful on his journey? Honesty and integrity.

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

Rogers: I came to DPR a year and a half ago, but I‘ve been a superintendent level or above in the drywall trade for a long time. My brother started me in the business when I was 13 years old. After I served in the Navy, I worked for a small construction company. I was self-employed for years, then worked as an operations manager for an interiors company. Then a coworker referred me to DPR. I work as a superintendent, running various projects.

Q: How does your team integrate with other teams? How do you work with each other or make things easier for each other?

Rogers: One thing I’ve learned over this last year and a half with DPR is it’s all about relationships. We’re all one team. If there's something we can’t do, suggest alternatives. Offer a solution rather than a flat out “no,” to build trust that our group is going to be there to take care of the job and we’re not going to fail. I try to build that into our craft—to be solution-minded. Point out solutions to problems rather than the problems themselves. And it seems to be working. We’re training people right and getting the right people for the job.

Q: What’s the most challenging part of your job?

Rogers: The most challenging part is proving yourself on a daily basis. I always try to be out in front of everyone, schedule-wise. We have to be organized and make sure the right materials are there when we need them. Everybody else is in same boat, so you can’t be too far ahead. I’ll set up delivery of a truckload of drywall for every Wednesday and Friday so the materials are there, but also not too many at once because it would clutter the jobsite. The good thing about the job is that each one has its own personality. You don’t do the same thing every day. It’s really about doing whatever task is at hand and trying to get things right. I’m always figuring out how to adjust things to fit the needs of the project.

Hershal Rogers focuses on being solution oriented and tries to impart the importance of this goal to everyone he works with.
Building trust is important to Rogers. He and his team accomplish this by being solution oriented and sticking to their promises. Photo courtesy of Matt Pranzo

Q: To be successful in your role, what skills does a person need?

Rogers: Patience is paramount, so I think patience and just being versatile. Being willing to make changes and to adjust to the needs of the other individuals on the job. Things can change constantly. I’ll have my plans for the day, and by 7:15 my plans have changed. You prioritize the project needs and decide what should come first. It’s a juggling act, but I don’t drop many balls.

Q: How have you grown since you started here?

Rogers: I come from a background of all "Mom and Pop" type shops. This is my first experience with a large general contractor. Where I was working before, we still used a hammer, a chisel and a rock to communicate. When I walked into DPR to get onboarded, the first thing they did was hand me an iPad, which I wasn’t used to. But I’m learning. I see the advantages of the technology, whereas before I thought of it as a hindrance.

If you ask anyone who knows me, I’ve even grown as a person. My wife, my fishing buddies, my hunting buddies… they all say I’m a completely different person than I used to be. Where I worked before, it was a negative, high-pressure environment. It was one of those situations where you pretty much had to give your personal life away. Now that I’ve been here a little bit longer and have learned to embrace the DPR culture, I realize that all the things I was told aren’t just empty words. They’re real. If you do something right, you hear about it. If you do something wrong, you hear about it. Whatever you’re doing, the occasional pat on the back goes a long way toward morale. A happy employee is a productive employee. I’m happy to be involved with a company that believes that.

Hershal Rogers is a believer in the benefits of prefabrication panels in accelreating schedule and improving jobsite safety.
Rogers cites accelerated schedule and increased safety as crucial benefits of building with prefabricated panels. Photo courtesy of Matt Pranzo

Q: Tell us a bit more about the technology aspect of your work here.

Rogers: We’re working on a job in Fort Worth using prefabricated panels. Because DPR is a self-performing general contractor, we can get the job started at least a couple weeks faster than anybody else in town would have. There have been several jobs in the past year where that’s really been a benefit to everyone. From a scheduling standpoint, you can’t build walls in the air near as fast as you can put one up with a crane, like we do with our prefab panels. It takes about 20 minutes to set a 16-foot by 25-foot wall, 28 floors in the air. It would take two weeks to build it the traditional way.

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

Rogers: Honesty and integrity are the things that have gotten me where I am. I don’t have a college education, but I served my country and I’m proud of that. I’ve always done my best. It’s like I tell some of these young men and women: If you say you’re going to do something, do it. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing; come in every day and do your best. If you want opportunities, look for them and make the most of them. Like me—I started out nailing off houses in East Texas. I’ve pushed brooms thousands of miles. Don’t view what you’re doing today as meaningless because it’s not. It takes all of us to make this work. The sky is the limit. Set your own goals and meet those goals. If an opportunity happens, step through that door and knock it out of the park.

November 27, 2019

Builders at our Core: Andres Sanchez

Andres Sanchez has a keen appreciation for and experience with integrating various teams.
Andres Sanchez has a keen appreciation for and experience with integrating the various teams it takes to deliver a successful project. Photo courtesy of Matt Pranzo

Over the past year, DPR Construction has shared stories of its self-perform work (SPW) teams. We’ve heard from builders who successfully execute complex technical projects every day by working closely with their teammates. But a key part of project success also lies in the collaboration and integration between teams, so we’re shifting our focus to highlight those synergies. We begin with Andres Sanchez, a self-proclaimed “office guy who came from the field and every day takes the field to the office.” Sanchez began his career as a craft team member, transitioned into virtual design and construction and currently acts as a project engineer, so he has a keen appreciation for and experience with integrating the various teams it takes to deliver a successful project.

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

Sanchez: I’m currently a project engineer, managing SPW work. I started working in the field as a craft employee, and I was fortunate to get the chance to be part of the laser scanning unit when it was brand new to our region. We laser scanned as-built conditions, floor flatness, concrete pre-pours, and after we were successful we trained other regions in laser scanning. I liked laser scanning because it allowed me to visit multiple offices and work with various teams, because we were performing work outside of our Phoenix office and training others. We mastered the process so we could share our learning. I’m currently managing the ASU Health Futures Center projects and assisting at other SSG projects on other campuses.

Q: What do you love about construction / your job?

Sanchez: The main thing I love about construction is just putting my two cents in to get something done. To be the bridge between our design and our craft. To be able to translate what’s being requested to put that in place. That’s team integration in a nutshell.

Sanchez points out that each person he works with has the same goal: to work together to deliver a successful project. Photo courtesy of Matt Pranzo

Q: How does your team integrate with other teams? How do you work with each other or make things easier for each other?

Sanchez: In my role, we deal with Preconstruction before the project even starts. We deal with BIM coordination. We work with our superintendents to be able to manage the correct schedule, and with other trade partners to coordinate the work in place. At the end of the day, we’re all working together to achieve one goal: a successful project. And teamwork makes that happen.

One good example was the laser scanning. I was doing framing on a project, and I was asked if I was interested in being part of this new team that was being developed. I didn’t hesitate for a minute. I said, “Yes, when do I start?” Our group of three had no real experience with it, but we knew we needed to master it as soon as possible. With support from our Southern California team, we purchased our own laser scanner and brought in a specialty team from the vendor, Trimble, to train us. On a scale from one to 10, our first project was a 9. To be able to exceed the owner’s expectations and showcase the benefit of laser scanning was mind-blowing. As a region, it was just the beginning of a new way of implementing technology into construction. From that project, it skyrocketed. We did Shea Hospital in Phoenix. That lead us to go to Austin, Dallas and Houston to coach and train our Texas folks, where concrete was taking off. After that, we did the same thing in Florida.

Sanchez loves his job, especially being the bridge between design and the craft, and to help translate what’s being requested into what gets built. Photo courtesy of Matt Pranzo

Q: What are you most proud of / what is your proudest moment at DPR?

Sanchez: One of my proudest moments was to be able to share my love of construction with my daughter. When I worked on the project in Tucson, my 9-year-old daughter, Mia, visited the jobsite with me on multiple occasions until completion. During our daily dinner conversation, she always asked me, “Is it done yet?” It was like having to give a superintendent a daily project update. Now that we moved back to Phoenix, she tells everyone, “I built a hospital in Tucson. I worked for DPR.” And now she wants to be an engineer.

Q: What’s the most challenging part of your job?

Sanchez: (Laughs) Going home! There are days when I get calls from home telling me dinner is ready, and I say, “Give me 20 more minutes.” I always try to stay ahead of things and be on top of what’s coming up next week: forecasting, what’s going to be impacting our schedule. I must stay on top of all that.

According to Sanchez, a great attitude and a great smile make every day, and every project, easier. Photo courtesy of Matt Pranzo

Q: To be successful in your role, what skills does a person need?

Sanchez: Attitude. Having the right attitude, the will to learn and to be teachable. You could have all it takes to master a skill or a task, but not having the correct attitude will not give you great results. It can be as simple as sharing a smile with someone who might be having a bad day. A great smile and a great attitude make everything easier. I’m always smiling. Even when something goes wrong, they say, “Why is he smiling?” And I say, “Well, let’s figure something out!”

October 4, 2019

Supporting Apprenticeship in the Carolinas

DPR Construction's projects don’t just build themselves. Our craft employees and subcontractors make amazing things happen on site every day, but the need to recruit a new generation of people to the trades is vital.

At Wake Tech, in the heart of North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park, DPR’s sponsorship of the university’s apprenticeship program is just one of the ways we aim to support a sustainable, skilled workforce. Watch the video to learn more.