Celebrating and Reflecting on the Inaugural Construction Inclusion Week

This article is included in the Great Things: Issue 6 edition of the DPR Newsletter.

A DPR employee poses in front of a banner written in multiple languages for Construction Inclusion Week.
DPR, along with five leading contractors, participated in the inaugural Construction Inclusion Week, which included awareness activities and events across the company. Courtesy of Axel Favillier

A variety of activities from offices to project sites marked DPR Construction’s participation in the inaugural Construction Inclusion Week. Conceived by a consortium of six leading contractors in the industry—Gilbane, Turner Construction, Mortenson, McCarthy, Clark Construction Group and DPR—Construction Inclusion Week strives to be an annual event that builds awareness and improves diversity and inclusion in the construction industry through the collective influence of general contractors, specialty contractors, subcontractors and suppliers.

Participating firms held activities throughout the week, and the consortium developed a suite of resources that could be used by anyone, including builders, their families and their children. Each day was dedicated to a specific theme to lead conversations and promote building a safe and more inclusive workplace.

  • Day 1: Leadership Commitment & Accountability
  • Day 2: Unconscious Bias
  • Day 3: Supplier Diversity
  • Day 4: Jobsite Culture
  • Day 5: Community Engagement & Outreach

“While we’re focused on these five days, these concepts should be applied year-round,” said Cari Williams, who leads Global Social Responsibility for DPR. “We want to engage deeply in conversations this week. We would like everyone to make inclusion a part of each and every day.”

Trade workers in safety vests and hardhats write short notes and post them to a hallway wall.
Key stakeholders and trade partners at a project site in Germany leave notes about what an inclusive environment means to them. Courtesy of Leena Rojas

Across DPR, project teams held roundtable events, collected feedback from partners and shared stories about how the construction industry can be more inclusive on company, team, project and individual levels. DPR hosted daily webinars for employees, featuring subject-matter experts from across the company and focusing on each of the five themes of the week, as well as provided Toolbox Talks on how to build and lead a culture of care, dismantling microaggressions, the values of supplier diversity and more. An important aspect of the week was prioritizing mental health and psychological safety in addition to physical health of construction workers, a topic that is increasingly being addressed across the industry.

Among the local and team events were activities such as:

  • A roundtable discussion held by the team from the Wolfson Children’s Hospital in Jacksonville, FL, to talk about listening and empowering all team members to have a voice in the project’s development.
  • Collecting feedback from key stakeholders of a DPR project in Frankfurt, Germany. The team engaged with trade organizations about leadership and partnership, and asked trade operators, who come from all over the world, to describe in their native language what inclusivity means to them and what DPR can do to continue creating an inclusive environment for diverse work crews.
  • A “viewing party” for San Diego team members to watch the Leadership Commitment & Accountability webinar, followed by an open group discussion about the topic.
DPR employees gather at long tables to watch a webinar on screen.
Team members from DPR's San Diego office came together to watch the Leadership Commitment & Accountability webinar. Courtesy of Matt Pranzo

DPR took its role as co-chair of the inaugural Construction Inclusion Week to heart and encourages teams across the world to step up for each other as leaders, partners and colleagues. Next year, DPR will take its turn as chair of the 2022 Construction Inclusion Week.

“Leaders create environments, and to really be inclusive, you have to have leadership that promotes an inclusive environment,” said George Pfeffer of DPR’s Management Committee. “We are all leaders at different times. So, we all have to be able to create and model behaviors, use language and create interactions that promote inclusivity.”