Community Initiatives Spotlight Series: Erin Knight
DPR Construction’s Community Initiatives (CI) efforts to support organizations with a focus on “building possibilities for the under-resourced,” are driven by a group of DPR employees – DPR’s CI Champions – who volunteer to execute these programs, such as event coordination, fundraising, offering operational guidance, youth programming, and acting as a liaison between DPR and its nonprofit partners.
The CI Spotlight Series focuses on these individuals.
For as long as she can remember, Erin Knight, a DPR people practices project manager, has always been passionate about serving her community, especially local youth. As a CI Champion, Erin focuses her efforts on building a strong relationship with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Tampa Bay
Q: Who or what inspired you to take on the role of becoming a CI Champion?
When I first began working with DPR five years ago, I was excited to have an opportunity to work for a company like this. I made a conscious effort to learn what it meant to be a part of DPR, so I grabbed on to every opportunity that presented itself. With that came the discussion around community service, which has always been a huge passion for me, especially anything that specifically involves supporting our youth. My background as a YMCA sports director, dedicating so much of my time to running and creating youth sports programs and summer camp programs, contributed to this as well.
These interests all met hand in hand when I joined DPR, so I made it a point to lean in and support wherever I could. Then Dave Elrod, our Southeast business unit leader, asked if I would step into the role of CI Champion, and I have been supporting our community initiatives efforts ever since.
Q: Share a time when you felt proud to champion a DPR community partner.
A few years back, DPR collaborated with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Tampa Bay to renovate their Belmont Heights Club. The project was executed by our self-perform workers and included a full demolition and build-out of an old, non-reusable locker room to update and expand the Club’s existing facility.
Little did we know this project would become a three-year endeavor due to some unforeseen circumstances, but we still managed to complete the renovation itself within 80 days. As the project progressed, the logistical changes imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic increased the significance of DPR’s facility updates. It was incredible to see firsthand how our SPW team helped the club gain 2,200-sq.-ft. back that had become dead space for almost 15 years. This renovation allowed the Club to have adequate room for the local step/dance team to practice in, in addition to hosting essential after-school and summer programs.
With so much pandemic uncertainty and the Club operating at minimal capacity, it was a proud moment for me to see the Club members react to the work DPR put in for them to enjoy for years to come.
Q: Which community initiatives event made a lasting impression on you?
This happened recently during our 2021 Service September event with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Tampa Bay’s Dover Club. For this project, we gave their landscaping a refresh and installed a basketball hoop. On top of that, we also brought the students new kickballs, volleyballs, basketballs and other sports equipment to play outdoor games.
While you’re in the process of working on these facility updates, you know you’re doing something the kids will enjoy and benefit from but seeing the look on their faces when they get to see it all for the first time is very special. By the time we finished this CI event, students had arrived at the Club for afterschool programs and were so excited to see what we brought them. It was a humbling feeling to see those massive smiles and know how grateful the kids were for the smallest things.
This experience reminded me that we don’t need to move mountains to show we care, but ultimately energized me knowing that we play a role in supporting our communities.
Q: What does it mean to be a CI Champion for DPR?
Being a CI Champion is a role I take very seriously, but it’s also something I am so honored to be a part of. I feel inspired by the dedication we receive from our business units because we all have busy lives, yet still find the time to make a positive impact on the organizations we serve. Working for a company that appreciates all the effort we put in with our community partners is amazing, so I try my best to encompass and embody that energy to support our youth in the Tampa Bay area as best as possible.
While leading these community initiatives efforts, I want folks to think back to their youth and remember what it was like to have someone to look up to and support them. Regardless of the field, whether it be through sports, the arts, academia, etc., I hope that by reaching out a helping hand, the youth we support feel inspired to keep pursuing their goals.
Posted on March 11, 2022
Last Updated August 23, 2022