What's the Word: Inclusion
This article is included in the Great Things: Issue 10 edition of the DPR Newsletter.
Construction Inclusion Week (CIW) is recognized in October. CIW harnesses the collective power of general contractors, specialty contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers. The objective is to build awareness for the need to improve diversity and inclusion in the construction industry. What that really means is we are recognizing a challenge: the lack of diversity and inclusion in the construction industry. And, together with others in the industry, we are aiming to solve it. Approximately 5,000 firms participated in 2023, showing how important inclusion is to many organizations in the industry.
The goal we have during CIW is present year-round. It is felt in DPR’s central beliefs: Respect for the Individual and Change the World. CIW is designed to renew our commitment. It’s a chance to strengthen a sense of belonging and build a stronger culture of inclusivity.
Initially launched in 2021 as an industry-wide awareness initiative, CIW is now an established 501(c)(6) organization. Hear from some of DPR’s team members about inclusivity as we celebrate the third annual week.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
DPR is a home for everyone. Our vision is a workforce that reflects the rich diversity in the communities in which we live, work, serve, and build.
Why is inclusion important? What does it mean to you? How do you practice it?
“The construction industry is 100% a team effort. When our teams accept and include a diverse mix of people, backgrounds, and perspectives it widens our lens and leads to new ideas and solutions. Inclusion within our teams also allows our people to be confident in themselves which generally leads to a better functioning and more satisfied team.”
- Emily Covey
“Part of what makes us different organizationally is the ability to consistently prioritize what is right ahead of who is right. Diversity of thought and input, beyond just improving the quality of our dialogue and decisions, is vital to our ability to recognize what is right, validated and informed by a bunch of different perspectives. Without diversity, we can’t credibly keep our commitment to be an organization driven by principle rather than hierarchy, and our partners and customers would experience DPR in a much more limited and incomplete way.”
- Jay Stoda
“I would ask that we start by taking 100,000-foot view and say that inclusion is critical to humanity. First, it is a part of the human condition to know that who we are and what we do matters, that the people around us care for us, that we're a part of something bigger than ourselves.
I would argue that inclusion isn't just critical for the industry—it's an imperative for the human condition and being a part of humanity. I would say, unfortunately, we know all too well the suicide rates in the construction industry. We can foster cultures of inclusion and belonging, where people have that sense of who they are and that what they do matters, where we are encouraging, empowering and engaging in positive mental, psychological, emotional, and physical health and well-being, all to help mitigate and reduce those tragic statistics.
It's important to be in an environment where we feel like we can speak up if we need something, and if we see someone who may be in need, we're willing to offer a helping hand. There is also a pragmatic reason for inclusion in the industry. We currently have, and project into the future, a workforce shortage for both skilled and unskilled labor. It's a highly competitive worker marketplace. Cultivating an industry that fosters inclusion and belonging pulls people in. It allows us to tap into unlimited talent pools and talent potential. So by creating an environment where people feel included and as though they belong and that what they do and who they are matters, means we will attract the best talent, and that talent will want to stay both within our organization and within the industry.”
- Stacee Barkley
“To me, being inclusive means doing my part to ensure people around me feel safe – physically, and most importantly, psychologically. To practice inclusivity, at any gathering, I look around the room and if I get the sense that somebody is new or doesn’t know anybody or feels uncomfortable, I reach out and have a conversation and make sure they feel welcome and make sure they feel like they belong.”
“Our industry hasn’t historically been known for being an inviting and inclusive environment where all people can reach their full potential. I’ve seen that change over my career, but we must continue to make changes to attract the leaders of tomorrow. Inclusion drives better decisions and better outcomes. We need to come together and make use of our collective journeys in order to create a future where all people can thrive.”
- Jody Quinton
“If you don’t have inclusion, you lose the opportunity to catch a great idea, to get something that is from a perspective of someone who is perhaps underserved. Maybe they've just not had the opportunity to maybe speak up, but they might be that one person that has the great idea.
I think about the way we plan and the way we put things together, and it's almost like a puzzle. And in the past, we've been successful and that's likely because the puzzle was complete enough to get the job done, but not complete in the sense that we've could have performed even better. If we want to perform our best, we need inclusion. If we want to perform and go ever forward, we need to look at diverse thoughts, diverse folks, and get their perspective. That will create a culture, a community and a product that is really world class.”
- Jose Garza
“Working in an inclusive environment allows you to be your most authentic self no matter the differences between you and others. When someone can be their authentic self, they feel more comfortable speaking up and expressing their unique point of view. It leads to enhanced communication and better outcomes for all. This not only benefits the individuals, but will also make DPR a more dynamic, innovative, and ultimately more successful organization.”
- Ryan Romanchuk
“To me, being inclusive means having respect for individuals, forming genuine relationships and welcoming different points of views to be expressed regardless of whether you agree. One thing I do to practice inclusivity is to be my true, authentic self!”
“To me, being inclusive means making people feel comfortable to be themselves; that their presence, ideas and perspectives have value, and they want to share them. One thing I do to practice inclusivity is continue to expose myself to new perspectives and different cultures. By doing this, I make fewer assumptions about people and become curious about them. Differences between people are something I learn from — I don’t view them as barriers. What makes life interesting is that we’re not all the same, but we all have things in common. Recognizing this fact is the basis for being inclusive.”
“To me, being inclusive means being a family. As a member of an amazing household where I feel welcomed, there is nothing better than knowing you can go back and feel like home. Unswayed by any view or thought of the presence of differences, abstracts, or changes. It is always being home.
I don't really acknowledge when I practice inclusivity. I welcome everybody into my life as long as their qualities are that of an honest person.
My dad always spoke of his line of work at home, and even though he came back exhausted, never once has he said he regretted his decision of pursuing construction. I strive to be as proud of my job as my dad has shown himself to be.
The jobsite culture was so much greater than I expected. Everybody was as social as I've experienced before, the company events are always a must, and the spirit and energy are unmatched!”
“To me, being inclusive means respecting all individuals, whoever they are, whatever their story is. We are all here striving to make this world a better place, and the more we can listen to each of our authentic stories, the more we realize, that in the end, there is MUCH more in common with us than not. One thing I do to practice inclusivity is to actively talk about it: talk about the impact that inclusion would have on the people we see every day, talk about the challenges that a lack of inclusion creates, and talk about how we each feel as individuals when we feel seen and heard.”
It can be as simple as asking someone their name and how they are doing.
Listen to a different perspective. You don’t have to change your views, but listen respectfully and engage in open dialogue.
Recognize your biases and take steps to mitigate them. We all have biases – it’s recognizing them and working to mitigate them that becomes critically important.
Posted on October 17, 2023
Last Updated January 12, 2024