September 2, 2018
In honor of Labor Day, DPR Construction is launching a new blog series, Builders at our Core, dedicated to sharing stories of DPR’s self-perform work teams. These builders are successfully executing complex, technical projects for some of the world’s most progressive and admired companies.
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.
The Builders at our Core series kicks off with the story of Jesus, Ruben and Isidro Guzman, three brothers who started their careers at DPR as carpenters in Reston, VA. Over the course of nearly a decade, all three have grown and developed their careers at DPR:
- Jesus, the youngest of the Guzmans, was the first of his brothers to join DPR as a carpenter in 2008 and has since been promoted to general foreman. After hearing about DPR’s unique culture, his brothers came on board as well.
- Ruben joined DPR as a carpenter in 2009, and went on to become a foreman, general foreman, assistant superintendent and is now a superintendent. He has also worked his way into estimating, and shares estimating duties 50/50 with another teammate in DPR’s Reston office.
- Isidro, who prior to DPR began his career as a carpenter at age 15, joined DPR in 2010 and has since been promoted to foreman and assistant superintendent.
The Guzmans recently shared their passion, expertise and advice for the next generation of builders with us:
Q: What do you love about construction?
Ruben: It’s never the same; every day is something different. You are never finished learning. You keep yourself busy all the time. I fell into becoming a carpenter, but I found out it was actually what I wanted to do. When I came to DPR, I saw that DPR operates differently than more traditional general contractors. I really liked that, and it was one of the things that drove me to put more effort into what I did.
Isidro: I started in construction when I was young. I didn’t have the opportunity to go to college; everybody has a different path. I like everything about construction: putting work together and working around people, as well as managing teams and empowering them to do good work.
Jesus: The big responsibility. Sometimes people don’t see it like that, but I like to have responsibilities and do my work the best that I can.
Q: To be successful in your role, what skills does a person need?
Ruben: In my case, it helps me a lot to come from the field, knowing how to build things. You can see the drawings, imagine people building it and know what it takes.
Isidro: It’s important that people have experience on the actual job that they’re doing. If you have experience doing things with your hands, that makes everything easier. It’s important to prepare yourself with trainings, and do as much as you can to be successful.
Jesus: A person needs to be open-minded to learning about all kinds of work, and be able to build good relationships with all the trades.
Q: What’s your proudest moment at DPR?
Jesus: At the holiday party in 2015, I was one of ten people, including my brother Ruben, recognized for safety. I completed 10,000 work hours without any incidents. People who work at DPR do good work, and DPR takes care of them.
Ruben: It was the first year DPR did these awards in Reston, VA. It makes people proud to be one of the few recognized for the 10,000 incident-free hours.
Isidro: The most important thing when you are a leader is to get better at it. It’s not easy, and it’s a lot of responsibility. You might have 100 people onsite, working around the clock, and you are responsible for the safety of every person. You are responsible for making sure they go home to their families at the end of the day. That’s the reason I am proud of getting the job done on time and without injuries.
Q: What would your advice be for the next generation of builders entering the field?
Ruben: Never give up. Don’t believe that because you are a laborer or a carpenter, you can’t become a project engineer or superintendent. As long as you have goals, and you study, it’s possible for everybody. If you need a tool to learn, people will always help you at DPR.
Isidro: Don’t be complacent; always try to learn new things. Carpenters, think about being foremen; foremen, think about being general foremen. It’s possible. Think about it, and work hard to get it. There are a ton of possibilities.