Labor Day: Giving Thanks to Our Craft

DPR is a company of builders. Each day, we roll up our sleeves and get to the work of delivering technically complex projects. It takes a variety of team members with distinct roles to build a great project, from planning and preconstruction to substantial completion. DPR would not be able to achieve truly great results without each and every team member, but our projects become a reality because of the hard work of craft workers: thousands of DPR self-perform team members and countless trade subcontractors.

This Labor Day, we’d like to thank our craft team members and recognize their contributions by asking a few of them what they’re proud of and why they boot up to build for DPR.

Learning and Applying a New Method, Together

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Teodulo Ramirez, Drywall Foreman. Courtesy of Matt Pranzo

Just outside Washington, DC, a group of drywall foremen was tasked with deploying a wall system that was new to them. The interior of the 45,000-sq.-ft. ground-up medical facility called for the use of a prefabricated, modular wall system known as DIRTT (Doing It Right This Time) walls that ultimately shaved time off the schedule and enhanced the project budget.

Teodulo Ramirez, Drywall Foreman: DPR sent us to Phoenix two times for training on this system, and then we came to this job to apply what we learned. All of the material came in on trucks, and we worked together to come up with a schedule to align delivery with the install. It was a challenge, but we did it. When you build something from beginning to end, you say, “Oh, my goodness. I made this!” It makes you feel good that you created something.

Continuous Improvement

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Harley Manning, Drywall Foreman. Courtesy of Skyler Herring

In Nashville, DPR recently completed work on the city’s first large-scale mass timber structure, the Nashville Warehouse Company. A 5.2-acre brownfield development, the project includes 200,000-sq.-ft. of office space, an outdoor music venue, a 540-car parking garage, and incorporates such iconic elements as a guitar-shaped scoreboard that was originally used by local minor league baseball team, the Nashville Sounds.

Harley Manning, Drywall Foreman: What am I most proud of? I would have to say just moving up the ladder, becoming a better employee, becoming a better foreman. I’m really happy about the progress I’ve made. On the Nashville Warehouse, I learned a lot about safety. I’ve always been an interior guy, so I had never dealt with such large-scale exterior work like I did on that job. I learned a lot about exterior safety—with boom lifts, tie-offs and larger machinery.

Sharing Knowledge Within DPR

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Juan Salazar, Drywall Superintendent. Courtesy of Tyler Wilson

One of the strengths of being a self-performing general contractor with offices from the West Coast to the East is the ability to share knowledge not only with other team members on a single project but also cross regionally amongst different teams.

Juan Salazar, Drywall Superintendent: Here in Texas, we do drywall, framing, ceiling grid, aluminum door frames, hardware, and a lot of acoustical ceilings. We do a lot of training classes at our OES Warehouse—from teaching crew members how to build a wall to how to read and interpret blueprints. One of my goals is to teach people. When you do that, you feel good. Whenever you see people succeed and do great things, you think to yourself, “I played a part in that.”

Mentoring the Next Generation

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Carlos Moreno, General Superintendent. Courtesy of Matt Pranzo

One benefit of being a self-performing general contractor with a large team of craftspeople in various stages of their career is that there is always a teacher available to help others learn new skills. This is true in all DPR regions, not the least of which is the Southwest.

Carlos Moreno, General Superintendent: I love working with people who have the passion to develop their careers. One thing that makes me proud is knowing I can help my team members achieve their career goals. I love the opportunity to contribute my experience and to be a mentor to the next generation of workers. I also enjoy building things—using my hands to create things. That makes me feel proud of what I do!

Overcoming Challenges Together

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David Frazier, Carpenter Foreman. Courtesy of Mirian Martinez

In Northern California, an SPW team has been hard at work on a ground-up campus redevelopment project for an Advanced Technology client. The project includes various SPW scopes, but one carpenter foreman points to overcoming challenges together with his team members as the highlight.

David Frazier, Carpenter Foreman: I like dealing with challenges that are usually unknown and are good challenges. Something I want people to know about the craft is that it’s a great challenge physically and mentally, and you get to work with some really good people, whether it be the DPR team or our trade partners.