August 7, 2019

At two European events, DPR leads the way on hot topics

While DPR Construction has project work under way in several European markets – Great Britain, the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland – DPR’s professionals took center stage in Dublin and Paris as part of two global thought leadership events, both focused on the future of project delivery.

“As much as we’re trying to showcase what DPR can do in our European target geographies, many of the topics we discussed apply throughout the world,” said DPR’s Europe Lead Damian Farr. “Wherever a customer works with DPR in the world, we want them to know our approach is aligned and focused on delivering great results.”

A session takes place at the IGLC Conference in Dublin.
Attendees heard from thought leaders in a variety of settings at the IGLC conference. Photo courtesy of DPR Construction

Lean Without Borders

At the International Group for Lean Construction (IGLC) Annual Conference in Dublin, DPR was hard to miss, with several speakers, paper submissions and attendees from around the globe.

“It really showcased that DPR’s depth of Lean knowledge knows no borders,” said Chris Dierks, one of DPR’s Lean leaders. “Customers everywhere are looking to bring projects online faster and that requires letting go of a lot of long-held ways of working. At IGLC, we really helped show how a customer can take advantage of emerging delivery methods, and coupling those with a Lean mindset.”

DPR's Atul Khanzode presents at IGLC.
DPR's Atul Khanzode presents at IGLC. Photo courtesy of DPR Construction

That approach was kicked off by DPR’s Atul Khanzode, Dean Reed and Leonardo Rischmoller, who presented the Simple Framework for Integrated Project Delivery. Concurrently, DPR’s Paz Arroyo teamed with Annett Schöttle, a Lean expert from German consultancy Refine Projects AG, for a workshop on Choosing by Advantages.

Teams also led sessions focused on their abstract topics. Anthony Munoz, Jean Laurent and Dierks presented DPR’s Team Health Assessment, a tool that used to better identify and provide measurement to otherwise unquantifiable indices of a project’s performance.

“Traditional measures of Lean Construction can sometimes fail to represent or provide insightful commentary to the lengths they measure,” Dierks said. “The satisfaction of every member of the team can greatly affect outcomes and true Lean project success requires taking this into account, otherwise, there will be erosion of the benefits of Lean approaches. Diving deep into understanding the health of the team is critical to the success of any project; that's why we feel so strongly about doing an Assessment each month to figure out what do we need to improve and how can we support each other better in making that happen throughout the next month.”

DPR's Paz Arroyo and Lean expert Annett Schöttle present at IGLC.
DPR's Paz Arroyo and Lean expert Annett Schöttle led a workshop on Choosing by Advantages. Photo courtesy of DPR Construction

Calling “caca” in Paris

While the IGLC conference focused on the processes of construction, BuiltWorlds’ Summit Paris looked closely at the tools themselves changing the construction landscape. Of course, DPR had quite a bit to say about how technology is affecting construction.

Peter Schneider, from DPR’s Amsterdam team, shared some provocative opinions on a panel that addressed the slow adoption of technology in our industry.

“We have to address the tension that exists between the desire to increase productivity and efficiency and what customers are really willing to invest in to disrupt the industry,” Schneider said. “As much as contractors are in a ‘space race’ to differentiate themselves with the newest things, we have to find common goals or else existing ways of working won’t change.”

Schneider also suggested that our industry is too quick to implement a new piece of technology when more testing is needed.

“If our industry doesn’t take the time to set expectations when projects test products under development, it’s likely that those tools become burdens. If that happens too many times, the brand around “technology” goes down. When we launch a tool without an integrated training and education platform, we’re setting it up to fail. From there, what needs to happen for it to recover?” He noted.

DPR's Damian Farr leads a discussion at BuiltWorlds.
DPR's Damian Farr offered some "real talk" at the BuiltWorld Paris conference. Photo courtesy of DPR Construction

Meanwhile, DPR’s Farr sat on a panel that expressed similar themes while projecting the future state of construction.

“There’s certainly a trend of contractors bringing design expertise in-house to improve control of their own processes and architects aiming to bring in construction talent,” Farr said. “In reality, those folks will enhance integrated delivery but it’s unlikely this approach will replace the role of the other partner.”

Similarly, there is a narrative that contractors will become more and more vertically integrated, essentially becoming a one-stop shop for all facets of project delivery. Farr is skeptical.

“Customers are always going to want to maintain some competition, at least until true integration and real trust is the norm. They know it benefits their price,” Farr said. “Each project is different enough to be considered more than widgets that can be screwed together, and we are analyzing where significant elements of our core market work is consistent enough, across all projects for us to procure and produce those pieces in an integrated manner and even where a customer has insisted upon some form of market testing.”

August 1, 2019

Builders at our Core: Chad Urroz

Self-Perform Concrete Superintendent Chad Urroz points to hard work, integrity and dependability as the basis for DPR's success. Photo courtesy of Matt Pranzo

For Chad Urroz, a self-perform concrete superintendent based in Southern California, the recipe for DPR’s continued success calls for two main ingredients: hard work and a solid reputation. “DPR can’t do it without the folks in the field… we really owe it all the guys out there making it happen day in and day out. That’s where the hard work gets done,” says Urroz. This hard work is mixed in with integrity and dependability to create a reputation for quality that continues to be recognized in the industry and has helped make DPR one of the top 10 general contractors in the nation.

Q: What is your role at DPR and describe the path you took to get there?

Urroz: I’ve been a superintendent for SPW Concrete with DPR since January of 2018. I started in concrete in 1998. My uncle and his neighbor were in the concrete business, so I started doing side jobs with them, and the rest is history. I like concrete because it doesn’t go away. There’s gratification that comes from knowing what you build will be there for a long time.

Q: What’s your favorite thing to build/type of project to work on?

Urroz: I would say projects that are unique. I couldn’t imagine myself doing the same old, same old every day. I like doing a variety of projects, getting to change every nine months or so. Like this job, it’s more of a steel structure overall, but we’re doing the foundations, concrete slabs and floors throughout. One of the buildings has concrete walls and elevator cores. It’s always a little different from job to job.

Urroz finds fulfillment in creating structures that will stand the test of time. Photo courtesy of Matt Pranzo

Q: What’s the most technical thing you’ve worked on?

Urroz: We did a client’s corporate headquarters, a nice architectural project, in Pasadena. It was a cast-in-place building for one of DPR’s long-time clients. Since it was their corporate headquarters, it was really a showroom for them, with high-end finishes and architectural details. I was really impressed at the level of trust DPR had in me to be a lead on such an important job. They just said, “Take this and run with it.” So I did.

Q: What do you love about construction/your job?

Urroz: It’s the fulfillment I get from showing up to a dirt lot and then walking away having built a structure that you know is going to be there for a long time. I can drive through downtown LA and point out several projects that I got off the ground. There’s fulfillment in it that I don’t think many people get.

Reputation is very important to Urroz, and he works hard to gain the respect of everyone he works with. Photo courtesy of Matt Pranzo

Q: How have you grown since you started here?

Urroz: The culture here is so different from anywhere I’ve been. People get treated so well here. Believe it or not, that actually took a lot of getting used to.

Q: Over the course of your career, what is the most important thing you have learned?

Urroz: The first thing that comes to my mind is patience. It takes a lot of patience to do what we do, but you also have to be pretty quick on your feet to solve problems. If a pump breaks down and you have 20 guys on deck trying to pour and finish concrete, you have to come up with a solution quickly to figure out how to salvage that pour. You make a call and stand by it. I’m responsible for anywhere from 25 to 100 guys. You can’t command the respect of 100 guys; you have to earn it. That’s another thing I’ve learned. You have to earn respect from everyone you work with.

Urroz says collaboration and quick problem-solving skills help him overcome the challenges that inevitably come his way. Photo courtesy of Matt Pranzo

Q: What’s the most challenging part of your job?

Urroz: The biggest challenges are always schedule and budget. We always strive to meet the customer’s schedule. There are unseen things that can delay a job, so you have to get really creative to make up any lost time. To come up with a solution, we run a bunch of schedules—different scenarios, different plays. There’s a lot of collaboration with our full-time schedulers, who are really good at what they do.

Q: What would your advice be for the next generation of builders entering this field?

Urroz: Your reputation is everything. You have to have integrity. It’s the only way to build a good reputation. I’ve been in this industry for 21 years. I went through all the recessions without a single day off work. My reputation is what got me there.

Says Urroz, “DPR can’t do it without the guys in the field. That's where the hard work gets done." Photo courtesy of Matt Pranzo

My son, Seth, is an apprentice carpenter at DPR. I never knew I wanted him to follow in my footsteps, but I was pretty proud when he did. One of our business leaders brought his three-year-old grandson out here a month ago on a really quiet Friday. Just to see that little guy—he was so excited—it reminded me of taking my son to work with me when he was about that age. Those kids love that stuff.

With the younger generation, everybody needs to figure out that in your career, reputation is everything. Dependability, honesty, reliability, hard work—everything is wrapped up in that one thing. All that goes into reputation.

July 17, 2019

New Workday Headquarters Opens in Pleasanton, California

Fast-growing enterprise software company Workday, Inc. celebrated the completion of its new 410,000-sq.-ft., corporate headquarters in Pleasanton, California this spring. Leaders from the City of Pleasanton, Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), Workday, and the DPR-led project team were among those who gathered for the May 13 ribbon-cutting ceremony, marking the official opening of the innovative, transit-friendly project that has been hailed as a state-of-the-art building.

The new Workday headquarters in Pleasanton, California.
The new Workday HQ connects employees to the community. Photo courtesy of Workday

Located just steps from the West Dublin/Pleasanton BART station, the architecturally striking, six-story structure ranks as the tallest office building in Pleasanton. It will house some 2,200 Workday employees by August, mostly from the company’s product and technology team. A focal point of Workday’s 10-building Pleasanton campus, it also houses a new 16,000-sq.-ft. Workday Customer Center slated to open later this summer.

Workday leadership and community members cut the ribbon for the building.
Local officials joined Workday leadership and the project team to cut the ribbon. Photo courtesy of Workday

Local Partnerships Aid Development

From the outset, Workday was committed to creating a transit-oriented development that would attract potential employees from around the Bay Area, including San Francisco and Oakland. The company forged strong ties with BART and the City of Pleasanton to develop a project that benefited both the local community and Workday employees.

A green space walkway, featuring native California plants, connects the BART station with the new headquarters building. Similar pathways connect the headquarters building with existing buildings on the company’s Pleasanton campus.

Workday Co-Founder and CEO Aneel Bhusri hailed the “strong partnerships” between Workday and the City of Pleasanton and BART during an address at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. “We’ve created a place that is an extension of our culture and brand, one that is built for continued innovation and one that reflects how our employees want to work and build products for the future,” he said.

“Workday had a very specific vision for this project and we worked to ensure we were aligned throughout the project,” said DPR’s Karri Sieler, a senior project manager. “It was a great example of how the things we build – and how we meet expectations for a project – are core to our customers’ businesses.”

One interior area of the new Workday HQ.
A variety of interior environments are designed to support employees. Photo courtesy of Workday

Core Values on Display

Designed by Gensler Architects, the new headquarters building draws inspiration from Workday’s core values of innovation, and fun in support of the company’s number one asset -- its employees. It provides an ideal environment for software development with plenty of open spaces, entire walls made of whiteboards, new high-tech tools like video walls and digital whiteboards, and four great rooms that provide comfortable spaces for large groups to gather.

Numerous other amenities support the fun, collaborative environment, including:

  • An open-air amphitheater with seating for 1,500 people along with a large grassy area suitable for outdoor games;
  • A “Data Diner” café complete with a 12,000-pound pizza oven and an “XpressO” coffee bar;
  • Two spacious second floor balconies that allow employees to enjoy fresh air while they work;
  • Wellness rooms with treadmills, amenity rooms for therapeutic services, showers and lockers;
  • Large game rooms on each floor;
  • Two dog runs where employees of the pet-friendly company can bring their dogs to run around and play throughout the day.

The building incorporates a highly sustainable design that is targeting LEED® Platinum certification. Among the green features: a large 865-kw solar array that provides up to one-third of the building’s electricity, an innovative onsite greywater recycling system designed to save up to 720,000 gallons of water each year, and a “cool roof” to mitigate the urban heat island effect.

Interior of the new Workday HQ
DPR self perform work crews performed a signficant portion of the project, including concrete visible throughout the project. Photo courtesy of Workday

DPR Sets Self-Perform Concrete Record

Constructed as a fully cast-in-place concrete structure, Workday tapped DPR’s self-perform concrete skills early in the building of its new headquarters. To support the 3-ft-thick concrete core walls that rise seven stories to the roof, the DPR team needed to build a thick mat foundation – leading to DPR’s largest self-performed concrete pour in company history. Over the course of 12 hours in May 2017, workers poured 4,800 cubic yards of concrete, which was reinforced with 1.2 million pounds of rebar.

The team poured as many as 500 cubic yards of concrete per hour – ultimately pouring enough concrete to fill one-and-a-half Olympic size swimming pools, or 3.7 million 2-liter bottles of soda.

Self-performing that structural concrete portion of the job enabled DPR to set the tone and pace for the job, and to keep a firm handle on quality control.

From planning and partnering to construction completion, the end result is a building that has garnered accolades on several fronts, including from Workday Co-President and CFO Robynne Sisco. “We’re extremely grateful to the City of Pleasanton and BART for their partnership,” she commented. “It’s because of their partnership in addition to our work with the building’s general contractor, DPR Construction, the architect and designer, Gensler, and literally hundreds of additional vendors that we’ve been able to make our beautiful new headquarters a reality.”

July 8, 2019

Transforming a Desert Landscape

Under the Arizona sun, DPR, along with leaders from Arizona State University (ASU), Mayo Clinic and the community came together with shovels to break ground on ASU’s new Health Futures Center (HFC). The greenfield project is positioned to be an anchor for cutting-edge health science work that will in turn change how the healthcare industry is perceived in Phoenix.

Groundbreaking
DPR Construction joined Arizona State University, leaders from Mayo Clinic and community leaders to celebrate the groundbreaking.

With a 20-year relationship with ASU, DPR was chosen to create yet another project and a new set of experiences with the ASU team. HFC will be a 150,000-sq.-ft., three-story ground up medical learning facility, adjacent to Mayo Clinic’s campus in North Phoenix.

The new facility will provide the surrounding communities with new technologies that will accelerate med-tech innovation. The center will be an integrated point between Mayo Clinic and ASU Alliance for Health Care with the goal of transforming medical education and healthcare in the U.S.

The new facility will provide the surrounding communities with new technology including a med-tech innovation accelerator, biomedical engineering and informatics research labs, and an education zone. Photo courtesy of CO Architects

"It's a great opportunity to be working side by side with two industry leaders to deliver a world-class research facility," said DPR's Casey Helburg, who is serving as project manager. "The new center will transform the medical education field, advance patient care and improve the lives of future generations. It's exciting for not only me personally, but all of us at DPR."

Determined to deliver, DPR’s Cassie Robertson, preconstruction, and Shashi Sriram, estimator, collaborated with the design team from CO Architects and DFDG Architecture. The team leveraged the vast estimating experience and precision to identify where the budget is being allocated at any given stage of design.

The late April 2019 groundbreaking event brought together Mayor of Phoenix Kate Gallego, President and CEO of Mayo Clinic Gianrico Farrugia, and ASU President Michael Crow. They all shared their stories to paint a picture of what the HFC building will stand for: To provide a collaborative environment for the future of Arizona’s healthcare industry.

HFC will be a 150,000-square-foot, three-story ground up medical learning facility adjacent to the Mayo Clinic. Photo courtesy of CO Architects

For DPR, the event inaugurated not only the first step in the physical build out of the building, but also a moment to reminisce on the months of preconstruction planning and collaboration to produce a project grounded in a shared vision to make a difference. Construction is expected to be complete in October 2020.

Community leaders joined representatives of the owner, design and construction teams for the April 2019 groundbreaking ceremony.

June 28, 2019

Builders at our Core: Fedor Carrillo

For Drywall Foreman Fedor Carrillo, a job isn’t worth doing unless it’s done right and exceeds customer expectations. Photo courtesy of Matt Pranzo

“Fedor Carrillo was one of first people in DPR’s Raleigh-Durham location. He really helped build that office,” says DPR Superintendent Bruce Worcester. “He’s very demanding because he wants things done the right way. He’s excellent quality control on a project.” Worcester underscores a significant benefit that DPR’s self-perform workforce delivers: better quality control on DPR’s projects. To Carrillo, a drywall foreman, a job isn’t worth doing unless it’s done right and exceeds customer expectations. In this way, he embodies DPR’s drive to be a truly great builder.

Q: How did you come to work at DPR?

Carrillo: I started at DPR in November of 2007. I had been working for another construction company and had just finished a project when a friend told me DPR was looking for people. I started here as a carpenter, and after a couple years they gave me the opportunity to become a foreman and gave me a lot of training to move into that.

Before that, in 1999, I had to leave El Salvador because it was dangerous. The government was unstable. I lost my family and was on my own at 13, stocking soda on shelves to earn money, then driving a truck and a city bus. When I came to America, I worked hard to become successful here, and I felt so thankful to have a company like DPR see my hard work and give me more opportunity. I try to let younger people see that if you work hard and do the right thing, it will open doors. I try to set a standard for the younger people.

Q: What is the most challenging thing you’ve work on?

Carrillo: Right now, we’re finishing up a day care center located inside a client’s campus—we renovated one of the buildings for the employees. The building was occupied while we worked, so that was the big challenge, but we tried to disrupt them as little as possible. We put up temporary walls to separate us from their employees during the day. Many times, we worked at night so the noise wouldn’t bother them. We did a lot of pre-task planning and communicating with the customer here.

Carrillo makes the most of every learning opportunity offered at DPR, and he passes on his knowledge by training others. Photo courtesy of Matt Pranzo

Q: What do you love about your job?

Carrillo: I love this company. It’s not like any other one I’ve worked with. Every day I learn something. When I don’t understand something, my bosses help me and give me training. People are willing to be patient and go through everything with you—new technology, iPads, types of drawings. And when I understand it, I train others because it’s important to me that everyone does things right.

Q: How have you grown since you started here?

Carrillo: DPR trusted me with responsibility and let me rise to the challenge. They had confidence in me, and that made me feel like I could do the job. The responsibilities they gave me built my confidence in myself. It made me want to learn more and do a good job, always learning more, becoming better, and taking on more responsibility.

Carrillo attributes his success to the view that "it's not just about building a better building; it's about building myself to be better." Photo courtesy of Matt Pranzo

Q: What is the most important thing you have learned over the course of your career?

Carrillo: To do a good job and to do the right thing. DPR helps me feel successful because it’s not just about building a better building; it’s about building myself to be better. I’ve been able to advance because they trust me to do the right thing.

Q: What’s the most challenging part of your job?

Carrillo: For me, the most challenging thing at first was that I felt like my English wasn’t very good. I wasn’t confident communicating with people. But DPR helped me with that. They gave me training, and there has never been a problem with my work.

Carrillo knows that you have to make the most of every opportunity you are given, and he has worked hard to be successful. Photo courtesy of Matt Pranzo

Q: What would your advice be for the next generation of builders entering this field?

Carrillo: DPR is a good company. My son even works for DPR, in an apprenticeship program here in North Carolina. DPR is about trust and opportunity. They give you opportunities to grow, but you have to make the most of them. I tell young people all the time: You have to work hard so you can use the opportunities to be successful.

Says Carrillo, "I feel so thankful to have a company like DPR see my hard work and give me more opportunity." Photo courtesy of Matt Pranzo

Fedor Carrillo makes the most of the trust DPR places in him, to always work in the best interest of the project, the customer and DPR—empowering him to be a great builder. Says Worcester, “We’re here to build good people, not just good buildings. Fedor has always met each challenge and advanced. It’s enriching for us to see that success.” It’s not just about experience and skill sets; it’s about zeal and drive. Great people make great things happen.

June 16, 2019

Uncovering the Diverse Spectrum of Fatherhood

"Dads are most ordinary men turned by love into heroes, adventurers, story-tellers, and singers of song." – Pam Brown

The DPR family is growing! As employees become fathers/father figures throughout the years, we watch as our friends take on new roles that transform who they are. This year for Father’s Day, we are celebrating the first-time dads of DPR. We reached out to employees who have entered fatherhood over the past year and asked, “What kind of father/father figure do you want to be?”

The responses show the uniqueness and heart of our employees, who help us change the world not only through the buildings we build, but the people we grow.

June 13, 2019

Builders at our Core: Andres Martinez

Assistant Superintendent Andres Martinez points to improved quality and schedule as benefits SPW crews bring to each project. Photo courtesy of Matt Pranzo

The world’s largest medical complex sits just west of Texas State Highway 288, in south-central Houston. It is a two-square-mile district teeming with life, housing more than 60 medical institutions employing upwards of 106,000 people. Amid this densely occupied healthcare hive, Self-Perform Work (SPW) Assistant Superintendent Andres Martinez is putting to use one of the most valuable benefits SPW brings to each project: the ability to better control project schedules.

Hospital construction projects are inherently complex, with challenges amplified by occupied structures that continue to function during construction. Andres's commitent to planning, with robust communication both internally between trades and externally with customers, helps make his projects successful.

Q: What is your role at DPR and describe the path you took to get there?

Martinez: I’m an assistant superintendent for SPW drywall. I started as a carpenter three years ago, when a previous boss asked me to come to DPR to work with him. After about six months, I became a foreman. A year after that, they gave me the opportunity to train to be an assistant superintendent, and I’m still here! It’s a big challenge, but I’ve learned a lot.

Q: How have you grown since you started here?

Martinez: I’ve gotten to do a lot of new things because we get a lot of opportunities. If you want to learn something new, DPR gives you the chance. I always ask for training so I can do something more for the company, and for myself and my family. I have a wife and two kids, with one more on the way in two months! In the future, I hope to become a superintendent. There are always opportunities to learn more and more.

The culture of learning and improvement have helped Andres Martinez succeed in his career at DPR. Photo courtesy of Matt Pranzo

Q: Over the course of your career, what is the most important thing you have learned?

Martinez: Learning how to work on computers. Before I came to DPR, I never worked much with them. Here I get to learn different building software that makes our work so much easier. That’s what I like.

Q: What’s the most technical part of the job you’re working on now?

Martinez: Right now, we’re doing a tenant improvement project at a hospital tower. We’re re-doing floors seven through ten on the east side of the tower, which is phase one. It’s a bit different for me because it’s a remodel. The work itself is the same, but we’re really working with the occupants to make sure we don’t disrupt them or the hospital. We’re doing ceilings, doors, restrooms, nurses’ stations—we’re building in sections and being really careful to accommodate the work and schedules of the employees and the patients.

Q: What’s been the biggest challenge?

Martinez: Scheduling is the biggest challenge, but we’ll put in as much work as we need to get it done on time. We work nights if we need to. We communicate with each other and with the customer to make it work. It’s important to make a good plan of who needs to go in and when because the space is a bit tight and won’t accommodate everyone at the same time. That’s the toughest part.

Andres Martinez employs open and robust communication to ensure his projects run smoothly. Photo courtesy of Matt Pranzo

Q: What do you love about construction/your job?

Martinez: Pretty much everything. I love what I do. I’m learning every day—always learning something different. I started in the field and now I’m working more in planning, working on the computer. But to be honest, I really like all the people here. I love DPR, and I wouldn’t feel comfortable going somewhere else.

Q: What are you most proud of?

Martinez: I feel proud every time we finish a job! That’s when I feel excited to move on to the next project. It’s a feeling of accomplishment. When we finish, we relax and say, “Ahh… we’re done!” And SPW brings more quality to every job, so that makes me proud.

Q: To be successful in your role, what skills does a person need?

Martinez: I think experience is the most important thing. It’s important to work a bit in the field so you know what you’re talking about. Also, listen to people’s concerns and help resolve them. Respect the people and take care of them.

Martinez has embraced the use of building software and other tech tools available at DPR to ensure project success. Photo courtesy of Matt Pranzo

Q: What would your advice be for the next generation of builders entering this field?

Martinez: Work in the field as much as you can. You can do a lot on the computer and it makes building a lot easier, but if you know nothing about the field you don’t have the whole picture. And learn as much as you can about all the trades and everything that goes into building.

When Martinez says goodbye to his family in the morning, he takes pride in knowing he is part of an organization that helps create opportunities not only for him, but for the community around him. He is proud to be part of an organization that enables him to grow as a builder as he continues to build great things for his community.

May 29, 2019

Rebuilding for a Better Future

Through the buildings we create, the people we grow and the communities we serve, DPR has a real opportunity to transform our world. We strive to be integral and indispensable, and we are fortunate to have motivated employees who like to roll up their sleeves, get their hands dirty and put their core building skills to use throughout the year.

Last month, DPR offices across the country joined with partner Rebuilding Together to take part in the non-profit’s National Rebuilding Month. Volunteers included all-female groups, admin employees, craft workers and students who worked together to repair and ultimately transform spaces to better serve their communities.

SHEBUILDS showcases the ability of women in construction and design industries to assist and empower other women, even from their own backyard.

#WomenWhoBuild in San Francisco

DPR’s Women Who Build in the Bay Area participated in the third annual SHEBUILDS event in San Francisco. SHEBUILDS showcases the ability of women in construction and design industries to assist and empower other women, even from their own backyard.

Several women from IBEW Union Local 6 and the local carpenters union brought their apprentices and students to the site, where they joined around 40 DPR employees. Together, the all-female group completed a full day of hands-on-work and repairs at the Oakes Children’s Center, a non-profit school in the city’s Outer Mission/Bernal Heights district. The organization serves over 200 students who require an alternative, resource-intensive learning environment.

Together, the all-female group completed a full day of hands-on-work and repairs at the Oakes Children’s Center, a non-profit school in the city’s Outer Mission/Bernal Heights district. The organization serves over 200 students who require an alternative, resource-intensive learning environment.

“The newly painted spaces are bright, clean and so incredibly welcoming,” said Annie Crowder, director of Oakes Children’s Center. “The redwood bench/planter boxes are amazing, and I was especially struck by the way the carpenters patiently taught their apprentices and students how to construct the benches.”

With a goal of making the space safer and more inviting, work ranged from painting and beautifying the outdoor space, to electrical and lighting work. All levels of experience were welcome, and everyone played a role.

“The energy was amazing with all these women,” DPR Community Initiative Coordinator Rena Crittendon commented. “There was a lot of enthusiasm to get in there and get to work, and for people to stay as long as they did [nine or even 11-hour workdays] and keep going was really neat.”

“The energy was amazing with all these women,” DPR Community Initiative Coordinator Rena Crittendon commented. “There was a lot of enthusiasm to get in there and get to work, and for people to stay as long as they did [nine or even 11-hour workdays] and keep going was really neat.”

After a day to be proud of, Crowder added, “Overall, I could not have imaged a better day with more dedicated, strong, compassionate women who literally transformed our campus in a matter of hours. We are so very grateful for SHEBUILDS, DPR and all the wonderful volunteers for their service!”

Saying “Thank you” in Houston

A few hours away in Houston, volunteers thanked a military vet for his service by renovating his and his wife’s home.

Jeff Griffin, DPR’s self-perform lead for the Houston office and cochair of DPR’s Rebuilding Together initiative in the region, brought together craft and jobsite workers, project managers, project engineers, admin employees and others for an effort involving an estimated 240-plus volunteer hours over the course of two days.

A few hours away in Houston, volunteers thanked a military vet for his service by renovating his and his wife’s home.
"The before and after pictures are incredible," Griffin commented.

“In general, our people like to get out there and swing a hammer, dig a hole, paint, spread mulch, or whatever,” Griffin commented. “Everybody was excited about helping out and making the house look beautiful again. The before and after pictures are incredible.”

Rebuilding Throughout the Year in San Diego

Volunteers keep the momentum of National Rebuilding Month moving in San Diego. In May, DPR’s Preconstruction Team worked with Rebuilding Together to repair the house of a resident who has battled cancer for several years. Volunteers repaired drywall and flooring, painted, fixed a broken shower and performed other miscellaneous work to improve the safety and livability of the house.

We strive to be integral and indispensable, and we are fortunate to have motivated employees who like to roll up their sleeves, get their hands dirty and put their core building skills to use throughout the year.

Sarah Williams, who heads DPR’s San Diego community initiative group, said hands-on projects generate a lot of interest and enthusiasm.

“Being a construction company, this is where we most like to use our skills, and people tend to get pretty excited about these opportunities,” Williams said. “There is just so much need, and it’s good to be able to find areas where we can really help out using our core skillsets.”

Community events help employees live out DPR's enjoyment core value.

The Sharp Santee MOB project team is looking forward to June, not only for the summer sun, but for the volunteer opportunities. At least 20 members of the project team, including DPR, the architect and design-build subcontractors, have planned to make repairs to a family home. Scope includes painting, electrical work, and landscaping repairs to make the home more habitable for a family in need.

With pride in her team, Williams estimates both projects combined will tally at least 400 volunteer hours.

May 22, 2019

Top Gun House Straps in for Its Next Mission

It’s not every day that you see a cultural landmark rolling down the street, but that’s exactly what happened to beachgoers in Oceanside, California earlier this month. The “Top Gun House,” a sky blue beach cottage made famous by the 1980s Hollywood blockbuster “Top Gun,” was relocated from its long-time home on palm-lined Pacific Street. It will be restored and prominently featured at a new independently branded beachfront destination resort being built in Oceanside. Developer SD Malkin Properties broke ground on the Oceanside Beach Resort in February.

Located at the hub of Oceanside’s booming renaissance, the 2.75-acre new-build project along Mission Avenue and N. Pacific Street will offer guests immediate beach access and 387 rooms, 85% of which will have water views. The resort will also feature restaurants, bars, pools, a luxury spa, event space and unique retail shops, including the “Top Gun House,” which will be publicly accessible and leased as a bespoke ice cream parlor. Already popular given its historical significance and feature in the classic 1980’s film, the house is expected to garner even more interest after the sequel, “Top Gun: Maverick,” featuring Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer. It is scheduled for release in Summer 2020.

The team plans to undertake basic structural restoration on the building before moving it back to its permanent home on the northern end of the resort, where the finishing touches will be completed.

DPR Construction, general contractor for the project, worked on the house to get it ready for its big move. “It’s amazing how much interest there is in this house,” said Project Executive Whitney Dorn. The project team nailed wood slats to the porch and braced some of the exterior before hoisting it onto the trailer that transported it to its temporary home two blocks away. The team plans to undertake basic structural restoration on the building before moving it back to its permanent home on the northern end of the resort, where the finishing touches will be completed.

The cottage was originally known as the Graves House and was built in1887. Photo courtesy of Oceanside Historical Society

Built in 1887, the cottage was originally known as The Graves House in honor of its original owner, a physician from Riverside. One of the oldest beach cottages in San Diego County, it boasts an unusual architectural style: Folk Victorian. Designed to evoke the more elaborate Victorian homes of the era, Folk Victorian found favor among homeowners in the late 19th Century due to its ease and affordability. Spindlework detailing and cornice brackets were added to existing homes to create the style, which became common as Western towns were settled around the turn-of-the-century.

The house later became a beach rental before making its appearance as the home of Tom Cruise’s love interest in the movie “Top Gun,” which grossed over $360 million (more than $800 million in 2019 dollars)—the highest grossing film of 1986. It starred Cruise as a brash young naval aviator training at the elite Fighter Weapons School at Naval Air Station Miramar in San Diego. The film became a cultural sensation; sales of bomber jackets and aviator sunglasses skyrocketed, Navy recruitment increased, and tourists began taking their photos in front of the newly dubbed “Top Gun House.”

The team plans to undertake basic structural restoration on the building before moving it back to its permanent home on the northern end of the resort.

Fast forward to 2019: Interest in the house has held strong, the sequel “Top Gun: Maverick” is set to open in June of 2020, and the resort’s hotels are expected to open by the end of that same year. 2020 looks to be a blockbuster year for the city of Oceanside.

May 14, 2019

UVA Health System Demonstrates Innovation Through Renovation

Earlier this year, the University of Virginia Health System continued a rich tradition of innovation coupled with community service by completing an extensive renovation of its Children’s Hospital and Women’s Health floors at UVA Medical Center. The facility is a 600-bed teaching hospital that serves as the Regional Perinatal Center for Northwest and Central Virginia and is home to 6 ranked Pediatric programs by US News and World Report.

The University of Virginia Health System recently completed an extensive renovation of its Children’s Hospital and Women’s Health floors at UVA Medical Center. Photo courtesy of Lee Brauer

With the goal of improving its function, usefulness and appearance, this 58,000-sq.-ft. interior renovation project was a complex, three-year endeavor. DPR Construction, general contractor for the project, worked with architect HKS, Inc. to navigate the challenges of renovating this key area of the hospital, which remained operational throughout construction while prioritizing the safety of its patients. Since the renovations encompassed roughly half of the 7th floor and nearly as much of the 8th, it was necessary for the team to take a well-coordinated approach to design implementation, a process that was carried out in five phases. Robust communication between the teams and the Medical Center was vital to ensure this was a smooth process.

Not only did the renovation deliver a cleaner look, it also improved hospital workflow. Photo courtesy of Lee Brauer

Fifteen post-partum rooms, several of which look out onto nearby Carter Mountain, were updated to make them more convenient and comfortable for new moms and their loved ones. Bathrooms and facilities were refreshed, and outdated furniture was replaced with more comfortable, updated pieces.

Bathrooms and facilities were also refreshed in the renovation. Photo courtesy of Lee Brauer

“The space really needed to be refreshed and updated from the 1980s,” said Dr. Christian Chisholm, UVA Health System Obstetrics Medical Director. Not only did the renovation deliver a cleaner look, it also improved hospital workflow. The medication area was expanded, making it easier for nurses to prepare medications. And with the renovated rooms being adjacent to the hospital’s delivery rooms, new moms are no longer required to switch floors after giving birth. There is also a central area from which nurses will monitor post-partum rooms, resulting in more privacy for patients and a more seamless process for hospital staff.

There is a central area from which nurses will monitor post-partum rooms, resulting in more privacy for patients and a more seamless process for hospital staff. Photo courtesy of Lee Brauer

Included in the renovation was the 14-bed Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), which admits about 1,000 children each year and is one of the Southeast’s top referral centers. The project also featured a 4-bed pediatric bone marrow transplant unit (BMT), a 34-bed acute pediatric unit with both private and semi-private rooms, a new continuing care nursery and procedure area, women’s health triage and family waiting areas. To maintain continuity, the team incorporated the established Children’s Hospital graphics, finishes, theme, and millwork into the existing Level 7 West and Central Units and Level 8 East and Central patient units.

With a resolve to move ever forward, UVA Health System’s Women’s Health and Children’s Hospital renovation lives up to its community’s ideals of innovation in service to its people.