May 29, 2019
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.
#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.
“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.”
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.
“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.
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.”
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.