Traffic Barricades Clutter The 520 Freeway Into Redmond

road construction on 520 Redmond Washington is home to some of the biggest names in business. Microsoft, Nintendo, Amazon, and many more tech startups. Washington State has long been a destination for companies looking to expand in an area that is cheaper than California but still keeps them on the West Coast. The 520 Freeway connects Redmond to Seattle and passes through areas of Kirkland and Bellevue along the way. The freeway has been under construction for years as growth in the area has surpassed the States ability to manage roadways and traffic. Just in the past few years, the 520 went from a 2 lane bridge in each direction to a 4 lane bridge. The 520 is also now a toll bridge, so commuters are now opting to go around Lake Washington to get to the northern part of Seattle. What we have noticed during this time period is an increase in traffic-related accidents. This increase in automobile accidents is caused both by the flood of residence in the area moving there and commuting to and from work daily, but also from poorly cared for roadways that erode from the constant rainfall the Seattle experiences. Washington has a yearly rainfall average of 38.19 inches of rain. This amount of rain washes out roads and causes other natural problems like mudslides that also impact the road quality. That being said, when traveling from Seattle to Redmond the 520 dumps you out either onto Leary Way or on to Avondale Road which will take you to Woodinville Washington. example of car damage The traffic becomes extremely congested in this areas as commuters use this access point to travel to and from Seattle. The poorly maintained roadways and constant road construction leave commuters dodging potholes and traffic barricades. Potholes become a major issue as vehicles crash into holes that exceed 6 inches in depth and can experience alignment and balance issues in addition to blown out tires. We spoke to a Redmond mechanic who went on to say that oil pans and axles also suffer from debris on the road. As the roads break up and the asphalt breaks loose it becomes a road hazard and bounces along the underside of moving vehicles causing damage to the parts underneath. They get hundreds of vehicles a year into their Redmond Auto Repair Shop and the issues are consistent from vehicle to vehicle. the damage caused from loose asphalt is never-ending, and the road barricades that force drivers down narrow unmaintained portions of the road are to blame. Washington State needs to fix its road problem at a rate that keeps pace with its growth, or more car owners will be spending more time at the mechanic shop.

Consumerism as we know it has been slow to take hold in healthcare. Design and construction can play a role in better connecting providers with the changing needs and demands of their consumers. Photo: Ground Picture/shutterstock.com

We often think of healthcare consumerism as a new concept, but since the 1930s, there have been frequent references to “consumerism” in healthcare. Today, consumerism broadly refers to people proactively using trustworthy, relevant information and technology to make better-informed decisions about their healthcare options.

A Kaufman Hall survey found that 66% of providers consider consumer-centric initiatives a high priority. However, the most successful tools employed in retail, travel, and banking –business-to-customer (B2C) strategies, consumer segmentation, price comparison shopping, and so on–have fallen flat in healthcare. While the business-to-consumer strategies have not been as successful, we are inundated with more tools and access to data and measures than ever. The Internet is full of information on various merits of medical treatments, provider quality measures, patient satisfaction scores, and more. The problem becomes making sense of available data and whether the information that is accessible is the information that consumers will use to drive their personal buying journey.

“The pursuit of customer-centric care has wide-reaching effects,” said Supina Mapon, one of DPR Construction’s healthcare strategists. “Understanding what works and what does not inform where and how care is administered impacting the overall experience –as well as how healthcare facilities are designed and constructed.”

“Fundamentally, healthcare patients don’t behave like retail consumers. Healthcare is a service (some would argue, a fundamental right), not a commodity so factors like convenience, ease, and choice only trump face-to-face connections and the quality of care you receive to a point,” Mapon said.

For example, contrary to what we’ve come to expect of Generation Z as digital natives, recent surveys of this youngest consumer group note that human interaction is as important as ever.

“It’s the equivalent of an uncanny valley effect for healthcare,” Mapon said. “We like the lower cost, convenience, and access that retail and automated solutions bring, but begin to question their value when they begin displacing authentic, meaningful engagement with our providers.”

Another significant challenge is the information asymmetry that exists between consumers and providers. Networking platforms like PatientsLikeMe, Curatio, and Wisdo Healthhave attempted to address this imbalance by letting people share information about their health, symptoms, and treatments. At the same time, other companies from Castlight to MD Insider, are focused on providing comparable pricing data. However, we are still a long way from enabling true information parity. Until consumers have relevant information about their condition, treatment options, and the cost-quality trade-offs for each alternative, they will continue to fall into the role of the passive patient rather than the active owner of their own health.

Lastly, consumer segmentation in healthcare is simply more complex than it is in other industries.

“Healthcare programming has traditionally been based on patient segmentation as defined by their condition or diagnosis, functional status, and needed care support,” Mapon said. “And while dividing patient populations into groups based on similar needs for services continues to make sense, other industries segment consumers by looking at lifestyle attributes, psychographic factors, and technology usage patterns. A new approach to programming that incorporates both the disease state and consumer behavior triggers is needed.”

To Mapon, none of this means a consumer-centric approach to healthcare should be shelved. Doing so would have far-reaching costs to providers, ranging from lower patient satisfaction scores and associated incentives/penalties from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), deferral of care, and even losing patients to competitors or talent to other sectors.

“It’s more about adapting the consumerism approach to the realities of the healthcare industry and emerging pressures,” Mapon said. “Those paint a picture of what consumers truly value and provide a pathway for construction and design planning aligned to it all.”

Healthcare consumers enjoy the low cost, convenience and access that retail and automated solutions bring, but they still value authentic and meaningful engagement. Photo: Credit: fizkes/shutterstock.com

Rising consumer sophistication and the need to address the total cost-of-ownership (TCO) pressures are chief among healthcare leadership challenges.

“Consumers and providers are increasingly sophisticated, and the industry has seen an influx of capital from more savvy customers,” Mapon said. “Consumer demands are also evolving regarding sustainability. Smart buildings, energy and operational efficiency, and the flexibility and adaptability of structures will become higher priorities for them, so they will also be for the providers they turn to. Compounding this are the heightened expectations to address health equity and social determinants of health (SDOH).”

Moreover, advances in other industries, products, services, and environment are driving consumer expectations for healthcare. Companies like Disney, Amazon, and the Ritz-Carlton have set the bar for a seamless experience, personalization, and meeting consumers where they are at. These expectations will eventually stir up a storm of new, unanticipated competitors that are particularly good at blurring the lines between the physical and virtual to create an end-to-end experience. The speed of innovation is also shaping expectations.

“Consider how manufacturers once focused on features and functions of smartphones as selling points,” Mapon said. “Those selling points are now table stakes. Today, the emphasis is on style, lifestyle, and simplicity of use.”

Since construction is at least two degrees removed from these pressures, it is easy to think builders and the way projects are planned are not affected. Mapon sees that as a fallacy.

“Care itself means the right care,” Mapon said.“And the right care encompasses the right time, right place, right cost–and now, the right experience. The ways to adapt and integrate this convergent approach in healthcare into the physical places of care is instrumental for everyone involved in the right care.”

Speed to market can be enhanced with prefabricated building components. Photo: Joanne Castner

There are several ways Mapon recommended for construction to keep up with changing consumer preferences. Most critical among them is an acceleration imperative for speed-to-market.

“Having facilities online sooner is more critical than ever before,” Mapon said. “Organizations must satisfy the ‘right now consumer. ’In many ways, the long lead times of construction are antithetical to being nimble, flexible, and adaptable to consumer needs. So, contractors must find creative ways to deliver facilities or platforms more quickly.” Among the ways she sees as key to this aim are:

  • Early partnering and procurement using more collaborative delivery models such as IPD or design-build. This minimizes supply chain and lead-time challenges.
  • Digitalization of products and processes to be nimbler. Virtual design and construction (VDC) tools can be applied to create “digital twins” or to layer schedule and cost information into early project planning.
  • Automated parametric design and object libraries that use digital channels to better inform buying and selling goods across the value chain.
  • Adopting prefabrication or product-based approach to increasing the share of structures and surrounding services that can be delivered in a standardized method.
  • Adapting supply chains to reflect what works well in a post-pandemic economy.

All that must be built upon a clear understanding of owners’ objectives for consumer-centered care.

“Builders can support owners’ consumer experience objectives by understanding their unique patient demographics and experience plans,” Mapon said. “That unlocks collaboration with owners and key partners in the early stages of planning to create facilities that offer a more seamless experience.”

This is especially important when working in active healthcare environments.

“Being sensitive to the hospital environment and provider and consumer satisfaction during construction or renovation phases seems like table stakes, but it needs more attention,” Mapon said. “Wayfinding, maintaining access on an occupied site, an understanding of different end-user flows, types, and intersections that occur on the campus… there’s much to account for.”

Solutions range from temporary wall systems to mitigate infection control risk and protect occupied sensitive areas to actions that preserve access and egress for all facility stakeholders. Builders should also not underestimate the importance of frequent, consistent, effective, and most importantly, pre-emptive communications to support consumers and providers through change. Much like the travel industry has focused on delivering real-time communications to let consumers know what to expect before the day of their travel, builders can adopt similar strategies to manage expectations.

“Being able to truly demonstrate inclusivity, including a keen understanding of the local community, is also vital,” Mapon said. “Values and preferences vary dramatically from region to region, and contractors who strive to work with local designers, planners, architects, and other professionals on each project are better able to understand and incorporate local trends and preferences.”

Ultimately, healthcare real estate must account for consumers who want a consistent experience with providers no matter where they interact with them, from physical locations to digital portals.

“Having a holistic approach – with the right partners in the discussion early on – enables project teams to bring more creative cost, schedule, and logistical scenarios to the table,” Mapon said. “That can help a healthcare provider achieve its overarching organizational goals, not just a single-building experience.”

This means staying at the forefront of technological advancements and changing IT costs, as well as incorporating flexibility in physical spaces and planning for advancements in medical equipment. Cyber security and digital and electronic infrastructure are also increasingly affected by natural disasters, which, in turn, should inform design and construction approaches.

“You cannot create a unified experience across a healthcare system without also adequately supporting and planning for changing equipment, technology, or care models during the design and construction phases,” Mapon said. “Additionally, a seamless patient and staff experience means being able to identify and procure the best technology to support customers.

“Healthcare can’t use the consumerism playbook other industries have been using,” Mapon said.“Rather, it’s up to the most innovative providers to pave the path towards a new type of consumerism tailored to the unique demands of the healthcare market.”

To celebrate who we are today, it’s important to reflect upon and honor the significant moments, cultural impacts, and people who have guided us along our paths. Built on a shared culture that celebrates unique backgrounds and experiences, DPR recognizes the rich history, influence and contributions of Hispanic and Latinx Americans during Hispanic Heritage Month and beyond by spotlighting voices of employees who identify with these communities.

Following are the reflections of DPR employees as they share stories about the mentors and experiences that shaped their career paths, influenced their approach to work and how they hope to inspire others to dream big.


Photo: Amanda Sawit

“Thanks in part to my experiences, I am acutely aware of the obstacles and sacrifices others often must make to improve their circumstances and reach their goals…”

I was raised to value and appreciate the nobility of the construction industry thanks to my grandfather’s influence. He founded a construction company in Mexico, so I grew up around builders, visiting jobsites and workshops where heavy equipment was kept, and workers would plan projects.

As a first-generation immigrant, I started working in the U.S. under a temporary work visa. The path to permanent residency (a.k.a. a Green Card), was long, tedious and stressful. Going through that process, along with everything involving immigrating to a different country, really made me aware of the adversities people of all backgrounds go through and must endure.

Thanks in part to those experiences, I am acutely aware of the obstacles and sacrifices others often must make to improve their circumstances and reach their goals, whether it’s immigration or other challenges or disadvantages. I always try to pay close attention to other people’s situations, keep my empathy radar turned on, and try to help clear obstacles that are on their path to reaching their full potential and goals.


Photo: Aleya Domingue

“I believe my dad’s support gave me the confidence, and perhaps even the extra push, to challenge myself to choose a male-dominated major and later a career path in a male-dominated industry.”

Family is a central value in our Latin culture. My dad always taught my two sisters and me to be strong and independent.

During my last semester of Electrical Engineering school, I had a job interview where they took me on a jobsite tour. I realized that construction management was the perfect mix between a technical and managerial path that I knew I would enjoy. Although I began my career as a project engineer, my current role is a talent partner focused on developing our people and helping build highly effective teams. My goal is to hire, inspire, develop and grow the best people in the industry.

I believe my dad’s support gave me the confidence, and perhaps even the extra push, to challenge myself to choose a male-dominated major and later a career path in a male-dominated industry.


Photo: Matt Pranzo

“Construction was the backdrop of my entire childhood and is interwoven into the fabric of my DNA, so it was a natural step for me to build a career in the construction industry.”

My grandfather was a carpenter by trade and, on weekends, took me to visit many jobsites. Those are some of the best and most enjoyable memories I have of growing up. I recall sitting on an empty paint bucket, flipped upside down, and coloring while he worked. For lunch, we had baloney sandwiches and an ice-cold RC Cola as he would recap his work tasks. In a way, those moments became my first “lunch and learn” in the industry!

In my early career days, my BIM manager from a community college project shared that the secret to training others was to take the time and patience you would have if teaching a loved one, making them feel safe and understood. This made me immediately think of my grandfather, and to this day, any time I have the opportunity to teach a new platform, I think of him and use the same patience he had with me as a child who sat on a paint bucket asking a million questions.

Construction was the backdrop of my entire childhood and is interwoven into the fabric of my DNA, so it was a natural step for me to build a career in the construction industry.


Photo: Amanda Sawit

“I believe that if we all exercised support and kindness to each other regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation or any perceived difference, we would be a stronger society.”

As a teen, I attended a job fair where an executive from a local, large food distributor took an interest in me, later offering a rather “grown up” job working in their front office. A female executive at that company showed me what was possible, leading by example and pushing me outside of my comfort zone, becoming one of my most influential mentors.

Then while attending California State University, Fresno, spending a semester in London and backpacking across Europe, I was inspired to take an aptitude test that pointed me in the direction of engineering. In time, I found my sweet spot as a preconstruction executive in Silicon Valley working with the best general contractor – which is quite a dream for a woman from a humble migrant town in California’s San Joaquin Valley.

I remember how I was supported throughout my journey and how important it is to elevate others to become the best versions of themselves. I believe that if we all exercised support and kindness to each other regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation or any perceived difference, we would be a stronger society.


DPR’s monthly Global Social Responsibility (GSR): Be a Pillar series spotlights diverse experiences and perspectives of employees and partners. Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated each year in the U.S. from September 15 to October 15 to commemorate the history and culture of the U.S. Latinx and Hispanic communities, including their influences and contributions to American society at large.

We are excited to introduce Constructing with Care, a podcast for healthcare leaders.

Rapidly evolving realities—caring for an aging population, workforce shortages and burnout, increased uninsured, and lower reimbursement contracts—challenge healthcare providers to deliver care more efficiently at a lower cost, within an environment where capital investments are competing with other immediate priorities.

In our two-part premiere focused on reducing the burden of disruption on a burnt-out workforce, our guests share with listeners their strategies to prioritize staff wellbeing and help avoid common nurse and physician stressors during a capital construction project.


In episode 1, Constructing with Care for a Burnt-out Workforce, Stanford Health Care’s Chief Nurse Executive and Vice President Patient Care Services, Dr. Dale Beatty shares his perspective on how the industry can best support providers and help avoid nurse and physician burnout. He also offers advice on how to thoughtfully incorporate a range of stakeholder voices into capital project planning to accommodate wellbeing.


Dale Beatty headshot

Dr. Dale Beatty
Stanford Health Care
Chief Nurse Executive and Vice President Patient Care Services

Deb Sheehan headshot

Deb Sheehan
DPR Construction
Healthcare Market Strategy Leader

We hope you enjoy our inaugural episode focused on tackling workforce burnout. Subscribe for future episodes as we talk with inspiring guests about how they are reimagining healthcare construction as a means to improve provider satisfaction, create better clinical workflow, enhance patient experience, improve efficiency, and more.

Subscribe to the Series

Boston carpenter foreman Jimmy Pinet draws on his decades of experience in the industry to share why he thinks SPW benefits DPR and its customers. Photo: Matt Pranzo

Boston builder Jimmy Pinet is far from a new kid on the block. Growing up on jobsites with his carpenter father and working as an electrician for more than a decade, he has witnessed how a variety of contractors run their projects. His professional career has provided a perspective that those less experienced might not have: a deep appreciation for DPR’s strong company culture and core values.

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

Pinet: I’m a carpenter foreman on DPR’s SPW team in Boston. I went to vocational high school then took up electrical and was a licensed electrician for 15 years. Then, this opportunity with DPR came up, so I jumped aboard and have been here close to 4 1/2 years. My father and brother were carpenters. My father took me out on jobs growing up, so I learned a lot that way—I guess you could say I’m family taught. I was the first carpenter DPR hired in the Boston area.

Q: What are some interesting aspects about the project you’re working on right now?

Pinet: I do a lot of work for our Special Services Group, so I move around a lot and go wherever I’m needed. It’s great because it’s always something different and it gives me a lot of flexibility.

I’m working on a medical facility now. Our healthcare core market lead recommended me for this project because I know a lot about doors and hardware, and I have an electrical background. I’m installing backplate mounting and motors whose function is to automatically open operating room doors—80 in total. After that, I’ll go to different project.

Pinet frequently draws on his electrical background in his work on a variety of projects for DPR’s Special Services Group. Photo: Matt Pranzo

Q: Why do you think being a self-performing general contractor makes a difference on a project?

Pinet: I’ve seen the business from both sides. When DPR needs something done, we can just do it. It will be done quicker, done right and done at a better cost.

I was working on a Life Sciences project with a drywall subcontractor that experienced a water leak. It was an older building with a new interior, and there was a plumbing issue. Sometimes a drywall subcontractor would have issued an extra charge to fix the drywall affected by the leak. It could also have taken longer because the subcontractor would need to go through an approval process and request a purchase order before starting the work. The tenant had already moved in, so they needed the space back ASAP. With DPR SPW on site, we could start the work immediately and save the client money by just fixing the issue ourselves. And honestly, it’s just more convenient—all it takes is a phone call if I’m needed on a job here in the Boston area. I can usually be there the next day.

Pinet prizes DPR’s safety culture, which makes him feel secure in his role. “They really focus on safety and doing things right.” Photo: Matt Pranzo

Q: Talk about a time in your career where you intervened to make the work on-site safer.

Pinet: I feel more comfortable coming to work here because I know DPR has my back. I have worked with companies that didn’t care how I did a job as long as it was done. With companies like that, you don’t feel secure—like if you fall off a ladder they’ll fire you before you hit the ground. DPR isn’t like that at all. They really focus on safety and doing things right.

I’ve witnessed a few instances where different teams were setting up ladders on staging. That’s not a good idea. I made the calls to EHS and told them they needed to come up with different plan. No one gets in trouble; DPR doesn’t look at it that way. They’re just happy we’re all trying to keep each other safe out here.

Q: What is your proudest moment at DPR?

Pinet: They’ve let me get my feet wet running jobs in the role of superintendent, so I’ve learned a lot about what that takes. My team leader said, “I have the perfect job for you.” He had confidence in my skills and my experience and felt I could do the job, and that bolstered my confidence. That was a very proud moment for me, to see the process from start to finish. I thought, “This is me. I did this!” My ultimate goal is to be a superintendent. It’s a whole different ballgame when you have to make the decisions, give your team direction on what to do, and keep the schedule. It’s a challenge, and it makes me feel good to advance in my career.

Pinet loves the variety in his day-to-day work. “At times it can be a little tough, but that just makes me want to want to step it up and succeed.” Photo: Matt Pranzo

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

Pinet: I don’t really see it as challenging. I see it as motivating because I’m never doing the same thing. At times it can be a little tough, but that just makes me want to want to step it up and succeed.

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

Pinet: Knowledge is key. The more the better. Construction is so broad, especially when you’re in the superintendent role. You can deal with anything from plumbing to drywall, electrical work to concrete. The more you can learn, the better you’ll be. Be a sponge. Observe and ask as many questions as you can.

With the ultimate goal of becoming a superintendent, Pinet appreciates the training and experience working at DPR affords him to achieve that goal. Photo: Matt Pranzo

Q: What do you love about your job?

Pinet: I see people leaving other general contractors to come work for DPR because of our culture. With some contractors I’ve worked for, it was all about the dollar. If you didn’t have 40 sheets of drywall up every day, you’d get laid off. DPR says, “Do the best you can.” If you’re not doing well, they help you figure out the reason. If the task you’re doing isn’t your strong suit, they examine why and put you somewhere else, somewhere you’ll do better. If I could sum it all up, I’d say this: DPR always has your back. They’ve got the right stuff. I don’t see myself going anywhere else. It’s a home.

Collage of August Be a Pillar participants

To drive meaningful philanthropic change in our communities, developing and establishing long-term relationships with local nonprofit partners is key. Additionally, there is an opportunity for organizations to align their core business strengths with the needs of nonprofits, allowing both to do what they do best and deliver the most tangible results. DPR’s commitment to Building possibilities for the under-resourced moves forward by leveraging DPR’s skillsets as builders and industry professionals. This month, five of DPR’s nonprofit partners share the significance of volunteering and the impact of having an integral and indispensable partner.


Image of Barbara Stark in Milagro Center office
Photo courtesy of Clark Grant

Barbara Stark | President & CEO, Milagro Center

Partnerships have helped and supported Milagro Center’s growth, positively affecting our programs, structure, educational capabilities, staff trainings and so much more.

For example, DPR helped take our organization from serving 43 students in our original, small location to serving almost 150 at-risk youth from kindergarten through high school in three separate, beautifully renovated centers. Along with ensuring our physical space is functional, safe and updated, this partner also committed to career and educational guidance for Milagro Center’s students. Volunteers regularly host career sessions, bringing equipment to the Center and allowing our middle and high school students to explore the field of construction in a very hands-on approach. DPR has also been integral in the development and success of Milagro Center’s Ladies Empowerment and Achievement Program (L.E.A.P.) and our construction-focused Girls Go Build initiative for underserved teen girls. 

Volunteers also host a Women’s Group that meets monthly with LEAP participants and experts from the field to educate them about different career opportunities within the industry including project management, accounting, marketing, IT, trades and field operations. Partnerships have helped and supported Milagro Center’s growth, positively affecting our programs, structure, educational capabilities, staff trainings and so much more. Needless to say, Milagro Center’s corporate partnerships have been transformational on so many different and important levels for our organization! 


Photo of Kristen Reese in Peninsula Bridge office
Photo courtesy of Trevor Satterwhite

Kristen Reese | Director of Curriculum Design and Instructional Coaching, Peninsula Bridge

Without the support of corporate partnerships offering specialized programming and recruiting dedicated, enthusiastic volunteers, our students would miss out on invaluable opportunities in their STEM education.

Peninsula Bridge students are constantly asking for more hands-on STEM experiences. We are so lucky they can look forward to educational programming offered by companies we partner with.

Volunteers from these partnerships make a tremendous impact, with some going as far as creating, planning and leading summertime engineering activities. This summer, our 4th through 8th grade students learned about construction and engineering, while having a lot of fun building popsicle stick bridges, participating in an egg drop challenge, and playing a board game focused on critical thinking and strategic planning.

At Peninsula Bridge, our mission is to transform the lives of motivated, low-income students by preparing and supporting them for success in their academic and personal journey. Without the support of corporate partnerships offering specialized programming and recruiting dedicated, enthusiastic volunteers, our students would miss out on invaluable opportunities in their STEM education.


Photo of Madonna Bistany in Future for KIDS office
Photo courtesy of Austin Tepper

Madonna Bistany | Executive Director, Future for KIDS

We could not be more grateful for the continued support, dedication, and the major impact DPR has had on our organization and the children and families in our community.

The impact corporate partnerships have made on our organization have been significant and truly extraordinary.  For instance, our journey with DPR began when an employee, Tim Hyde, started off as a volunteer mentor and eventually serving as our Board Chair.  Tim’s dedication to Future for KIDS (FFK) and community service inspired many of his colleagues to serve as volunteers and walk alongside our mission of supporting underprivileged kids in our community through structured programs focused on academic, athletic and ethics activities designed to build strong bonds while having fun.

This partnership led to the launch of the “School of Construction” in 2014, an annual summer event coordinated and hosted by DPR volunteers to provide an overview of the field of construction to youth who may be interested in pursuing a career in construction.

We could not be more grateful for the continued support, dedication, and the major impact DPR has had on our organization and the children and families in our community.   


Photo of Susan Haspel in office setting
Photo courtesy of Raime Press

Susan Haspel | State Director, Boys & Girls Clubs in New Jersey 

Partnering with companies who share our commitment to supporting the New Jersey Club youth have significantly supported us in delivering on our mission to “enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring responsible citizens”.

Having a safe and engaging space to mentor and deliver programming is a key way that the Boys & Girls Clubs in New Jersey serve those youth who need us most.

Some of the most meaningful volunteer efforts have included multiple Clubhouse renovations, including classroom spaces for the Club’s Clifton and Newark locations. The tremendous value of these projects, along with the wonderful collaboration with volunteers, makes a great impact in our communities for generations to come. Additionally, volunteers that engage with our youth through leadership programs, such as Youth of the Year, provide interview preparation training sessions for Club teens, as well as hosting workforce development programs focused on construction careers.

Partnering with companies who share our commitment to supporting the New Jersey Club youth have significantly supported us in delivering on our mission to “enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring responsible citizens”.


Image of Valerie Salter in Girls, Inc. office
Photo courtesy of Tyler Wilson

Valerie Salter | Director of Donor Engagement, Girls Inc. of Tarrant County

There have been several projects that our partners have supported which have greatly impacted our ability to further our mission of “inspiring all girls to be strong, smart, and bold”.

Girls Inc. of Tarrant County is fortunate to have established incredible corporate partnerships. There have been several projects that our partners have supported which have greatly impacted our ability to further our mission of “inspiring all girls to be strong, smart, and bold”.

Most recently, Girls Inc. relocated our administrative offices which now serves as a multi-functional space. Our goal was to have a space that afforded us the ability to better serve our girls and our community. For our girls, that meant space that was welcoming and where we could host workshops and summer camps. Volunteers from one of our corporate partners did electrical work, painting, furniture assembly and interior construction modifications so that we could utilize it to its highest potential. 

I am thrilled to say that this summer, our office has been filled with the sound of laughter at family night, workshops and more during summer camps. This space is much more than we could have imagined, and we owe so much to these long-standing partnerships for making that possible.

A man stands on a stage raising his hand in front of a crowd
At DPR, culture is made up of the actions of every individual it is defined by what we do and how we treat others. Photo courtesy of Matt Pranzo

Hi,

Culture can be such an abstract word. It can inspire excitement and aspiration. It is often something you feel without even realizing it. Every company has a culture, whether they talk about it or not. At DPR, culture is made up of the actions of every individual. So, when we talk about our culture, we’re talking about the examples and behaviors that define how we want to act and treat each other. Our culture is defined by what we do and how we treat others.

Building a culture that is inclusive and builds belonging is important. As we began to emerge from the pandemic, we sincerely wanted to know what was on everyone’s minds and wanted to create a safe space where employees could ask questions, share their experiences, and help build a greater sense of community throughout our organization. That’s one of many reasons why we launched the DPR Culture Con Roadshow this past year to create a deeper cultural connection and conversation with our teammates.

In the spirit of open and honest communication, every employee was invited to an in-person forum to (re)connect to our culture and to ask questions to a panel of local and regional leadership and members of the Management Committee. No question or topic was off limits. We also made sure that each session had live, simultaneous Spanish translation so that our Spanish-speaking employees had the option of listening and speaking in the language of their heart. To date, we’ve completed 27 events, connecting with some 5,700 employees in total across our family of companies.

What did we learn?

Our cultural roadshow reinforced the importance and value of taking time to connect/reconnect with each other, to create more clarity around our culture, and provide a safe space for employees to share what’s been on their minds. These last two years have been extremely challenging for us all and have impacted people in many ways. There was laughter, cheers, tears and moments of seriousness as tough questions were asked and answered.

Some key themes that emerged from our conversations resonate across the industry and across sectors: benefits, compensation, opportunities for growth and career advancement, and increased clarity around strategic direction. Specific to DPR, we took away a deep interest in learning more about our company vision, purpose, values and mission. We also heard from many who desire us to build more inclusive and better integrated work environments as “1DPR.”  

These conversations were just the start. We hope the sense of inclusivity and connectedness  fostered in these events will continue among teams on jobsites and in offices in alignment with our central belief of respecting the individual.

As we move into our 33rd year, we thank all our employees, families, partners, customers and friends for being a part of our journey.  The world will continue to challenge us all, so we are grateful for you and how we continue to come together, stronger. We hope the stories in the 7th issue of Great Things remind you of how important you are—to each other, to our company, to our industry and to our society. The work we do together has a tangible effect on our world, from hospitals to research labs, and classrooms to data centers. We appreciate all that we’ve been able to accomplish together with a shared culture built upon our differences.

Please keep the conversations and connections going.

Ever Forward.

DPR Management Committee  

Atul, Dave, George, Greg, Jody, Mark, Matt, Michele, Mike  

DPR's Management Committee
Pictured from left to right: Greg Haldeman, Mike Humphrey, Mark Whitson, Michele Leiva, George Pfeffer, Atul Khanzode, Dave Seastrom, Jody Quinton and Matt Hoglund.

SurePods’ approval by HCAI for healthcare facilities in the Golden State marks a milestone for expanding prefabrication capabilities that support all projects. SurePods is a strategic partner of DPR and part of its’ family of companies

A woman works on assembling a prefabricated bathroom unit.
Building in a controlled factory setting safeguards against common external construction risk factors such as inclement weather. Photo courtesy of Mindy Hetman

As most developers and contractors in California know, building in the Golden State can present a unique set of challenges. The state’s building industry is characterized by higher labor costs, dense urban cities, high seismic factors, and like most of the country, it faces a shortage of skilled craft labor.

The stakes get higher when you factor in requirements set by the California Department of Health Care Access and Information (HCAI), formerly known as the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD), which apply to all healthcare projects in the state. HCAI monitors the construction, renovation and seismic safety of hospitals and skilled nursing facilities, and sets the precedent for quality healthcare building projects at the highest level.

DPR’s strategic partner SurePods marked a huge milestone last March when it became the first company of its kind, and first product overall, to gain HCAI approval as part of their new Prefabricated Components and Systems program. Partnering with HCAI to work through the review process for this new program was no small task, not only from an engineering perspective, but also including the nuances of off-construction site inspections, COVID-19 restrictions and HCAI’s transition from OSHPD.

We’ve seen healthcare providers lead the pack in their utilization of prefabricated components in building projects, for good reason. Prefabrication can incorporate custom finishes and design elements while simultaneously delivering more predictability in key project performance indicators. For providers looking to minimize disruptions and achieve faster speed-to-market, prefabrication can deliver results. For one, prefabricated components can be built sooner and concurrent to activities in the field, which helps save time on the project schedule. Building in a controlled factory setting safeguards against common external construction risk factors such as inclement weather, limited labor availability, and logistics, all with an increased level of quality and safety. 

a line of prefabricated pods
Prefabrication can incorporate custom finishes and design elements while also delivering more predictability in key project indicators. Photo courtesy of SurePods

The collective summary of these improvements and their real time implementation will continue to drive this transition from field construction to field assembly until it simply becomes standard practice. That’s why SurePods, along with its strategic partners DPR, EIG and Digital Building Components, has a shared priority to advance prefabrication approaches in healthcare construction and beyond. Just as healthcare providers operate on the leading edge of their respective industries, DPR and its partners also seek opportunities to drive construction forward and improve project delivery with greater efficiency and predictability. It’s part of a shared ever forward mentality of continuous self-initiated improvement and learning.

The process of expanding prefabrication capabilities on the West Coast started in early 2021 when SurePods recognized that, while it was already serving much of the east coast urban environments from its Orlando, FL, plant there were additional opportunities out west. This past year, SurePods opened 40,000 sq. ft. of new dedicated factory space shared within the Digital Building Components’ plant in Phoenix, AZ, and through the help of San Francisco-based Forell Elsesser Structural Engineers, a strategy for west coast expansion took shape. Having fabrication plants located closer to projects enables teams to better meet customers’ needs in the region while reducing inherent freight time and costs. While there are other prefabrication companies out there, the investment and partnership between DPR and its strategic partners is unique in its scale, strength and embracement of shared priorities.

The implications of this expansion and HCAI approval are not limited to California’s healthcare market. Achieving pre-approval with the most stringent jurisdiction in the country proves the concept and benefits of prefabrication for all building types, including student housing, hospitality and commercial office projects, and provides higher levels of confidence to building owners and design teams. While the pipeline for such implementation and industry transformation is long and diverse, this is only the beginning of more great things to come.

Written by Jon Quigley, who helps lead prefabrication efforts for SurePods and Digital Building Components.

A woman walks up an escalator next to a wall that says "We Exist To Build Great Things"
DPR’s purpose, “We exist to build great things” is featured prominently in many of its offices, including its Pasadena, CA, location. Photo courtesy of Andrew Leeson

In an era of mass resignations, some companies are going strong. Their secret? Take care of people. When a company embodies purpose, values and beliefs that include respect for its workers, its clients and humanity in general, business thrives.

“Business units with engaged workers have 23% higher profit compared with business units with miserable workers. Additionally, teams with thriving workers see significantly lower absenteeism, turnover and accidents; they also see higher customer loyalty.”

– Jon Clifton, CEO of Gallup, June 14, 2022

This story focuses on the roles purpose and values play in companies and explores how these factors influence the way organizations navigate challenges. 

A man laughs while holding a winning raffle ticket
Cultivating an environment that actively reinforces company values and encourages the right action improves loyalty, provides a framework for navigating challenges. Photo courtesy of Matt Pranzo

Articulating the Why

Purpose is the basis of who an organization is, and how it works internally and externally. From construction to life sciences to healthcare, a unifying vision provides common ground for those involved—promoting a shared understanding, increasing trust and fostering collective action. It is fundamental in attracting and retaining workers and in building successful customer relationships.

Employees and customers alike demand more than an attractive bottom line when evaluating prospective organizations. Both groups seek out companies whose purpose resonates with their own ideals. Surveys from Porter Novelli and Aflac found that 88% of employees believe it is “no longer acceptable for companies just to make money” and 70% of consumers believe large companies have a responsibility to make the world a better place.

To continue operating at a high level, organizations must be able to define and articulate their values authentically and to demonstrate their commitment to those ideals through action.

“Welcome to the new American workplace, where having a positive impact and embracing a sense of purpose are mandatory for attracting younger workers, who demand that employers demonstrate purpose beyond profit.”

TIME, May 13, 2022

Embracing a purpose sets the tone for the culture, establishes an identity within the community and sets a framework for decision making. But what is ‘purpose’? According to Jim Collins in BE 2.0, ‘purpose’ is the fundamental reason for a company’s existence. A company’s purpose never changes. Consider the following:

  • Kaiser Permanente “exists to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of [its] members and the communities [it serves].”
  • Merck says, “We use the power of leading-edge science to save and improve lives around the world.”
  • Meta’s mission is to “Give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.”
  • White Lodging’s vision is to “Provide incredible value and genuine care for associates, guests and owners.”
  • DPR’s purpose is “We exist to build great things.”

Each of these organizations has considered and articulated who they are, what they do and why they do it in a way that makes sense to their employees and those who need their services. 

A man stands to ask a question in a crowd
DPR’s “Culture Con Roadshow” invites all employees in each business unit to create a deeper cultural connection to the company and ask questions of leadership. Live, simultaneous Spanish translation is available at every event so employees can listen and speak from the “language of their heart.” Photo courtesy of Matt Pranzo

Purpose works hand-in-hand with a set of core values and beliefs that provide guidance for all decision-making. At Mark Cavagnero Associates, an architecture firm based in San Francisco, designers focus on making great places for their clients and the community at large. Their core values emerged and grew through their work. Understanding the client’s vision, the site specifics and the needs of the program drives every design.

As Paul Davison, senior associate at Mark Cavagnero Associates said, “When approaching a problem, we’re synthesizing a lot of different factors and requirements and trying to understand which is most important and how it connects back to what our client is trying to achieve.” 

Values represent who the workers are as people and drive how a company chooses and works with clients. They influence how an organization interacts with the community and reflect the type of people a company wants to hire, as well as help to attract talent. According to a survey conducted by Porter Novelli, 69% of employees polled said they would refuse to work for a company that doesn’t have a strong purpose and 60% of employees would take a pay cut to work at a purpose-driven company.

Stating a company purpose and core values is not enough though. As the saying goes, “proof is in the pudding.” As Kaushal Diwan of DPR said, “DPR relies on a strong foundation for culture. If we say that our purpose, core values, and mission are just something that we put on the wall, but then our people don’t live it, breathe it and feel it every day, then it’s not going to happen.”

Employees must process the vision, purpose, values and mission, then take action. Purpose-driven companies that empower their workers to act are better placed to attract the right workers who will, in turn, strengthen and promote the values that attract purpose-driven customers.

A team of workers stand in a circle next to the steel structure of a building.
The construction industry will need to attract nearly 650,000 additional workers on top of the normal pace of hiring in 2022 to meet demand, per ABC News. Photo courtesy of David Cox

Navigating Challenges Purposefully 

Companies are better equipped to overcome obstacles when their culture is grounded in a purpose—they already have blueprints in place.

As anyone in the industry knows, the conventional process of designing and constructing a building can be fragmented. Forbes acknowledged the gap between architecture and construction, which has been a historically siloed process, in a recent article. This sometimes-counterproductive relationship is fueled by traditional procurement delivery systems. By contrast, collaborative delivery methods—including contractual mechanisms like design-build and Integrated Project Delivery (IPD), and non-contractual approaches like the “Big Room,” Lean construction and design-to-build—work best when there’s common purpose.

Sally Whiteley, clinical planner at integrated design firm SmithGroup (whose company purpose is to “Design a better future”), recalled working on a recent project: “The big room environment is invigorating because passion is catching. That [passion] helped resolve so much at the project team level. The client saw value in how the team came up with dozens of solutions to find best value, because we all wanted the best for this project. This notion of integrity and respect became part of the big room culture, as did understanding how your work impacts others.”

Beyond the interpersonal benefits of creating a workplace where teammates respect each other—and may even reap greater levels of enjoyment at work—collaboration makes sense. The efficiency, timeliness and profitability of a project are highly dependent on the coordination and cooperation among the stakeholders involved, per ENR. And the trend toward greater collaboration has been increasing: The Design-Build Institute of America estimates that design-build contracts may account for nearly half (47%) of construction spending by 2025.

Purpose, as the foundation for collaboration, may be one way to boost hiring and retaining quality workers. ABC News reports the industry will need to attract nearly 650,000 additional workers on top of the normal pace of hiring in 2022 to meet the demand for labor. “The workforce shortage is the most acute challenge facing the construction industry,” said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu.

“The construction industry hasn’t done the best job of articulating the purpose of what we do,” said DPR’s Atul Khanzode. “When in fact, what each of us touches contributes to the betterment of our communities, whether it’s in healthcare, life sciences, higher education or advanced technology. The facilities that we build are the backbone for a lot of things in our society, from hospitals that heal the sick, to data centers that store, process and disseminate information and applications, and connect the world we live in.” In other words, construction has a direct connection to improving people’s lives.

Scientists work in a lab
The Weill Neurosciences Building was conceived as a place to marry scientific research into afflictions of the brain with a care facility for patients.

Moving Forward with Common Purpose at UCSF

The University of California San Francisco (UCSF) has a mission to “advance health worldwide.” DPR, in partnership with SmithGroup and Mark Cavagnero Associates, brought to life a first-of-its-kind facility at UCSF: the Joan and Sanford I. Weill Neurosciences Building, conceived as a place to marry scientific research into afflictions of the brain with a care facility for patients.

Suzanne Napier, SmithGroup’s science and technology leader and the project’s architect of record, said, “The best types of projects benefit humanity as a whole and this project directly focuses on curing terrible diseases. It was easy for everyone involved to see the value the project held because nearly everyone knows someone who has been affected by diseases of the brain.”

“This project was a great responsibility,” said Davison. “We were there to support the researchers, clinicians and staff who do work that will improve society. Imagine what happens when we can cure Alzheimer’s. Imagine what happens when a child that can barely walk, can run.”

The project was not without its challenges. The pandemic hit in the middle of construction. Along with most businesses, the project was temporarily paused for nearly two months due to a local shelter-in-place order and UCSF safety restrictions. When the state of California classified construction workers as essential personnel, the restart effort centered around the monumental logistical task of bringing a large workforce—more than 300 people on any given day—back safely. They did so under newly developed protocols that dramatically changed the way in which workers performed their jobs, while maintaining a high degree of excellence in construction.

“We had to protect their health, and treat [a restart] with a level of seriousness that we would treat any other high hazard activity on a construction site,” said DPR’s Jack Poindexter at the time.

 
DPR and the entire project team drew from the larger foundation of a common purpose, core values, and a strong culture to devise a plan that balanced worker health, recognized the schedule, and produced a project that successfully mitigated jobsite transmission of COVID-19. Focusing on the larger vision that the university had for the building, and the patients who would receive care, created a connection that drove the team to deliver a high-quality, transformative building. The project was awarded the 2022 Real Estate Deal of the Year by the San Francisco Business Times

A crane stands in the middle of an active construction site.
When the state of California classified construction workers as essential personnel, the restart effort centered around the monumental logistical task of bringing a large workforce—more than 300 people on any given day—back safely. Photo courtesy of Barry Fleisher

Creating Direct Links

People and their actions are the culture of an organization, so the only way to manifest values is to attract, hire and retain workers. Cultivating an environment that actively reinforces company values and encourages the right action improves loyalty, provides a framework for navigating challenges and benefits the greater good. And it helps the organization to survive financially so that it can continue to do great work.

“When you work in design and construction, the impact of your work is tangible,” said Whiteley. “You can see, touch and experience the buildings you create. There’s a very direct link between what you’re doing and how you will affect an ill person, for instance. And that’s a very authentic thing.”

Employee uses QR code on construction jobsite
DPR is continuously expanding access to the best tools and resources for craft teams to improve collaboration opportunities, establish greater trust, and foster partnership between teams. Photo courtesy of Sweeya Tangudu

Too often in the construction industry, there seems to be a disconnect between innovation and work happening in the field, particularly regarding adoption. Between scheduling and skepticism, field crews are wary of the disruption and the presumed consequences that can occur when implementing changes on a jobsite. Even the biggest supporters of introducing innovation into the field can hesitate when there is high potential for disturbing workflows.

So how do organizations efficiently respond when encountering resistance to face the challenges of implementation? According to DPR Construction’s Tyler Williams, construction innovation teams must leverage field leadership to inspire and champion innovation for the field, instead of pushing innovations to the field.

It begins with establishing trust and creating partnerships.

It sounds simple enough to encourage communication between innovation and craft teams, but it’s a thoughtful process that requires resources and engagement opportunities that are more effective than signage and breakfast promotions. However, most construction firms’ field crews don’t have access to traditional intranet tools, creating a communication gap between the two groups. Each face the challenge of how best to share ideas and generate collaborative and meaningful dialogue about best practices and solutions. While this generally still holds true for many organizations, DPR is continuously expanding access to the best tools and resources for craft teams to improve collaboration opportunities, establish greater trust, and foster partnership between teams.

“It has become essential that innovation groups include people with robust field experience who can not only speak the language of the trades but are also willing to listen from that unique perspective,” said Tyler Williams, DPR’s dedicated field innovation leader and one of the first in the industry.

Williams is a former superintendent and union carpenter who now spends time connecting dots between DPR’s office-based teams, industry partners and vendors, and with craft workers on jobsites across the country, listening, relating and learning.

DPR self-perform work leader Jack Poindexter added, “Creating space where it’s safe to learn, ask questions and experiment without the pressure of performance naturally creates engagement and trust between our innovation team, field leaders and craft. This is where we all really work together to uncover challenges and work through issues to find what doesn’t work and what does.”

“Through conversations at every level, I have the advantage of seeing all sides and experiencing firsthand what’s happening in the field and office environments and with other partners in the industry,” Williams continued. “This helps tremendously to source and champion solutions to actual field challenges. And it helps implement new innovations by relating to our craft workers from a familiar viewpoint and addressing concerns from a place meant to create and foster trust among all of us.”

Construction worker testing protective exo suit
Exoskeleton suits were recently tested by DPR innovation and field teams at a Hilti training facility. Photo courtesy of Kyle Reimers

Innovation champions on jobsites are key to building relationships.

“It is vital for firms to make sure they’re not just coming up with ideas and calling them innovative,” said Williams, “But that strong relationships are built with craft teams to make sure the ideas they’re incubating resonate with them.” When ideas are born—and introduced—in the field, it’s the engagement of frontline workers to identify common field problems that empowers a workforce to assist with solutions and build trust among teams.

“Innovation champions on jobsites are paramount to success,” said Hilti Strategic Business Director Jordan Funk. “From the point of entry, those champions help drive the mindset of augmenting work, not replacing workers. We’re starting to see more field team members at demos, giving feedback and leaning into innovation when they get the chance to be involved and experience new ideas, being able to build relationships and ask questions from the start.”

On a recent Seattle-area healthcare project, a field crew inquired about a better solution for drywallers when it came to dust collection. A hazard and an inconvenience, the standard process of drywalling work creates lots of dust, which also adds extra time for cleanup. That crew gave their feedback to DPR’s field innovation leader, a superintendent who had the network to source a vendor with a tool that aligned with their needs and workflows—not eliminating the crew’s work but changing it to make it safer and more productive. His relationship with a tool manufacturer partner resulted in an opportunity for DPR to pilot a new prototype device that attaches to a router, letting drywallers keep two hands on the router while the device vacuums up the dust simultaneously. It was a perfect solution, but how it came to be is what really made it work.

The worry of being replaced.

In building connections with innovators across DPR, Williams works with field leadership to identify opportunities where innovation can make an impact to front line workers. But before the introduction and implementation of innovation, is the need for transparency in why and how these solutions will impact workers, projects and speed-to-market efforts. In turn, superintendent-led conversations with craft are more on-point, focused and supportive of field teams.

“The benefit, when innovation really sticks in the field, is making people safer and more competent,” said Scott Johnson, field technology group leader in the Pacific Northwest at DPR. 

Johnson noted that people often become nervous about innovation eliminating jobs, not having a full understanding that it’s truly about being more effective and efficient with the same amount of effort.

“When you get to use your brain more than your back, that’s a safer, healthier way of working that needs to be highlighted more when we talk about innovation. Demanding less of our bodies and working smarter, not harder—making sure our teams are fully confident that innovation is not something that’s taking jobs away. It’s changing the way you do your job and making it better.”

For example, at a jobsite for a commercial office project in Austin, TX, craft teams recently piloted two exoskeleton suits in an effort to reduce or eliminate fatigue and soft tissue related injuries. “While we made the ultimate decision to not move forward with the suits we tested, we are continuing to evaluate EXO-suits and ergonomic training opportunities because of the positive aspects and feedback from our craft that did arise during the pilot program,” said Williams.

“Innovation frees up our field teams to plan the work and move on to other projects. It’s not about replacing workers,” said Poindexter. “These improvements in the way we work not only reduce repetitive stress and wear and tear on bodies, but also help make us more competitive. We’re accomplishing more work at DPR and providing more value to our customers.”

Use of QR code innovation in the field
Having information at field crews’ fingertips increases production efficiency and decreases rework and safety incidents. Photo courtesy of Sweeya Tangudu

Providing field teams with opportunities to share and pilot their own ideas

“It’s important that we listen to what our craft see and hear every day in the field,” said Poindexter. “And that we create a safe space for someone to raise their hand and ask a question, point something out, or make a suggestion. We need to provide opportunities for responsible conversations about their ideas and concerns.” And as important, it’s essential to let field teams drive their portion of these discussions and provide accessible methods of engaging.

At DPR, field crews in some markets are encouraged by innovation champions to submit “Opportunities for Innovation” by scanning QR codes connected directly to a submission page, a space for workers to share their ideas in real time. The program was piloted in multiple DPR locations but had the most success where it was supported by a dedicated champion in the field, such as a superintendent.

One such innovation currently being piloted on a data center project in Tennessee is the ‘DFH (doors, frames & hardware) QR Code’ that brings together floor plans, opening locations, wall framing types, security details, low voltage details, hardware sets, rough opening sizes, and easy to miss general notes found throughout the drawings. This idea, envisioned by a superintendent who recognized a reoccurring issue in the field and brought to life with the technical expertise of a project engineer, is helping to lead the way to more predictable outcomes, less rework, a system that works towards zero defects, better quality control, open information sharing to all field workers, and being able to meet owner expectations on the first pass.

A similar innovation being used on a life sciences project in the Bay area is room-specific QR codes containing packs of information relevant to in-wall rough-ins. “Patches and rework are expensive,” said Erin Saiki, assistant superintendent for the project. “They’re detrimental to crew morale, inefficient to production, difficult to coordinate and never part of the plan, and they increase the risk of trade damage and safety incidents. Having this information at crews’ fingertips caught hundreds of potential patches by creating a single source of truth.”

Seattle drywall foreman, Jeremy Scollard headshot
Seattle drywall foreman, Jeremy Scollard, believes in embracing challenges, a behavior that has helped him navigate permit delays and schedule changes on his current project. Photo courtesy of Matt Pranzo

Seattle builder Jeremy Scollard never shies away from a challenge. They might make him uncomfortable, but he knows working through them helps him grow—as a person and as a builder. In an industry where challenges are the norm, he stresses this viewpoint to his team members in an effort to help not only build great things, but to also build great people.

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

Scollard: I’m a drywall foreman. Right now, I’m working on a 22,000-sq.-ft.tenant improvement project for a life sciences company here in Seattle. About 70% of it is office space, and the rest is lab space. I moved to DPR after spending most of my career working for subcontractors. There’s a vast difference being on the GC side. There are a ton of positives for me.

Q: What are some interesting aspects about the project you’re working on right now?

Scollard: On this project, we’re self-performing framing, drywall, acoustical ceilings and specialty baffles, Haworth office glass fronts, and doors, frames and hardware. Because we’re self-performing those, we’ve been able to better manage the schedule, safety and quality. Having different craft teams that can go from one scope to another gives us maximum efficiency in flow, even with delays in permits or missing information. If there were four or five different subcontractors on this same job rather than DPR self-perform teams, it might not have been such a smooth process with communication and schedule. There most likely would have been a different outcome for us.

Q: Why do you think being a self-performing general contractor makes a difference on a project?

Scollard: First off, we can better control the schedule to deliver the project on time. We can communicate easier and quicker. We have more control over quality. At the end of the day, that’s our main goal, to deliver a quality project. That’s a big reason I like being a part of DPR’s SPW team. It’s an easier process for us to make schedule adjustments and recommendations that then get incorporated quicker. On this project, we worked through permit delays, and the construction schedule was faster than the design schedule, but we still pushed for answers and held to our schedule.

Jeremy chatting with co-worker on site about the job at hand.
Scollard embraces his role not only as a builder of things, but as a builder of people. Photo courtesy of Matt Pranzo

Q: What is your proudest moment at DPR?

Scollard: As a superintendent, the better I can build the people on my team, the better they’ll be able to build a job for DPR and for the client. Rather than be a builder of things, now I’m a builder of people. That’s what I’ve learned over the years. I’m still learning and trying to get good at it. That’s also the most challenging part because I’m not used to it, just like this interview—this is challenging for me. But when you succeed at it and when it all comes together, it’s very rewarding. When you spend some time working with people that you’ve known over the years, and watched them grow and succeed and become better, and feel like you might have had a part in that—that’s the rewarding part.

Jeremy working hard on the jobsite
After working as a subcontractor for most of his career, Scollard finds being a part of DPR’s SPW team rewarding as it allows him to effect change via recommendations and more streamlined communication. Photo courtesy of Matt Pranzo

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

Scollard: I think getting out of your comfort zone is always a challenge. But it’s important to do it because it allows you to grow and advance in your career. Plus, seeing that you’ve accomplished something that was a challenge is really rewarding. It gives you a personal sense of accomplishment.

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

Scollard: I guess my dad really instilled a work ethic in me. With a good work ethic, you become proud of what you do and then start to love what you do. Reliability is important—showing up. We can teach you how to work. I can teach you all the skills you need to know, but it’s hard to teach somebody gumption—just the “want” to show up. That’s what you need, the “want” to be a part of a team. If you want to be part of the team, we’ll make you part of the team and teach you what you need to know to be successful.

Jeremy working with teammate outside
Scollard’s advice for future builders is simple: “Don’t be afraid to put yourself into a situation that’s uncomfortable. You’ll most likely grow from it.” Photo courtesy of Matt Pranzo

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

Scollard: It’s important not to be afraid to try new things, to learn new skills, and put yourself into uncomfortable situations because without that, you can’t grow. That’s what I’m doing right now. Don’t be afraid to put yourself into a situation that’s uncomfortable. You’ll most likely grow from it.