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Jay Leopold

DPR regional manager motivates employees to make a difference

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Just because DPR Construction Inc. Regional Manager Jay Leopold may not belong to construction associations or lobbying groups doesn't mean he's not influential.

"My philosophical outlook ... has always been that it would be more powerful if I invested myself in our company and our people than in those associations, because I would rather mobilize and equip (140) people to go influence the market then just be a single voice at a roundtable," he explained.

DPR Construction participates in projects that help the community, and helps nonprofit organizations that have little or no connection to construction.

This past year, various employees got involved with Toys for Tots, a University of California San Diego cancer research event and several other nonprofit organizations.

"If one person is going to try to touch all of those causes, it's very limiting," Leopold said. "But when you have many people trying to touch many causes, it's really rewarding."

DPR Construction has created a foundation, which this year will provide between $20,000 and $30,000 to a center that helps underprivileged youth.

"I see ourselves in all kinds of places -- that surprised me -- and I see us influencing the community in ways that are really gratifying to me, and I have seen it more in 2009 than any year," Leopold said.

In 2009 DPR Construction, which has 47 LEED-accredited employees, worked on the construction of the UCSD cardiovascular center, Palomar Pomerado hospital, renovations at The Old Globe theater and completion of a new Boys and Girls Club in San Dieguito.

Leopold also said the 16-year old company had its best year in 2009, which he partly attributed to employee retention.

DPR Construction grew 10 percent and is currently managing roughly $330 million in projects. He added that he feels the company's backlog is "very healthy" for at least the next two years.

"When I look at things I feel really good about in our company, obviously the fact that we have been able to keep our core people here," Leopold said. "And our people have been here a long time."

Ninety of DPR Construction's 140 employees have been with the firm at least five years, with this subset averaging 11-year careers at DPR.

"They didn't leave when the market was heating ... and it feels good in return to keep them actively engaged and growing and developing in times that are lean. It's a reciprocal kind of relationship that I'm pleased with."

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