Robert Carlsen/ENR
Stone (center), with DPR’s Saldana and Reiss, took on project management responsibilities soon after graduating from college.

Project Engineer Becky Stone shows up at 7 a.m., an hour before the weekly owner-architect-contractor meeting at DPR Construction’s South San Francisco project office. Her first focus is on last week’s meeting minutes. Then she prepares the agenda.

On a rotating basis, all of DPR’s project managers and engineers run an owner’s meeting. Now, it is Stone’s turn, after just six months on the job.

DPR hired Stone, 23, last December after she graduated with a construction engineering management degree from Purdue University. She was a paid summer intern for DPR for the past four summers. She summered last year on this project, which consists of the fourth of a four-building campus for a confidential   biotechnology client.

“A great thing about DPR is they give their project engineers a lot of responsibility,” she says. “Not too many engineers that I know of would be running owner meetings.”

With agenda and minutes delivered to the conference room, Stone greets the 30 or so attendees. Stone follows the agenda: safety incidents (none), schedule (on time), third-party commissioning, submittals, RFIs and punchlist work (completed/pending).

After the hour-long meeting, Stone handles some paperwork, then dons a hardhat, glasses and safety vest. Together with intern Jennifer Chang from the University of California, Berkeley, she heads out to the project site. Fellow DPR engineer Charlie Allnutt joins them. Each project engineer oversees eight to 10 subs, so during this walkthrough Stone keeps in touch with them via walkie talkie.

On the first floor, Stone and crew check the finish on doors and corners in the lobby, cube areas and offices. A scratch on a glass door cannot be rubbed out. “Replace the scratched door? That’s the $5,000 question,” Stone mutters, making notes.

Allnutt pauses as Stone walks away and says, “You know, it’s really amazing how Becky just steps right in and manages this project. Really, from day one.”

After a quick lunch, Stone and Chang go over more paperwork in preparation for the turnover package. In mid-afternoon, Stone takes the daily safety walk. This duty also is rotated among the engineers, and it’s her turn. Chang joins her.  “We have to make sure they’re wearing hardhats, there are no tripping hazards and no open outlets,” she says.

At the building’s entrance, Stone meets up with Assistant Superintendent Art Saldana and goes over punchlist items that he and DPR carpenter Jeremy Reiss are working on. They joke around a bit.

“The most important part of this job is establishing relationships with your co-workers,” she says. “You never know. During crunch time they can really help you out.”

Back at the office, Stone says the project will wrap up mid-July. “After that, I don’t know where I'm going next,” she says. Dave Bogan, DPR’s project superintendent, says Stone can pretty much go anywhere and do anything. “I am a huge Becky Stone fan and expect nothing but great things for her future,” he says.