Press Release: 08.06.2012

A Community Effort

Building strong communities begins and ends with partnerships.

During a construction project, project owners often team with their builder to utilize various communication tools and strategic building processes to help minimize inconveniences for those potentially impacted by construction activity. For example, special construction equipment is used to mitigate noise, dust and debris, and logistical and scheduling tactics are employed to decrease potential traffic issues and delivery disturbances. Furthermore, the project’s communication team may hold community meetings and develop various forms of online and printed communication to help guide the various groups safely and smoothly around the construction activity.

Minimizing construction impact, however, only begins to scratch the surface of successfully building and maintaining strong communities. McCarthy has found that the aforementioned tactics are definitely helpful in easing associated construction concerns and mitigating inconveniences. But, because McCarthy employees are as passionate about building better communities as we are about construction, we believe we must go one step further to be a good construction neighbor and community partner.

McCarthy reaches out to the local community through the McCarthy “Heart Hats” community outreach program. As a part of this program, McCarthy encourages our employees to volunteer in a variety of causes to ensure real needs are being met in our communities. Over the years, Southern California Division employees at McCarthy have donated thousands of volunteer-hours as a part of this effort.

For example, at CHOC Children’s Hospital in Orange, Calif., McCarthy is currently building a new 425,524-square-foot patient tower adjacent to an existing north tower. McCarthy teamed with CHOC to institute an employee-volunteer activity for hospital patients even before the firm was hired to build the new CHOC Tower.  

McCarthy Project Director Patrick Peterson explains: “About seven years ago, McCarthy was building a tower for St. Joseph Hospital adjacent to CHOC Children’s Hospital. Representatives from CHOC told us the children were entertained by the construction they had been watching from their hospital rooms. In response, McCarthy collaborated with St. Joseph Hospital, CHOC and some of its project team members to institute a construction-themed patient activity program. Years later, we began construction on the new CHOC tower, and McCarthy welcomed the opportunity to continue the events through its Heart Hats employee-volunteer program.”

This employee-volunteer effort entailed a series of design- and construction-themed craft events held in the CHOC patient playrooms. The subcontractors involved with the scope of work being highlighted during the patient activity also provided volunteer support.

“We created this patient activity program to share with the patients and families at CHOC some information about the new tower that we are building, and to provide an educational, entertaining and therapeutic event for the children who are awaiting surgery, treatments or are recovering in the hospital,” explained Peterson. “It means the world to us to be able to engage the patients in a meaningful activity and to help provide a fun distraction during their hospital stay.”

A few years ago, McCarthy instituted a similar patient event at a Rady Children’s Hospital project in San Diego. Armed with hope, imagination and crayons, approximately 25 young patients of Rady Children's Hospital gathered to colorize a 4-foot by 8-foot mural depicting a child's cartoon version of the new $260 million Patient Care Pavilion that was under construction by McCarthy.

The children, whose ages ranged from toddler to teen, artfully filled in the black and white lines with the guidance of McCarthy construction crew members; all of whom were actively engaged in the construction of the new five-story, 279,000-square-foot healthcare facility.

The final, colored version of the mural was photographed and produced into a giant 8-foot by 16-foot laminated sign that was mounted in front of the construction site for public display.

“Allowing our construction crew members to have firsthand interaction with these severely ill or injured children brought new meaning to our mission of building this much-needed facility,” said Steve Van Dyke, project director for McCarthy. "Many of our workers have kids themselves and can relate to San Diego parents' desire to know their children will receive first-rate urgent care should they ever need it.”

At Torrance Memorial Medical Center (TMMC) where McCarthy is building a new $450 million Patient Tower, McCarthy recently teamed with TMMC construction personnel and pediatric burn unit patients to create mini renditions of the new hospital patient tower using LEGOS® and to mark the tower’s final concrete pour. The event took place in view of the project site where construction of the 398,350-square-foot project is underway.

McCarthy workers joined the young five- and six-year-old patients, donning construction gear and hard hats, to help with their building efforts. The workers invited the patients to give the command via two-way radio to complete the final concrete pour on the seventh-story deck – the top level of the new patient tower. McCarthy also donated several sets of LEGOS® to the pediatric unit to help keep young patients entertained during their hospitalization.

“I have two daughters, ages five and two, who were both born at Torrance Memorial, and I have lived in Torrance my whole life,” said McCarthy Senior Project Manager Erik Chessmore. “It was the highlight of my day to take some time off to share construction information and to help these young patients create a hospital tower using LEGOS®. Given the challenges these kids are currently facing, it was great to see them enjoying themselves.”

The aforementioned community outreach events were not only enjoyable activities for the patients, but they also:

  • Created a positive image of the construction activity within the local community,
  • Provided anticipation for the new facility,
  • Encouraged teamwork among the project team members and various stakeholders,
  • Created stronger bonds between the various entities involved, and
  • Helped to develop leadership abilities and new skills for the volunteers.

McCarthy employees in Southern California also put their building talents and other personal and professional skills to use on various additional philanthropic building projects throughout the community this year. 

“By employing a strategic employee volunteer program that is aligned with the company’s mission and core values, we not only help the communities we serve, but we also forge stronger relationships with our clients and business partners and we create a positive image for our clients’ projects,” explained McCarthy Pacific Region President Randy Highland. “It’s truly a community building effort and a win-win opportunity for everyone involved.”

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