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Thought Leadership
Healthcare
Oklahoma City

Building Community with Oklahoma Children’s Hospital

At JE Dunn, community building does not start, or end, with the work done on any given project site. Instead, it extends into every facet of the places JE Dunn teammates live and build in as they strive to be authentic community members.

When JE Dunn first partnered with Oklahoma Children’s Hospital OU Health on renovations to the pediatric intensive care unit in 2018, Ali Sanderson was on the job.

For two years, the then project manager and her team witnessed the level of care hospital staff provided patients and their families. What she saw hit close to home and made an impression on JE Dunn’s commitment to community involvement in Oklahoma to this day.

“At the time I’d just come off maternity leave with my first child,” Ali, the now Senior Project Manager, said. “Throughout construction, I was very aware that if something were to happen to my child, the building we were working on is where we would go to receive care. The staff we interacted with daily were the people I would trust to help us.”

JE Dunn’s Oklahoma City Office opened in 2008 with a commitment to building inspiring places that would help the state grow and flourish. Despite hardships like the Great Recession and the COVID-19 Pandemic, the State of Oklahoma has experienced exponential levels of population and financial growth since this time – even being named one of the fastest growing economies in the U.S.

As Oklahoma continues to grow, so does its need for true community builders – people who leverage industry leading technology and scale through an authentic lens while preserving what made Oklahoma worth growing in the first place.

“The vast majority of our work is done to improve the community,” Ali adds. “A lot of the healthcare facilities we’re going into are aging or older, and we’re increasing capacity and improving patient care.”

Since 2018, JE Dunn has completed 80 projects for 37 different healthcare facilities across the state – eight of those projects for Oklahoma Children’s Hospital. From systems upgrades to major relocations, renovations, and additions, the local team is invested in meeting the state’s needs.

But at JE Dunn, community building does not start, or end, with the work done on any given project site. Instead, it extends into every facet of the places JE Dunn teammates live and build in as they strive to be authentic community members. JE Dunn’s corporate philanthropy impacts the many markets around the nation where the company builds, investing 10% of net income to nonprofits and empowering employees to make an impact through volunteerism and an employee match program.

“We are part of a very, very tight knit and giving community,” Jentri Whitford, Manager of the Oklahoma Children’s Hospital’s Child Life Zone & Special Events emphasizes. “We’re very lucky to have a lot of the donors that we have, but there’s something very different about partners like JE Dunn.”

Jentri and her coworker Belinda Anderson, Manager of Volunteer Services at Oklahoma Children’s Hospital, have become well acquainted with Ali and the entire JE Dunn team over the past six years. The pair work with JE Dunn on volunteer activities that bring fun and lighthearted moments into young patients’ and their families’ days while receiving care – like haunted hallways, holiday parties, arts and crafts nights, silly costumes, and other magical moments.

While recalling some of their earliest interactions with JE Dunn, Jentri and Belinda describe team members that are always looking for a need to fill, whether that be helping move tables, purchasing much needed supplies, dressing up to make kids smile, building decorations, or sticking around to clean up after a long event.

“They’re just a pure example of a servant’s heart,” Belinda said. “They’re very great at their careers, but there is something else that motivates them in life. It could be the littlest of things, but they jump in without thinking twice.”

For Ali and the rest of the JE Dunn Oklahoma team, volunteering is simply a piece of being a community builder who is trusted to enrich the lives of people where JE Dunn lives, works, and builds.

“If they know and trust us to do the right thing on or off the project site,” Ali adds, “that’s what matters.”

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