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Earth Day 2015: Making a Difference in Oakland

Nicole La


On April 22, 2015, TEECOM organized an Earth Day event that brought together over twenty firms (150 volunteers!) from the Architecture Engineering Construction (AEC) industry across the Bay Area to clean and enhance Lafayette Square Park in Oakland, CA. Our goals included:

  1. Provide a safe, clean, and inviting park that the community (and children) can enjoy
  2. Cultivate sustainable park maintenance that City of Oakland workers can manage
  3. Bring the community (City of Oakland officials, dignitaries, students) and the AEC industry together
  4. Plant a bee-friendly garden that provides an environment for bees to thrive
  5. Have fun while giving back to the community!

As architects, engineers, and contractors we are the teams that come together to plan, design, and build our community, so it was refreshing and rewarding to take a day to work together to give back to this park.

TEECOM Hearts OaklandTEECOM Hearts Oakland

Oakland often gets a bad rap compared to its sister city, San Francisco, but if you ask anyone at TEECOM you’ll hear nothing but love for this thriving city by the Bay. When planning our annual Earth Day event, TEECOM leaned on the City of Oakland and local neighborhood groups to coordinate a day where we can truly make a difference in our community. Victoria (Tora) Rocha, from the City of Oakland, and her entire team were instrumental in creating a seamless, safe, and productive event. When working with Tora, you could feel her passion for this city. She was immensely grateful for TEECOM’s dedication to making the community a better place. This support from the city reminds us why we all love working in Oakland and why more businesses should consider making Oakland their home.

One of our sponsors, Nic Barbera, ESA, could not of said it any better: “I recently moved to California, and found myself believing the rumors and stigma surrounding Oakland. It wasn’t until I spent time in the City and surrounding area, and experienced the Earth Day 2015 event, that I realized how much each individual cares for this city. For me, the rumors are false and the stigma is incorrect…watching everyone feel like they were giving back or helping someone feel better about the park that they play in or walk-through everyday was reason enough to disprove what I have heard. Oakland is a beautiful city and I was honored to be a part of cleaning up only a small portion of one of its parks.”

Giving Back to Make a Real Difference in OaklandGiving Back

At TEECOM, being able to give back to the community goes beyond our annual Earth Day event. It is something that we strive to do everyday, both big and small. By providing giving back opportunities such as Earth Day, we are able to give our employees a purpose beyond the day to day work activities that allow them to make an impact in their community. This sense of purpose enables our employees to connect to their community, create positive working environments, and encourage our employees to go above and beyond for our clients.

Our goal is to not only provide giving back opportunities for everyone at TEECOM, but for us to extend our impact throughout the AEC industry and be a role model for other companies to join us in our quest to make a difference. One of our sponsors, Pardeep Jhutti from KPW Engineers, said, “This was such a rewarding and awesome event! Great people, food, weather, and cause. Really enjoyed giving back and appreciate being a part of it.”

Seeing the Difference – Before and After

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Thank You to Our Sponsors

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We want to send a special thank you to all of the firms that made this event possible. With the help of our sponsors, we were able to plant 130 drought resistant plants, distribute 10 yards of turf topdressing, and replace 18 garbage cans at Lafayette Square Park. Thank you City of OaklandOld Oakland Neighbors, DE Pride Oakland, BACS (Bay Area Community Services)Shah Kawasaki ArchitectsEwing Foley, Inc.West Cal Technologies Group, Inc.Diversified SystemsRatcliff ArchitectsIntegral GroupWBE Inc.HTNBEnvironmental Science Associates (ESA)KPW Structural EngineersBKF Engineers, and CommScope. Your contributions made a real difference!

Thank You to Our Volunteers

In addition to our sponsors, we also had volunteers from Boiled ArchitectureSandisO’Connor Construction Management Inc.CrestronFree Range Studios, and Vigilent.

Thank You to Our Guests

Last, but certainly not least, we want to thank our two guests Ann Ludwig, Alameda County, Medical Facilities Program Development Manager, GSA and Karina Rivera, Supervisor Wilma Chan Office. Both guests were able to take time out of their busy schedules to come down to the park and speak to our group of volunteers. Having their support encourages us to continue giving back to the wonderful city of Oakland.

Nicole La
Nicole La, Experience Director

As TEECOM's Experience Director, Nicole sets strategy for the firm's hiring, marketing, and internal continuing education efforts. Her focus on the employee and client journey enables TEECOM to continue to evolve toward true innovation.