Chad Prochaska’s fingerprints are all over some of Dallas’ most historic renovations, from the 89-year-old downtown post office to the 99-year-old former Federal Reserve building—now a data center—on Akard Street.
After 19 years as a project manager at Turner Construction, Prochaska is tackling a new challenge as the Director of Preconstruction with The Beck Group. He made the career change in August 2018. But, it’s not just the opportunity to switch jobs that gets Prochaska’s blood pumping. Talking to him about his professional career, it’s easy to see his passion is volunteering in the community and helping others.
Working at Beck allows him to do both.
“This is a company that I believe in that believes in giving back,” he says. “I’m very proud of Beck’s emphasis on letting me lead.”
Prochaska has done paint, repair, and renovation projects for elderly Dallas residents, organized the Harmony Community Development Corp’s food pantry, and painted murals at the Austin Street Center, a Dallas homeless shelter.
Most of his volunteer work has been through the Dallas Regional Chamber’s Leadership Dallas program. It started when he took the class in 2014, and each year thereafter, Beck took on a larger role. This year, he’s chairing the whole event, coordinating 12 to 15 different agencies and 150 to 200 volunteers for a four-hour giving opportunity.
Through his involvement in DRC Leadership, Prochaska made valuable contacts. For example, a Beck client recognized Prochaska from his days volunteering in DRC Leadership class.
Beck employees also regularly volunteer at the Austin Street Center.
“We go over there as a group, and we will serve dinners,” Prochaska says. “Beck loves it that their employees give back.”
This year, the DRC Leadership calls will focus on Northeast Dallas, where there are pockets of Middle Eastern refugees, homeless residents, and other serious needs. Volunteers will paint, build, and meet with refugees to provide additional assistance.
“There’s a true need that people don’t recognize in the heart of Dallas,” Prochaska says. “That has been a big amount of work for me, visiting agencies over the last six months, that will be compressed into one four-hour window.”
Prochaska also enjoys volunteering with Hearts and Hammers, during which he and other volunteers refurbish old homes in need of repairs. The typical homeowner benefitting from this charity is a widow whose home has fallen into disrepair since her husband died.
“It’s the greatest thing when the homeowner would come out, and they’re crying,” Prochaska says. “It feels so good that we’re doing real good quality work.”
Oftentimes, Hearts and Hammers finds the people through code enforcement, and volunteers make it clear they are there to help.
“You’re not offenders to us,” he says. “You’re someone we want to help.”
Prochaska’s new position at Beck also affords him other chances to elevate the community. Preconstruction is all about determining the budget and feasibility of a project before ground is broken.
“We do all types of construction, but it doesn’t leave the office without my blessing or approval,” he says.
He made it a point to drop the term “subcontractor,” from the lexicon at Beck, believing the term denotes subservience. Instead he refers to the group as trade contractors. Prochaska’s office helps line up the various trade groups for each job, and he takes pride in hiring minority or historically underutilized contractors.
“We will work to create packages so that they can get some of our work,” he says.
Whether he’s designing a high-end finish-out for a lawyer’s office or installing a wheelchair ramp for a disabled senior, Prochaska says he takes pride in everything he does.
He remembers telling his children, “I was part of it, but my part helped make it beautiful.”
Leadership Dallas, the flagship program of the Dallas Regional Chamber for leadership development, is aimed at increasing the leadership pool for community activities in the Dallas area. Visit dallaschamber.org for more information.