Q&A with Principal & Healthcare Market Leader, Mark Stringer

Mark Stringer, LEED AP, HFDP, is a highly experienced MEP engineering Principal with over 40 years of expertise in the field. Throughout his career, Mark has demonstrated a deep commitment to quality and a focus on understanding the client’s needs. He has consistently delivered successful solutions for a wide range of clients, with a focus on the healthcare industry during the last 30 years.

With his wealth of experience in the design of HVAC, plumbing, and fire protection systems, and his dedication to staying current with the latest industry trends and advancements, Mark is a trusted leader in the healthcare engineering community. His extensive design experience includes outside air ventilation, humidity control, and anti-mold design, and a specific knowledge of the pressurization requirements associated with isolation rooms and operating rooms.

Mark is known for following through on his commitments and remaining true to his word. In his free time, he enjoys traveling and he plays golf whenever he can.


Q&A with Mark:


Q: What are some best practices you have used to develop excellent client relationships? How do you serve as an advocate for your clients and deliver them a successful project?

A: Communication is key! Listen to the client’s needs and try to exceed their expectations. We work with many different personalities in this industry but the common factor is generally that people want to be heard and respected. I try to keep an open mind and not go into meetings with preconceived notions regarding solutions, systems, or system types. I do provide the client with the advantages and disadvantages so that when a decision is made the potential ramifications are known.

Q: As a leader in the Healthcare + Lab market, what do you see as key opportunities in the near future?

A: The resources now available with DBR along with the expertise in healthcare that we bring to the table will allow us to tap into new clients and new markets. The healthcare experience and presence in Houston, Austin, San Antonio, and El Paso will open doors for more opportunities.

Q: What have you found yourself focusing on most during the last few months given the current industry challenges and what kind of development is the Dallas market experiencing?

A: The most recent challenges have been related to supply chain issues and long lead times for equipment. We have worked with clients in preparing early release packages to mitigate the long lead times but also have stayed in touch with vendors and manufacturers to understand their issues driving long lead times and work around them where possible. Dallas continues to be a diverse market and healthcare design and construction remain strong.


Have questions? Give Mark a call:
Mark Stringer, LEED AP, HFDP
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Baylor University Medical Center Emergency Department

DBR worked with Freeman White/T. Howard Associates to provide mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineering design services for the $47 million expansion and renovation of the Riggs Emergency Department on the main campus of Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Texas.

This expansion/renovation tripled the size of the department from 25,000 square feet to 75,000 square feet.  The project included adding 70 new treatment rooms, three radiology rooms, two CT scanners, and a 4-bay trauma room to the Level 1 Trauma Center. The footprint divides the department into functional zones and care team areas. The support areas are located within the center of each zone. The division of the floor into zones provides the ideal environment for efficient and effective patient care.

The newly expanded emergency department offers advanced technology, equipment, and services to support both routine and trauma care:

  • Electronic medical records with physician order entry
  • Two CT scans – one a 64-slice CT
  • Four radiology suites
  • Ultrasound within the department
  • Centralized telemetry
  • On-site lab
  • Stat scan for trauma patients
  • Disaster preparedness components including decontamination rooms, containment rooms, a command center, and showers for biological agents.

The need for immediate access to imaging equipment led to the incorporation of a Lodox Stat Scan between the two sets of trauma bays as well as digital imaging installed on overhead railing systems in the four trauma spaces.

This expansion gave Baylor the opportunity to broaden its trauma capabilities, expand its minor emergency care center, and add additional patient care areas.

Have questions? Give Mark a call:
Mark Stringer, LEED AP, HFDP
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Meet DBR’s Newest Associates

At the end of 2022, two employees were named Senior Associate, and seven employees were named Associate. We at DBR would like to congratulate and thank these team members for their exceptional performance! Together they demonstrate their unwavering commitment to excellence and service to our clients.

“At the end of the day, the real difference between DBR and other consulting engineering firms is our people. Each of these individuals we have recognized as Associates have demonstrated exceptional commitment to serving our clients and their colleagues. We have great people, and therefore our clients get the best service.”

– Brian Uhlrich, CEO


Greenhill School – Valdes STEM + Innovation Center

Greenhill School has provided a rigorous college-preparatory curriculum to students in the Dallas area since 1950. Today, the private school in Addison, Texas serves approximately 1,350 students in Pre-K through 12th grades. When Greenhill recognized the need for a modern facility to teach and inspire students in the areas of science, engineering, technology, and mathematics they went to architecture firm, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson. The result is the new 52,000-square-foot Valdes STEM + Innovation Center.

“This new STEM facility will help our students become innovators, entrepreneurs, collaborators, and problem solvers, as they pursue exciting new pathways in science, technology, engineering, and math.”

– Lee Hark, Greenhill Head of School

DBR began work on the design of the new facility in May of 2021. We were excited to help Greenhill to meet their goal to create a state-of-the-art STEM learning facility with a low carbon footprint. The Valdes Center is intended to inspire innovation and therefore the building itself was intended to be a model of innovative, progressive design. The new facility features a mass timber structure, which significantly reduces the embodied carbon of the structure and provides opportunities to expose the structure. Exposing the structure also lead to some interesting opportunities with the MEP systems.

A raised floor system is featured throughout most of the building, allowing for the exposure of the wood structure overhead. Underfloor air distribution is used, which allows for efficient air distribution and the maximum number of temperature control zones. The raised floor plenum is used to route electrical conduits, plumbing piping, and low-voltage cabling for data, AV, and security systems.

A shop space was created in the building for various technical curriculum opportunities. Transformers were provided to deliver 230V and 240V power to specific equipment loads. Compressed air and dust collection systems were provided with outlets throughout the shop.

Audio-visual systems were provided to inspire and enable student presentations. Flexible AV presentation spaces feature mobile interactive displays, local sound systems, wireless connectivity, and local AV controls.

The existing fiber optic cable plant on the site was routed through the footprint of the new building. We provided new underground duct banks to re-route the cable plant and extended the fiber cabling to the existing MDF rooms and to the new building to allow integration of the telecom and fire alarm systems with Greenhill’s existing networks. The main electrical equipment is located in the basement of the building. Due to the potential risk of flooding, our team coordinated with the construction team to detail the sealing of wall penetrations and the use of water-tight conduits, turning the basement into a storm shelter. A standby generator set was provided with an enclosure to meet ICC 500 requirements.

Energy-efficient equipment and systems were prioritized to minimize the operational carbon footprint of the building. The predicted EUI for the Valdes Center is 14.6 kBTU/sf/yr. This represents a 73% improvement over the minimum energy code requirements. Solar thermal collectors are provided to supplement the domestic water heating load. Solar photovoltaic modules are also provided to offset a portion of the building’s electricity. A high-efficiency air-cooled chiller charges an ice bank thermal storage system which is used to reduce the peak electrical demand.

The excitement is building at Greenhill School for the completion of the Valdes STEM + Innovation Center later this year. We are proud of our efforts to reduce the carbon emissions associated with this facility as an example to the students and the community.


Development Team

Owner Greenhill School
Architect Bohlin Cywinski Jackson
MEP Engineer DBR Engineering Consultants, Inc.


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DBR Announces Leadership Transition

January 1, 2023 – DBR Engineering Consultants, Inc. has exciting news regarding a leadership transition. After just celebrating its 50th Anniversary, we are pleased to announce that Brian Uhlrich will serve as the new Chief Executive Officer and Brian Jenkins will serve as President | Chief Operating Officer.

“It is no secret that Brian Uhlrich and Brian Jenkins have helped me run the Firm since the Founder, David Day, retired in 2012. The great tradition of Service, Quality, Integrity, and Sustainability will continue and thrive in their capable hands.”

– Randy Curry, Chairman of the Board

David W. Day founded the Firm in 1972 and retired in 2012. Randy Curry was President and CEO from 2005 to 2022. He will remain with the Firm as Chairman of the Board.

Brian Uhlrich has been with DBR since 1995 and was named Partner in 2002. Brian Jenkins started with the Firm in 1996 and was named Partner in 2004.

DBR has grown from a single office in Houston to a 170-employee state-wide Firm with offices in Houston, San Antonio, Austin, McAllen, Dallas, El Paso, and most recently, Laredo.

Randy Curry
Chairman of the Board
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Brian Uhlrich
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Brian Jenkins
President | COO
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DBR Increases Healthcare Capabilities with Acquisition of SWA



DBR Engineering Consultants, Inc. Increases Healthcare Capabilities with Acquisition of SW Associates Consulting Engineers, Inc.


December 31, 2022 – Over the past 50 years, DBR Engineering Consultants, Inc. (DBR) has established a reputation across Texas as a premier mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineering firm. DBR has made a major investment in its healthcare engineering capabilities through the acquisition of SW Associates Consulting Engineers, Inc. (SWA).

“We are excited about our increased presence in the healthcare market, and we are particularly excited about joining forces with a firm that has such an outstanding reputation. Under the leadership of Mark Stringer, LEED AP, HFDP and Mike Ashcraft, PE, LEED AP, CxA, SWA has developed a culture much like ours and has demonstrated a commitment to similar values. Our charge is to continue to provide the same commitment to quality engineering work and great customer service while continuing to remain focused on the growth of our employees.” said Randy Curry, PE, President & Chief Executive Officer of DBR Engineering Consultants, Inc.

In addition to the expanded expertise in the healthcare market, the acquisition increases DBR’s footprint in North Texas by adding more than 20 new employees to the Dallas office.

About DBR Engineering Consultants, Inc. (DBR): Founded in 1972, DBR Engineering Consultants, Inc. has evolved into the premier MEP engineering firm in Texas, providing mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineering services, as well as building commissioning, integrated technology, and security system consulting. For more information, please visit www.dbrinc.com.

About SW Associates Consulting Engineers, Inc. (SWA): SW Associates Consulting Engineers, Inc. is a leading mechanical, electrical, and plumbing consulting engineering firm with a focus on sustainable, energy efficient designs while providing the best life cycle value for healthcare clients throughout the U.S. For more information, please visit www.swaengineers.com.



The McKinley at Memorial City – Apartments & Retail

DBR Engineering worked with Ziegler Cooper Architects on a 25-story, 886,563-square-foot multifamily and retail development in Memorial City, on Houston’s West Side. The McKinley houses a collection of luxury rental residences with views of Downtown Houston, The Galleria, and Memorial City. The building accommodates 278 city-view apartments atop a concealed 855-car garage and 15,000 square feet of retail space.

DBR provided mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection engineering services for the entire project which included design for the apartment residences, penthouses, lobby and administrative areas, and amenity spaces. DBR’s services also included core & shell MEPF engineering for spaces designated for future retail.  The HVAC systems consist of DX split systems with dedicated outside air systems.  A diesel engine 1-megawatt generator provides emergency power for the fire pump, elevators, and life safety systems.  Hot water for the residents is generated by 16 natural gas-fired tankless water heaters located in a penthouse equipment room.

The residential units boast a wide range of luxury features including 10-foot ceilings with floor-to-ceiling windows, spacious kitchens with gas range cooktops and dry bar, premium quartz countertops, luxury wood-like flooring, built-in Bluetooth speakers, and a private terrace featuring outdoor grilling area.

Amenities for the residencies range from concierge service, valet parking, dry cleaning, bike storage with a fix-it station, and a pet friendly dog park and washing station. The 8th floor has a 5,600-square-foot indoor amenity area that houses the library, premier fitness club, clubroom with golf and sports simulator, indoor lounge bar, private wine storage, and over 10,000 square feet of outdoor space with a sun terrace, grilling and entertainment area, and a pool deck with tanning ledge and private cabanas, all exclusively for residents.

Development Team

Owner Slate Real Estate Partners
Architect Ziegler Cooper Architects
General Contractor Anslow Bryant Construction
Civil Consultant WGA Consulting Engineers
MEP Engineer DBR Engineering Consultants, Inc.
Structural Viewtech


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Elevator Design Coordination and Best Practices

Research Forest Lakeside Bldg 5: Repsol | Ziegler Cooper Architects | The Woodlands, Texas

Elevators are a single building component that involves just about every design discipline and construction trade. Coordination of all elements during design requires a deliberate effort by the design team. Coordination with the structural engineer is the most obvious and typically takes place very early, but elevators and their associated equipment also require coordination with mechanical, electrical, plumbing, fire protection, fire alarm, and telecommunications systems.

A number of codes govern the construction of elevators, their shafts, and associated components. Building and fire codes govern fire protection, fire-rating requirements, and smoke control for occupant safety. The American Society of Mechanical Engineers publishes ASME A17.1 – Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators. This standard is the code by which state-authorized elevator inspectors examine installations to verify proper installation, maintainability, and safe operation. Local authorities and utility providers regulate drainage and discharge of sump drains. The National Electric Code (NEC) has regulations relating to all electrical components.

Below are a few items to keep in mind for the coordination of the elevator on your next project:

What does machine room-less really mean? All major elevator manufacturers are offering machine room-less (MRL) systems. These systems eliminate the need for a separate room to house hydraulic pumps, control panels, etc. However, they do present some challenges. The controller must still be located so that it is accessible and maintainable. The equipment still requires ventilation or cooling. Each manufacturer has specific requirements for providing power and maintenance access to the equipment. Space must be provided for fused switches, the transformer, the telephone interface, and the fire alarm interface. Consult with the elevator manufacturer’s recommendations for acceptable locations and with the MEP engineer for space requirements.

Hoistway pressurization: Pressurization of hoistways is required in high-rise buildings if rated elevator lobbies are not constructed on each of the connected floors. If pressurization is preferred rather than the fire-rating of elevator lobbies, ventilation and relief air paths must be coordinated.

Hoistway electrical requirements: GFCI receptacles, light fixtures, and a light switch are required in the elevator pit. MRL systems require a GFCI receptacle, light fixtures, a light switch, and a motor disconnect switch located at the top of the shaft.

Sump pump requirements: Sump pumps are required in almost every case. Sump pits must be coordinated with the structural engineer to accommodate the pump and prevent interference with the elevator. For hydraulic elevators, coordinate with local jurisdictions on whether an oil separator is required, and where the discharge of the sump pump is permitted, usually sanitary sewer.

Emergency power: Emergency power is required to operate elevators in high-rises and other specific applications. When required, power must automatically transfer to the backup power source for each elevator and all associated systems including lighting and HVAC for shafts and machine rooms. An LED indicator light is required by each individual elevator or bank of elevators to illuminate when operating on emergency power.

Lockton Place | Ziegler Cooper Architects | Houston, Texas

Power supply: Power requirements for the specified elevator must match the available voltage for the building. The most common voltages are 480 volt 3-phase and 208 volt 3-phase. The electrical engineer will need to know the voltage, motor horsepower, and fault current rating during design. An elevator control module that includes a fused disconnect switch, shunt trip, and fire alarm interface is required to serve power to the elevator controller. A fused, lockable disconnect is required for each elevator for elevator cab lighting. The location of power delivery varies with the manufacturer and elevator type and must be coordinated. Elevator equipment is often selected with the lowest possible fault current rating to minimize cost. If a higher fault current rating is required because of the electrical service and distribution, there are two options: either a higher fault current rating must be specified for the elevator equipment, or a transformer must be provided in the electrical system design. When changing an elevator specification or considering a substitution, it is important to keep in mind that the electrical requirements may differ and the cost of the electrical changes must be accounted for.

HVAC: Independent ventilation and/or air-conditioning is required to keep elevator equipment in safe operating conditions. ASME A17.1 requires that elevator equipment be maintained at temperatures between 55°F and 90°F with relative humidity no greater than 80%, or as specifically required by the manufacturer. This requirement applies whether the equipment is in a dedicated equipment room or in the shaft, as with MRL elevators. In unconditioned buildings, such as parking structures, the shaft itself must be conditioned to protect the equipment.

Fire protection and fire alarm: Elevator shafts and machine rooms must have fire sprinklers if the building has an automatic fire sprinkler system, with some exceptions for noncombustible construction. Smoke detectors are required in the elevator lobby on each floor the elevator serves. Fire alarm devices are required in the shaft depending on the exact project conditions.

Telecommunications: Elevators are required to have a dedicated analog phone line for communication within the cab capable of both incoming calls and outgoing calls. Wireless communications may be used if outside lines are not available.

Energy saving systems: Many elevators are available with regenerative energy systems which convert the kinetic energy of the cab descending into electrical power that can be used in the building, similar to the braking systems in most hybrid and electric cars. The characteristics of the specific elevator(s) must be coordinated with the building power system and emergency backup system. A load bank may be required to absorb power generated by an elevator operating in an emergency scenario, such as a power outage or fire.

To coordinate all the items described above, it is best to begin early. We recommend requesting comprehensive information from the elevator manufacturer. The guide below can be used as a reference for the requirements of various types of elevators. If you have additional questions, feel free to reach out to us.

D. Zac Morton, PE, LEED AP
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C.B. Gilbert III, PE
Electrical Practice Area Leader
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Brazoswood CTE Center Delivers Students to Success

DBR Engineering worked with VLK Architects on the newly constructed Brazoswood High School Career & Technical Education (CTE) Center in Clute, Texas for Brazosport ISD. The 91,000-square-foot facility includes classrooms, laboratories, and program spaces for culinary arts, welding, manufacturing, veterinary technology, floral design, health sciences, information technology, and general STEM education. The building also features a business lab, a cosmetology lab, and a broadcasting studio.

DBR provided MEP Engineering, Security, Technology, AV Consulting, and Building Commissioning services for the new CTE Center. DBR has recently performed engineering services for a new 51,000-square-foot multi-sport Fieldhouse and additions and renovations to the existing 300,000-square-foot high school, all located on the same site.

The Exhibition Hall, running throughout the building, showcases student projects and awards. This space can host a variety of events that are catered by culinary arts students. The students also operate the Culinary Arts Bistro. High-bay spaces with connecting overhead doors are provided for Rocketry, Robotics, and STEM labs.

Designed through VLK | LAUNCH®, students, teachers, community members, and administrators came together to develop the conceptual design of this learning environment. The design embodies the intended “Education with Purpose” empowerment, and it now serves 2,800 students with a focus on career success.

Development Team

Owner Brazosport ISD
Architect VLK Architects
General Contractor Stewart Builders, Inc.
MEP Engineer DBR Engineering Consultants, Inc.
Structural Engineer Matrix Structural
Civil Engineer Kaluza Inc.


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Q&A with Project Manager, Chase Collins

Chase Collins, PE, LEED Green Associate serves as a Project Manager at DBR, managing a team of engineers and coordinating with other consultants to deliver projects for our clients.  Since starting with DBR in 2014, Chase has developed a wide range of project experience including K-12 educational facilities, commercial office buildings, and a variety of civic and public buildings. Chase holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Texas A&M University and is a licensed engineer in Texas.

As a LEED Green Associate, Chase has developed an understanding of sustainable design practices.  He is skilled in advanced energy modeling and he promotes the use of innovative solutions to create healthy buildings and net zero ready facilities.

Chase has been involved in many organizations including the US Green Building Council (USGBC), the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), and the Association for Learning Environments (A4LE).

In his free time, Chase enjoys spending time with his family and the adventures that come with being a girl dad. When time permits, Chase enjoys woodworking, building/modifying computers, and baking for family and friends.

Chase’s positive attitude, wealth of knowledge, and readiness to help others, whether a mechanical design question or really any topic (he seems to know something about everything), make him a valued leader at DBR.


Q&A with Chase:


Q: What have you found yourself focusing on most during the last few months given the current industry challenges and what kind of development is the K-12 market experiencing? What do you see as key opportunities in the near future?

A: With current equipment lead times and rising costs, there has been a greater need for additional coordination for project phasing and timeline. Our teams have been getting involved earlier in the design process to assist with planning project schedules to accommodate equipment delivery lead times. We have also been performing more building assessments to determine the age and condition of existing equipment so that our clients can plan for ongoing maintenance and needed capital improvements.

We work with many fast-growing school districts that are building new schools.  But many K-12 school districts have aging facilities.  Improving older schools to provide more healthy and comfortable learning spaces is a big opportunity.  We try to design MEP systems to maximize energy efficiency, reduce operating costs, and simplify maintenance so that our clients can keep school buildings operating well to serve the community.

Q: What are some best practices you have used to develop excellent client relationships? How do you serve as an advocate for your clients and deliver them a successful project?

A: My job as a consultant is to listen to the client and owner and to help get an understanding of the needs of the project. Being attentive to the client and helping provide solutions to the problems at hand is an important part of developing a relationship. Combining the owner’s objectives for a project with our design expertise allows us to guide the team in the right direction to develop a successful project.

Q: What are some proven methodologies you have used to ensure DBR delivers projects that go above and beyond our client’s expectations?

A: The collective wealth of knowledge and experience within our firm is an invaluable tool. For most issues that arise on a project, someone in our firm has created a solution for a similar situation on past projects.  When we face new challenges it’s great to be able to brainstorm ideas and consider new approaches.  Sharing our collective experience makes our firm better, and so far there isn’t a problem that we have not been able to handle.

Q: What is a project you have worked on that you are most proud of?

A: I worked on a new natatorium for Cy-Fair ISD early in my design career which is still one of my favorite projects and experiences. It was one of my first projects to take the lead on mechanical design and it was the first natatorium I had ever done. I spent a lot of time discussing with senior engineers and researching natatorium designs. We wanted to take a new approach to ways we had designed in the past, so a lot of time and energy went into researching equipment for the project. Each step along the way was something new and I was able to apply what I learned to a few more natatoriums I worked on after that.


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Cy-Fair ISD – Jim & Pam Wells Elementary School | Texas-IBI Group | Cypress, Texas


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