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By Rebecca Keister
PBN Staff Writer
By Rebecca Keister
PBN Staff Writer
Dennis DiPrete is principal of DiPrete Engineering, a Providence area civil engineering, planning and surveying services firm that recently received an award from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s Rhode Island chapter for raising more than $22,500 for the 25th anniversary of Bike MS, a 150-mile ride, in Rhode last June.
Over the last 10 years, the firm has raised, through its team PT Riders, more than $200,000 to help MS research projects, education programs and needed patient services.
PT Riders is named in honor of DiPrete’s sister-in-law, Pegi Thibaudeau, who has MS and participates in the event.
PBN: Raising awareness on Multiple Sclerosis and research funds obviously has a personal significance for you. Does that make your corporation’s philanthropy more meaningful?
DIPRETE: Absolutely, and that personal attachment really motivates us. When you see someone like my sister-in-law who has MS and facing it with such courage and optimism, you have an incredible drive to want to help her, and others, challenged by the disease.
PBN: How is philanthropy built into your company’s culture?
DIPRETE: At DiPrete engineering, we work as a team with land planners, environmental civil engineers, surveyors, and creative designers on projects. The team relationship goes beyond our clients’ projects and extends into other parts of our lives, including philanthropy. If we see an opportunity where we can use our creativity, energy and human capital to help a cause, an organization or an individual we try to take it on as a team.
PBN: Everyone is busy. How do you encourage employees to give of their time?
DIPRETE: Our firm is extremely fortunate to have a terrific group of colleagues that always want to give 100 percent during and after work. They’re positive, upbeat, and optimistic and they hold one another accountable. For the MS 150 bike ride, the firm matches employee contributions, which gives an extra incentive for people to go out and raise money.
PBN: What, for you personally, is the most rewarding part of this dedication?
DIPRETE: I am impressed that over the past few years my colleagues and many of our clients participated in the Bike MS: Ride the Rhode event and in our golf event. Taken together, we’ve been able to raise more than $200,000 and increase awareness for this cause. But more importantly, the greatest reward is seeing how such a difficult disease that confronts hundreds of thousands of Americans has the ability to inspire others like the people on DiPrete’s PT Riders team who give their time and energy in the fight against MS.
PBN: What other charities do you support through your company and personally?
DIPRETE: DiPrete Engineering was founded in 1988 and has always been involved in one or two important causes. Over the past few years, we’ve been involved with several organizations around New England. In addition to the MS Society of Rhode Island, we have participated with, or helped sponsor events with, Habitat for Humanity, Thundermist Health Center, the Rhode Island Blood Center, the Comprehensive Community Action Program, and Children’s Friend. On a more personal level, I am active with Bradley Hospital and also serve of the boards of Ocean Tides School and GrowSmartRI.