Harris Employee-Owners Continue Tradition of Volunteering with Habitat for Humanity

Vern Phillips Embarks on International Trip

California Corporate Social Responsibility

  • Harris employee-owner Vern Phillips and volunteers at Habitat for Humanity International trip to Thailand
  • The new homeowners and volunteers gather in front of the newly constructed home
  • Habitat for Humanity International trip to Thailand
  • Habitat for Humanity International trip to Thailand

    Concord, CA -

    Lampang, Thailand –The day after Christmas is usually a welcome day of calm after the frenetic preparations of the holiday. However, for eight intrepid volunteer workers, it was just the start of frenetic preparations for leaving the U.S. and traveling to Lampang, Thailand to help a family build a home with Habitat for Humanity.

    Many Harris & Associates employees have donated their time and skills to Habitat projects in the past, and Harris helped sponsor two teams to travel to New Orleans for the post-Katrina rebuilds. This was Vern Phillips’ first international Habitat build, however, and although it’s a long way to go to spend a vacation carrying block and mortar, the cross-cultural experience made it all well worth it.

    Vern’s team members included his brother Gene and six members of First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley. There were a wide variety of skills on the team and everyone found something excelled in. The team produced a good-looking building after only 10 days of work. Since Vern’s brother Gene is a plumbing contractor, he and Vern were assigned the work to dig the seven-foot deep septic tank.

    As with all Habitat projects, the new home owners contribute their own time and resources as part of the “sweat equity” to pay for the house. Dang, the husband; Sakorn, his wife; and their two children, all helped with the daily chores. It was very special seeing the joy in their faces as the concrete floors were poured and the block walls went up.

    The trip was not all work, and the group had plenty of time to visit the hill tribes of Northern Thailand and even ride an elephant.  A couple-day layover in Beijing on the way back was the icing on the cake and allowed for time to see the Imperial Palace and play Frisbee on the Great Wall.

    About Harris

    Harris is a 100% employee-owned company focused on solving today's complex challenges in planning, construction and design. Our offices and project sites span the West Coast in California, Nevada and Washington with a staff of nearly 200 employee-owners. We focus on serving clients in the municipal, water, transportation, and education markets.

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    Nathan M. Couch / Director, Marketing + Communications

    925.827.4900, ext. 1125

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