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Built to Last


Q&D Construction's Norm Dianda

Norm Dianda of Q&D Construction consults with a crew member on a construction project

Q&D Construction, a Nevada Chapter AGC member, started in 1964 with a $650 kitchen remodel on Crampton St. in Reno, Nev. And true to the pride in his work from the company’s first day, Norm Dianda, founder of the company, still knows, a half century later, how that kitchen is holding up.

“She still lives in that house,” said Dianda of the homeowner.

Q&D Construction has gone on to build hospitals, casinos, universities, shopping centers and airport terminals across the West. This year, the company will celebrate a half century of business, and a legacy of long-lasting relationships that stretch from the homeowner who cut the company its first $650 check to casino magnates Steve Wynn and Bill Harrah, and corporations like Southwest Airlines and Scheels.

Q&D’s first big break came in 1966, when the two-year-old construction company landed a construction job from Bill Harrah, the gaming visionary who put Reno and Tahoe casinos on the map.

Harrah tasked Q&D with a project that involved cutting through two, 4-ft-wide brick walls to tie into the casino’s coin room in the basement of Harrah’s downtown Reno casino.

As Q&D began working on the job, the construction manager walked up to Dianda and said, “If you do a good job here you will work for Harrah’s for a long time.”

Q&D Construction worked with Harrah’s for the next 40-plus years, remodeling casinos and hotel towers in Reno for a casino owner known for his fairness and loyalty.

From those early days, Harrah and Dianda shared similar business philosophies in their loyalty to customers, their attention to detail and their dedication to building things that would last.

“If you are going to be in business you have to be profitable. But at the same time you need to be fair, honest and upfront. And you have to give the customer the value for the dollar he is spending,” said Dianda of the business lessons he learned over the last 50 years. “The customer comes first.”

One of the unique things about Q&D Construction is the variety of skills and services it provides. While the company started out as a construction outfit, Q&D soon added a high-end mill manufacturing arm — Artefice Architectural Millwork — to the company. Soon it seemed Q&D could do anything. They built bridges and completed road projects. They built multi-million-dollar luxury lakefront homes at Lake Tahoe. Earthwork, paving, building, custom homes, hospitals and shopping centers — the company grew its capabilities to do everything from underground earthwork to custom finishes for the most discerning customers.

Each new service was developed with an attention to detail, and a mastery of the skill and customer service needs to deliver the highest quality.

“When I learned the trade as a cabinetmaker, I was always a perfectionist,” said Dianda. I learned the motto, ‘What’s good enough is not good enough.’ Whether it is a high-end mill job or a pipe job, Q&D Construction always does it first class.”

As Q&D Construction grew, the company dedicated to giving back to its Northern Nevada home. Norm Dianda’s philosophy on philanthropy is simple: “You have got to give back where you receive. There are a lot of worthy causes out there, and you try to support as many of them as you can.”

In addition to monetary donations and in-kind contributions, the company has contributed to building some projects that have helped families and built the Northern Nevada community — places like the Golden Eagle sports complex, the Discovery Museum for children, and the Bishop Manogue High School.

“You may never see any result from your giving yourself. But these are things that grow your community and the future,” said Dianda.

After 50 years at the helm of Q&D Construction, Dianda took a step back from the company. He is still chairman of the company’s board, but he made his two sons, Chris and Mike, managing directors. This next generation of Diandas, along with COO Lance Semenko, will take Q&D into the future.

Both sons grew up in the company, sweeping the shop floors and cleaning out flower beds in front of the office as youth, before growing into management roles at Q&D. They know the company inside and out, and the recent economic recession has taught them to never stop innovating, and to be prepared for anything.

“Everybody knows construction is very cyclical. We never forget it,” said Mike Dianda. “This recession taught us to be prepared for anything.”

Before the recession, Q&D operated almost exclusively in a 65-mile radius around Reno. Now the company’s reach extends to Montana, where it’s building a Scheels sporting goods store, and several western states, where it’s constructing Southwest Airlines terminals. Q&D Construction views these two companies as the next generation of long-term clients, similar to what Harrah’s and St. Mary’s Hospital represented in the past.

Like all good companies, Q&D Construction is re-inventing itself while staying true to the company values that made it successful in the first place. And as it continues to build its business across the West, Q&D Construction remains firmly connected to its roots — roots that date back to a single kitchen in a modest house in downtown Reno.

“Maybe the majority of our work will not be in Reno in the future, but Reno will always be our home base,” said Mike Dianda. “This will always be our home.”