Quality General Inc.
- Written by: Molly Shaw
- Produced by: Victor Martins
- Estimated reading time: 4 mins
For Quality General Inc. (QGI), high-quality concrete and masonry service is more than a name; it’s a way of life. Based in Aiea, Hawaii, QGI has been serving Oahu since 1969, setting the standard in commercial, state and government concrete flatwork and masonry.
“Our company really believes in assembling great talent,” says Ryan Wada, former president and now treasurer of QGI. “It’s good to surround yourself with like-minded people and that’s what we do here.”
A desire to be the best of the best has been ingrained into the QGI culture since Wada’s father, Stanley Wada, alongside partner Morris Angelo established the business 45 years ago. “When Angelo retired in 1985, we went through a name change, but QGI has always been basically the same company,” says Wada.
Being the family’s second-generation, Wada was born and raised in the construction industry. “I have memories of working for my father as a 10-year-old child in the mid-1970s,” he recounts. “My father threw us onto jobs at 12 or 13 years old. Back then, things weren’t as strict as they are today. My father worked under my uncle’s Ichiro’s Masonry Inc., which in the 1950s was another dominant masonry contractor before he started the business in 1969.”
Eventually assuming his father’s role, Wada served as company president from 2000 to 2013, leading QGI’s team of engineers and superintendents. “I’m transitioning from my role as president into treasurer and eventually chairman,” he reveals. “My sister-in-law, Phyllis Wada, is now our new president and my father currently serves as chairman.”
A family-feel culture has always been the heart of QGI and it’s no surprise the company’s 75 employees are treated as such. “We really search for talented people and when we find them, we keep them, train them and reward them,” assures Wada. “It’s not so much the actual the level of compensation our employees receive, but more so the significant retirement benefits we provide to our employees to ensure they can have retirement security. I’d say there isn’t a construction company in Hawaii that so consistently does what we do with retirement benefits over the years, from 401(k) to profit sharing, safe harbor and ESOP; we really like to give back to our people for all of their tireless work.”
With more than 45 years of industry experience, QGI’s talented team has developed in-house capabilities that Wada says are often few and far between with other companies on the island. “We mainly serve Oahu; we’ll go to the outer islands, as well, but primarily, our business is on Oahu and 75 percent of it is derived from subcontractor contracts,” he notes
As a specialty concrete and masonry subcontractor, QGI offers precision flatwork using state-of-the-art laser screeds to pour the most consistent, flat, level slabs on the island. QGI utilizes Somero laser screeds as part of its equipment fleet. “The ride-on Somero SXD-P and S-SXP laser screeds allow us to pour up to 30,000 square feet a day with better quality and flatness than conventional methods,” explains Wada. “With two large laser screeds within our fleet of equipment, we can provide more reliability in maintaining project schedules.”
The smaller Somero CopperHead laser screed is light weight and allows the laser-guided technology to be used on decks or smaller pours. Supplemented with a concrete delivery truck, concrete boom pumps, hydrostatic finishing machines and Soff-Cut Ultra Early Entry concrete saws, QGI is undoubtedly a leader in Hawaii’s concrete construction industry.
“Technology in the industry has advanced considerably and our laser-guided machine helps us pour and provide higher quality slabs and adherence to higher floor flatness and floor levelness standards than other concrete contractors,” compares Wada. “We’ve laser screeded over 2 million square feet of concrete in Hawaii, which if far more than any other subcontractor on the island. Plenty of guys on the mainland do it, but we’re the prime provider in Oahu.”
Precision service allows QGI to better serve big-name clients from Target to Home Depot, Wal-Mart to Costco and Nordstrom to Walgreen’s. “These big-box stores are running small and large forklifts, so it’s extra important for the slab to be really, truly flat; if it’s not, the machines are more apt to tip over,” says Wada. “With our laser screening technology we can meet higher flatness requirements.”
QGI also holds specialty licenses in all masonry types in civil, residential and commercial projects alike. “We do all types of masonry, from CMU to rock work, keystone, pavers and veneer,” says Wada. “We’re also the only Hydro Mobile [hydraulic mast-climbing platforms] licensed distributor in the state. Hydro Mobile mast-climbing work platforms allow us to set up the safest, fastest and most labor-efficient scaffolding systems available in the masonry industry.”
From big-box commercial stores to military buildings and other commercial projects, concrete and masonry work can be up to 30 percent of the contract amount. Self-performing these services gives QGI the advantage of controlling and accelerating construction schedules, increasing bid advantage and improved overall coordination.
“We’re getting ready to get started on a project for the Coast Guard,” reveals Wada. “The work is coming in, so it’s a matter of finding more of the right people with the right talent to keep our name going strong.” Maintaining a talented team, family-centered culture and building on a 45-yearlong reputation is what makes quality more than just a name for Quality General Inc.
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