- Written by: Molly Shaw
- Produced by: Eric Colby
- Estimated reading time: 4 mins
As one of the last locally owned and operated large-scale contractors in the San Diego area, Reno Contracting (Reno) has built on 20 years in operation by focusing on people, first and foremost. “More than anything else, Reno is about relationships and commitment,” shares Walt Fegley, president of Reno. “People creating excellence in their lives, combined with technical knowledge and dedication, equates to a great construction experience and high quality results.”
Since 1993, Reno has been delivering a well-rounded construction experience, grounded in high-quality results and complete customer satisfaction. “We’re one of the last of the area’s locally owned contractors; everyone else has been bought up,” adds Matt Reno, CEO and founder of Reno. “Over the past 20 years, we’ve built more than $1.8 billion in projects throughout southern California.”
A Self-made Business Man
However, Reno’s billion-dollar progression didn’t happen overnight, in fact, it took 35 years of industry experience and many years working for other companies before Matt was able to establish the company. “I started out in the field in high school as a laborer and carpenter,” recalls Matt. “I worked through the summers to gain more experience and eventually earned a position as a foreman, then a superintendent and finally the director of preconstruction. I worked for a decade or so for other companies before starting my own.”
Matt established Reno in 1993. Over the last two decades, Reno has carved a reputation for quality construction, completing projects on time and on budget, while delivering exemplary leadership and performance. The company has become one of the leading built-to-suit general contractors in southern California, specializing in commercial facilities, such as corporate campuses and buildings, biotech facilities, hospitality, medical and military projects.
Fast-track Completion on a Range of Projects
From design-build construction of notable corporate headquarters to architecturally complex interiors in the health care industry, Reno’s diverse experience sets any project on the fast-track to completion. “Reno encompasses several diversified divisions,” explains Matt. “We’ve entered the solar and energy market, performing energy and water audits over the next five years on 2,500 county of San Diego buildings. We also provide solar PV design and construction services for multiple solar developers throughout California.”
Additionally, Reno has a multifamily division with several sizable jobs in the works, including a $43 million, 400-unit project in San Jose, Calif. “We also have a $90 million, 600-unit job in San Diego,” continues Matt. “We have a huge backlog in the hospitality sector. In fact, we’re one of 10 contractors in the country to have a master contract with Host Marriot.”
However, Reno is best known for the company’s commercial office expertise. “We are well-known for tenant improvement capabilities in the commercial office field,” details Matt. “We have built more commercial office space in San Diego than most contractors combined, but over the last five years that market has dwindled to a trickle at best.”
Rebranding and Remaking in New Markets
When the company’s main market crashed, Reno relied on its diversity to help keep the boat afloat. “We rebranded and moved into new areas successfully; focusing on the hospitality and renewable energy industries,” shares Matt.
In 2009, Reno entered a sizable contract with Sun Edison, a California-based solar developer, to establish the deployment of nearly two megawatts of solar power for the Irvine Unified School District (IUSD) Solar PV project. “As Sun Edison’s partner on the project, Reno’s job was to design and build solar photovoltaic systems at multiple sites within IUSD,” notes Matt. “Reno broke ground on two of the nine projects in October 2012, and completed the sixth project in August 2013. The three remaining projects of this initial collaboration will be designed and built in 2014.”
Today, IUSD is already realizing measurable results from this initiative and is in the process of completing a second phase of installations that will increase solar capacity to more than five megawatts of power.
“The district is expecting significant utility cost savings in excess of 12 percent,” explains Matt. “Over the course of 20 years, these systems will generate more than 120 million kilowatt hours of solar energy. That’s enough to power more than 11,000 homes while silently offsetting a projected 100,000 tons of carbon dioxide.”
Reno was able to accomplish the complete design-build solar project with less than one-half of 1 percent in change orders, maintaining the company’s consistent record of completing projects on schedule and well within budget. Matt proudly notes that it is the company’s relationship with subcontractors that allows Reno to have such a successful rate of completion.
“We have been nominated by the American Subcontractors Association 17 years in a row as the contractor of the year and we’ve won it six times,” Matt says with a smile. “About 90 percent of our work is dependent on subcontractors, so it pays to do things fairly, play it straight and pay them on time.”
Above all else, Matt says Reno looks forward to further success in nontraditional markets. “We have a full backlog for 2014 and things are starting to build for 2015, so we couldn’t be in a better position,” he reveals. Reno Contracting continues to build on 20 years of effective scheduling, budgeting, designing, constructing and communicating better than the rest.
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