Doing it Right, the Reno Way

Reno Contracting
Written by Jessica Ferlaino

Since its founding, Reno Contracting’s mission has remained steadfast. “I started with Matt Reno in 1989. We’ve been friends since 1987, and from the beginning, it was always, ‘We’re going to do the right thing,’” said President and Chief Operating Officer Walt Fegley. This seemingly simple statement forms the basis on which Reno Contracting has built its success as one of the largest, most prominent build-to-suit general contractors in Southern California.
Reno Contracting brings integrity, accountability, collaboration, skill and expertise to each of the projects it undertakes. Walt Fegley described the company’s success as being measured by “the recognition from our clients, the developers, the building owners and even the consultants to a certain extent, as to how we do business.”

The philosophy of doing the right thing runs deep which means that from the very beginning, both projects and relationships are being constructed. Serving the office, corporate, hospitality, retail, life science, healthcare, education, tenant improvement, multi-family, civil and solar markets, Reno Contracting’s consistent performance has resulted in relationships that, like its projects, stand the test of time.

“We’re just integrated, and that really helps us perform because it’s not just about construction; it’s about relationships; it’s about people – pulling people together, collaborating, coming up with solutions.”

Reno Contracting has helped bring life to countless project visions that maximize value for its clients while minimizing the project’s risk. Areas of design-build specialty are parking structure canopies, various solar structures, and custom-designed solar applications.

Reno Contracting has amassed an impressive portfolio of work, having completed over 100 million square feet of tenant improvement projects totaling over $2.5 billion in San Diego. Reno Contracting’s specialized service divisions include Reno Tenant Improvements (TI) which performs fast-track tenant improvements, Reno Solar and Reno Efficient Sustainable Practices (ESP).

Reno Contracting offers turn-key commercial solar photovoltaic (PV) systems and has installed over forty-five megawatts of design-build solar projects. This is an impressive total of 135,000 panels that cover three million square feet over sixty-five acres.

One of its installations, a 2.6 megawatt solar PV project at California State Prison Lancaster for SunEdison, totals 9,500 panels. This is one of five state prison projects that are expected to save taxpayers millions in energy costs.

“It’s a lot of work, and it’s been good for us because in 2008, the bottom fell out for financing in the private market, and we were basically well-diversified but only in the private market, so solar came at a time, and it wasn’t happenstance, that allowed us to replace some of the revenues that we weren’t finding in other areas. Plus, it seemed to us, and still does, that it’s the right thing to do.”

Reno Efficient Sustainable Practices (ESP) consults with clients to evaluate their energy goals and draft solutions to reduce costs and improve sustainability. Reno Contracting creates common sense solutions with the help of its LEED certified professionals. These improve its clients’ efficiency through the adoption of sustainable strategies and practices in both new and existing buildings.

“Reno Contracting was a very early adopter of LEED accreditation for our people. We started very early giving people throughout the company – myself included – LEED certification and keeping that accreditation. It was seven or eight years ago that we started Reno ESP and that was looking at the energy efficient payback for long-term capital investment,” Fegley said.

Reno Contracting has completed many projects worth mentioning. The award-winning West Park Apartments at Civita in San Diego required collaboration and solution-oriented project management as nearly 450 workers were on site throughout the build. The $90 million building has more than six hundred units with resort-style amenities and is a great source of pride for the company.

Another award-winning project is the DiamondView Tower located beyond the right field of Petco Park in San Diego. The fifteen-storey building was constructed from structural steel and offers exceptional views of the park, in addition to an outstanding aesthetic. Reno Contracting has also completed work on the Manchester Grand Hyatt and Marriott hotels.

“I’m extremely proud of what our people can do in the field. It’s marvelous what we are able to produce. We’ve got a lot of jobs I’m really proud of.”

Safety is foremost according to Fegley. “I’m a worker. I came up through the trades and I’m proud of it. I know our responsibility to get these workers home at the end of the night.” He credited the industry for improving safety over the years and Reno has followed suit, doing what it takes to ensure zero lost time accidents.

Reno Contracting has been frequently recognized for excellence in project quality, safety and service. It has been nominated for the Associated Subcontractors Association (ASA) General Contractor of the Year for a record sixteen times.

Success is partially attributable to the hiring practices that have developed the company’s skilled, experienced and trusted workforce. The company works diligently to treat both clients and employees well. Fegley considers the employees to be Reno Contracting’s primary asset and wants to foster an environment that breeds success.

“We take care of the people that work for us and create an environment where high performers are going to flourish, keep them challenged, try to give them a career path and treat them well,” said Fegley. “We want to give them the tools they need, hire really high performers and ask them to go and achieve.”

“If you are going to hire a plumber, you would assume that we would be able to fix a faucet. But, what makes a good plumber is the other things that he does, and I think it’s the same with a general contractor,” Fegley explained. “How are you treated? Do you feel taken care of? Obviously, we can build a building. It’s the extra effort and focus on long-term business relationships that has been key to our success.”

Reno Contracting is fifty-three percent employee owned, and the goal is to achieve total employee ownership over the next decade. “Over the next ten years, employees have an opportunity to own the company outright, which for me, would be a dream come true to be able to look back and say I was part of this,” said Fegley.

For Fegley and Reno Contracting, it is important, “that we’re able to do something that is good and can continue forward knowing the young people that join us today can have a great life working at Reno and a great retirement while the company continues on.”

Hiring talented employees who share the company’s passion for doing the right thing is invaluable to Fegley who runs the company according to his strong belief that treating people well pays dividends.

“We’re not going to change up too much of anything that we have created. The mindset and the values have worked, and we’re just going to continue to find those clients that are really focused, like us, on similar business philosophies and creating those long-term relationships,” Fegley concluded. “That way we can continue to provide great value for clients with each year being better than the next.”



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