David Parker, Calgary Herald | December 13, 2018
After striking up a friendship while working with Manshield Construction, Bryce Dillabough and Lance Neilsen started their own company in 2006. Since then, Longboard Construction has grown into a general contracting firm providing professional and management services for new commercial buildings, tenant improvements and renovation projects across Western Canada.
Both SAIT students, Dillabough graduated from Civil Engineering Technology and Survey Technology programs, while Nielsen is a Red Seal carpenter.
After seven years in project management, as site superintendent and working with all of the trades — while both were single and not scared to take a chance — they founded Longboard (named after some fun winter escapes on Maui) from an Edgemont basement.
Their first jobs were residential renovations, but they were awarded their first commercial project by Loblaws. And grocery stores were and continue to be a big part of their success thanks to a willingness to work within budgets, accept tight deadlines and work at any time to allow stores to remain open during construction.
A good example is a current job at the Safeway store on 8th Street between 11th and 12th avenues S.W.
Longboard enlisted Riddell Kurczaba’s interior design team for a design-build contract for Sobeys, which is essentially a refresh of the busy store. But it means that a crew and five scissor lifts arrive after the store closes to paint, install all new flooring, upgrade all racking, update the Starbucks, install a new deli counter and install a new POS terminal system.
Working through the night, they have to be out — after inspection, as Safeway is very safety conscious — half an hour before store opening.
Longboard has completed renovations and upgrades at several Loblaws stores that remained open during its work. It also completed a major renovation to Loblaws’ three-storey head office in Calgary, which also required minimum disruption to the working staff.
It has worked with Loblaws on similar projects to rebrand No Frills stores in Calgary, Strathmore, Stettler, Sylvan Lake and Beaumont. But it’s not just renovation jobs, as Longboard is building a new No Frills store in Forest Lawn.
More business meant a move for its 24 full-time staff into a new commercial building it built in Airdrie. The move was a good one for Dillabough and Nielsen, as they are currently working to construct four stand-alone buildings along Veteran’s Boulevard for Choice Properties REIT, where it has also completed space for Magic Mountain Day Care, Dollarama and Boston Pizza.
They are busy, but much of the pressure of obtaining new projects was eased with the appointment early last year of Lorne MacIntyre as a director of the company. With Concept Group for the past 16 years, MacIntyre enjoys good relationships throughout the industry and has been a real benefit in obtaining new contracts. The firm has developed an extensive network of constructive relationships with various trades professionals, enabling it to maintain a superior standard of services and materials.
And they continue to increase in size, variety and geographic areas.
Longboard is building three condo warehouses — each containing eight bays — in Jacksonport, Shepard Development’s 100 acres under development in northeast Calgary. Farther afield, its crews are working on Queen Charlotte Island, Vancouver Island, Whitehorse, Yellowknife and Thunder Bay.
David Parker appears regularly in the Herald. Read his columns online at calgaryherald.com/business. He can be reached at 403-830-4622 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.