In His Own Words: Lance Semenko of Q&D Construction
Name/Title/Company: Lance Semenko/Chief Operating Officer/Q&D Construction, Inc.
Number of years with company: 23
Number of years in the profession: 28
Education: Bachelor of Science in Business Management from University of Nevada, Reno
Last book read: Shoe Dog by Phil Knight and Hammerhead Six by Donald Fry
Favorite movie: Caddyshack
Favorite musical group or genre: ‘80s big hair and Hard Rock
Spouse, kids or pets: Wife Cathy 24 years, sons Kenneth 22, Connor 17. Two dogs Rocket and Zeus
Northern Nevada Business Weekly: Tell us about your company and the duties of your position.
Lance Semenko: Q&D Construction, Inc. is a diverse general contracting company. We do all types of building construction, from installing doors and windows to building schools, hospitals and shopping centers. We also have an aviation group that does a lot of airline work all over the country and has two terminals currently under construction in San Luis Obispo and Cheyenne. We also do heavy/civil work from patching a driveway to building a freeway. It’s a great compliment of the different worlds of construction.
I am in charge of overseeing the whole company which includes the Building Group, Aviation Group and Heavy/Civil Group.
NNBW: Tell us about your role as president of the local chapter of AGC? What do you see in the construction industry in the near future?
Semenko: The AGC Presidency is really taking the baton from the previous group of great leaders and carrying on what they have helped institute. I think the biggest thing we need to do as an industry is focus on workforce development. We need to let young people know that not everyone needs to go to college and the trades will train and develop you and you can earn a great wage and afford the things you need in life.
NNBW: How did you get into this profession?
Semenko: After graduating from college, I was offered a job by Helms Construction. I had worked there in the summers as a laborer since I was 13.
NNBW: What do you enjoy most about working in your field?
Semenko: The people that I get to work with every day is probably the most enjoyable. We are so lucky to have such good people. From the person answering the phones to the guy hammering nails, to our interns.
NNBW: What is the most challenging part about your job?
Semenko: I think the most challenging part of my job is trying to go out and get work for such a diverse company. One day it could be talking to someone about building a hotel at Lake Tahoe and the next day could be trying to get an airport terminal job in Missoula or negotiating to do sitework for a subdivision.
NNBW: What do you foresee in the future of your profession?
Semenko: I see a lot of really smart people coming up through the ranks. It starts with the management team at Q&D and goes to the college kids we interview at the universities. It’s amazing to me how the technology has really advanced in our industry.
NNBW: What advice would you give someone who wants to get into your profession?
Semenko: Be prepared for hard work, getting up early and putting in long days at times. Your reward comes at the end of the project when you see all the end users using your building, road or park.
NNBW: What was the best advice anyone ever gave you either professionally or personally?
Semenko: The Golden Rule “Treat everyone as you would like to be treated” and don’t try to get paid for something you didn’t do.
NNBW: Has there been someone who was especially influential in helping you establish your career or in reaching your higher goals? If so, who and how?
Semenko: There have been a couple. The first one was Carl Wegren who taught me the ins and outs of estimating and taking off plans when I first started at Helms. The other one would be Norm Dianda who showed me that hard work and treating people right would pay off down the road.
NNBW: Do you belong to any professional/networking organizations? How has membership benefitted your career?
Semenko: Yes, the AGC, EDAWN. It has really helped meet people in our industry but also out in the community as well.
NNBW: Is there any educational advancement that is essential for someone in your career field?
Semenko: Yes, we do a lot of recruiting at colleges for students with construction management degrees and also engineering degrees.
NNBW: How do you manage your time between the responsibilities of your profession and your personal life?
Semenko: It’s really about time management for me. If I know one of my kids has a game or when they were younger and I coached them, I would go in early to get my things done at work ahead of time. Missing their games growing up was something I refused to do.
NNBW: What was your first job?
Semenko: My first job was when I was 10 counting inventory for Record Supply Company for the summer.
NNBW: What did you dream of becoming as a kid?
Semenko: A professional baseball player
NNBW: What are your hobbies? How do you spend your time away from work?
Semenko: I enjoy playing golf with my family and my friends. My wife and I like to travel and go watch baseball games wherever we vacation. Our goal is to make it to all of the parks after we retire. I also enjoy hunting with my son.
NNBW: Is there a nonprofit or charitable organization that you like to donate your time to?
Semenko: I have been on the Board of the Boys & Girls Club for 19 years now. I’m amazed at all the good they do in the community.
NNBW: Do you have a favorite vacation spot?
Semenko: If it’s not at a major League stadium, it is probably somewhere warm like Puerto Vallarta.
NNBW: Is there a place around the world you have never been to that you like to visit?
Semenko: Not really for me, I think there are some really cool places in the states to visit, but my family tells me we need to go to Italy to check that out, so that is probably where we will go.
NNBW: If you had enough money to retire right now, would you? Why or why not?
Semenko: I couldn’t right now, I enjoy too many of the people I work with and all of the friends I have made over the years.
NNBW: If you had the chance to have dinner with someone, who would that be and why?
Semenko: I would have to say Roberto Clemente. He was my favorite player as a kid and died at an early age so I didn’t get to see him play that much. He was someone who gave back to his community and unfortunately it cost him his life.
NNBW: If you had one moment in time to cherish for the rest of your life either professionally or personally what would it be?
Semenko: It would probably be the vacation we took to see Wrigley Field, Fenway Park and Old Yankee stadium. The whole family had a blast.
NNBW: Last concert or sporting event attended?
Semenko: Last concert was AC/DC in San Francisco and the last sporting event was Game 5 of the Stanley Cup finals Penguins vs. Sharks.
NNBW: Why did you choose a career in northern Nevada? What do you like about living/working here?
Semenko: For me, I was born and raised here. Married a girl who went to school here. I can’t imagine raising my kids anywhere else. The community aspects and all the great people make it impossible to leave. You can’t beat the outdoor life and the weather. I hope both my boys decide to come back here as well.
Heather Ashbridge, who started with Nevada State Development Corporation in 2008, previously served in several roles with the organization, including assistant vice president and loan officer. She is based in NSDC’s Reno office.