At a Glance
It’s safe to say Quality Structures, Inc. (QSI) hasn’t suffered too many growing pains. The Richmond, Kansas-based company has enjoyed a growth rate of about 15–16 percent each year since its inception in 2003, and it completed nearly 900 buildings in 2011.
CEO Rob Pearce attributes the success to “[the firm’s] Midwestern attitude about taking care of customers.” It is a care that starts with the QSI’s sales representatives—who walk customers through each project from the first signature until the final walkthrough—but it carries into everything from the materials the company uses to the communities it works within and fosters.
Pearce takes the literal connotations of his company’s name seriously. Early on, QSI made the decision to use four-foot center trusses in all post-frame structures. “Most of our competitors use 5–10 feet on center trusses,” Pearce says. “But our buildings have more structural longevity.” Even though QSI often builds in uncoded areas outside city limits, the firm insists all its work be code compliant. Consistency isn’t just important on principle—it delivers a better product built by crews carrying out the same construction techniques day in and day out.
The Ottawa Veterinary Clinic, completed in July 2011, was a particular challenge for QSI because the veterinary practice stayed open throughout the project, and the construction work—which included reroofing the entire building—couldn’t interrupt the constant traffic of people, small animals, and livestock. The current owner’s father built the original clinic 50 years ago, and he poured the prefabricated concrete stand-up panels himself. “We had quite a few engineering challenges connecting the old building to the new one,” Pearce says. “But we successfully replaced the old roof and added a new building with a steel roof.”
Pearce is especially proud of a project QSI did for Community Living Opportunities, a nonprofit organization that runs a large equestrian center for disabled children. The project, which took about 90 days from start to finish, was one of the largest in scope for the firm. The payoff for Pearce and his crew, though, was as much social as it was monetary. “There’s something about the bond between a child and a horse that brings a lot of joy to their lives,” Pearce says.
Pearce and his crews have since returned several times to do additional projects for the organization, including additional outbuildings for the original barn and the construction of a bridge over a nearby creek.
In June 2011, QSI opened an office in Glenwood, Iowa, through which it completed the Northern Agriculture Service building, an 80’ x 500’ grain-storage facility in Onawa, Iowa. Even as the company grows, though, it continues to promote and rely on a philosophy of care. Most of QSI’s crews are from nearby Amish and German Baptist communities, which have a history of outstanding craftsmanship, and as QSI has expanded across the state of Kansas and into Missouri, Nebraska, and Iowa, it has been able to maintain relationships with various local Amish communities.
Although QSI’s crews have historically deep ties to their craft, the company also recognizes the need moving forward to automate some construction practices, and it has developed proprietary software for inventory and production schedules. It’s a reflection of Pearce’s best business practice: providing quality to his customers any way he can. “We take care of our customers, and they take care of us,” he says. “I believe in that, I practice it, and I expect the same from all my employees.” ABQ