The gamma knife challenge might have seemed insurmountable to another builder. First, the team needed to construct an MRI procedure room at the University of Alberta Hospital that was strong enough to support the 38,000-kg equipment required for specialized brain surgery. Second—crucially—that room had to be vibration-free, allowing the 200 lasers in the gamma knife to pinpoint the exact radiation target in a patient’s brain.
Edmonton-based Delnor Construction was up to the challenge, completing the $6.63-million project in 2018. “It was incredibly complex,” says Delnor principal and CEO Glenn Cyrankiewicz. “When you are building half a block away from [light rail transit] and a major roadway, the whole building has to be isolated so it can’t vibrate.”
Delnor has made a name for itself by saying yes to these kinds of complex commercial building projects since it began as a small contracting business in 1983. The company was founded by Ron Hinz and Glenn’s brother Ed Cyrankiewicz, who remains a board member. Glenn left a corporate management job to join the family business in 2000 as a project manager and assumed the CEO role in 2010. When Glenn joined, Delnor had only 12 employees; it now has 225. Last year, its revenue was $200 million, a 15% jump over the previous year.
A tight roster of repeat clients is key to the company’s growth, says Cyrankiewicz. About 80% of its business comes from the same 10 clients, including Alberta Health Services, universities and school boards, as well as corporate clients Telus and ATB. Through word of mouth, Delnor has also become a top choice for building and renovating places of worship—mostly churches, but it also did a Buddhist temple near Edmonton last year. “The phone rings on its own for that market segment,” says Cyrankiewicz.
Repeat customers like the company’s single-project-manager approach, which is rare in the building industry. One manager is assigned to a project, from inception to warranty work. This means clients know who to contact, and managers know their projects inside out. “It is instrumental in providing accountability and empowering our project managers to succeed,” says Cyrankiewicz.
As Delnor expands—it now has as many as 60 projects on the go at once—communication with staff is a priority to ensure everyone is informed and working toward the same goals. With that in mind, Delnor launched a custom-designed smartphone app in 2017. The app, called Sparrow, delivers a daily company update to staff and allows them to respond in real time. Everyone knows what’s happening, whether they’re in the Edmonton head office or on a rural job site.
Cyrankiewicz sees the company increasing its presence in southern Alberta in 2019 as it continues on track to a predicted $220 million in revenue—not bad in a province just coming out of recession. “It speaks to our reputation,” explains Cyrankiewicz. “And our ability to meet our ultimate goal: building and maintaining long-term client relationships.”