A Foundation of Trust
Alliance Diversified Enterprises, Inc.’s drilling expertise runs deep
The Grenke family has more than 30 years of foundation contracting experience in California, Nevada and Arizona. Members of the family learned about foundations and how to manage a business by working for other companies. In 2012, Joan and Evan Grenke decided to use their combined experiences to form their own company, Alliance Diversified Enterprises, Inc. (ADEI).
Located in Escondido, California, this full-service contractor specializes in the design and installation of deep foundation, shoring and underpinning systems. The company’s projects range in size and complexity from small residential jobs to large-scale commercial and public works projects. Its clients are developers, large property owners, public works departments and homeowners.
ADEI started out performing percolation tests, ground sampling, boring logs and septic pits, and then expanded to a larger and broader scope of projects. Attention to detail and dedication to quality are key values of the business’ leaders, a focus that has paid off—literally. ADEI had gross revenue of approximately $2.5 million in its first year and has nearly doubled in growth year after year.
“Through 2019, we are projecting more than $40 million in gross revenue,” says Joan, President of ADEI. “This growth is due to our unique problem-solving abilities, our referral-based business model and, of course, the knowledge and experience of our professional staff. Adding to that is our investment in state-of-the-art equipment and technology. This is all part of why we have secured a sizable market share in ground improvement, specialty foundations, shoring, piling and excavation.”
Forming a Responsive Entity
Joan and her son, Evan, are key players in ADEI’s success. Evan is CFO and a field superintendent who is involved with day-to-day operations. Evan’s brother, Rian Grenke, is a senior project manager who handles administrative needs and business development. Another brother, Chase Grenke, is also a field superintendent.
The Grenkes consider ADEI a major competitor in drilling and shoring in the western United States and feel that owning their own equipment gives them a competitive edge.
“Our equipment ranges from limited-access machinery to large-diameter, state-of-the-art hydraulic rigs and excavation equipment, plus support and transport vehicles,” Evan says.
“This investment plays a large role in our ability to complete projects on time and within budget, which keeps us ahead of the competition.”
Access to a depth of in-house expertise enables team members to respond to all kinds of client needs. “One of the reasons our clients bring us in on difficult projects is that we think outside of the box and can utilize all of the experience in our arsenal to come up with unique solutions,” Rian says. “We strive to build long-term relationships and operate as one team with strong guidance from everyone involved.”
He adds, “We do whatever it takes to keep our promises. It’s important that we go that extra mile and continuously improve so that we always deliver exceptional quality and service.”
Valuing a Personal Approach
Throughout the owners’ early professional experiences, they respected family-centered values, which they made a priority in their own business.
“We are a family-owned company that prides itself on relationships,” Joan says. “We’ve learned that relationships are founded on trust, so we are driven by a set of values and principles that defines everything we do. We call it the ADEI Approach. The people in our company who do well and rise through the ranks inherently share and display this same trustworthy family mentality. It also applies to subcontractors and suppliers. If they meet this standard, we will work with them for the long term,” she says, adding, “We are truly fortunate to have built the strong community of clients, suppliers, friends and colleagues we have around us.”
This level of trust keeps all team members focused on finding the best solutions for clients.
“A major part of our business is solving nontraditional problems,” Evan says. “If we come across a situation that we just can’t quite figure out right away, we reach into our community of knowledge, and it almost feels like a family picnic. You can walk up to your ‘uncle,’ who may be the crane supplier, and ask him if he’s seen this before. Or ask your ‘cousin,’ who may be a concrete sub, about certain logistics problems. Through this kind of knowledge sharing we do great things,” Evan says.
He shares some examples of problem-solving experiences. “It might be installing deep de-pressurization wells in San Jose or modifying an existing piece of equipment so it can hang off a cliff and drill back under a bluff that other equipment is sitting on. Or it can be providing value-engineering options or installing patented displacement piles at LAX to mitigate ground pollution and vibration, just to name a few,” he says.
In its goal to offer innovative solutions, the company invests in the latest tools, technology and ongoing staff training to improve efficiency. Its team members also get involved in trade associations to stay on top of industry trends. These efforts serve to bolster the solutions-oriented nature of the ADEI staff.
“We always seek to expand our knowledge through internal education campaigns or by welcoming new employees with diverse professional experiences,” Rian notes. “Everyone here is proactive and is always looking for potential solutions. Before employees leave for the day, we want them to ask themselves, ‘Have I done everything possible to anticipate tomorrow’s challenges?’ This defines the ADEI culture and reflects how every employee works on a standard of being relentlessly proactive in every activity.”
Growing From Within
The dedication to family values also plays a role in creating opportunity for employees to advance their careers in the company. “We prefer to promote from within and pride ourselves on providing opportunities to the deserving. As people gain experience and knowledge and become eager for more responsibilities, we create openings for them,” Joan says.
Employee Horatio “Vinny” Ibarra is a perfect example. He started with the company at its inception seven years ago as a laborer and is now a field superintendent working toward senior superintendent status.
Vinny says, “Many employees like me have climbed the ranks, so we feel comfortable operating a million-dollar drill rig or hoisting heavy lagging boards to show the rookies how to do it the most efficient and safest way. Being trained across multiple pieces of machinery like this also allows our crews to be more efficient. That means we can do the same quality work with a smaller workforce and keep heavy overhead off the bottom line.”
Even outside of the workplace, the ADEI culture of being a family is always present. “We might be spending time together at a weekend barbecue, going fishing, enjoying the monster truck show in San Diego or going to the river in Blythe. No matter what it is, we always have a big group that has a great time,” Joan says.
ADEI also reaches out to the local community and area businesses in several ways. It regularly donates to national charities, provides speakers to share their knowledge at industry conferences, and works with local shelters and charities to help the large homeless population in southern California.
“We are proud of the growth we have experienced over the last seven years,” Evan says. “We have become a known and trusted company within our industry and look forward to the growth and opportunities still to come. And, we will continue to share the benefits of our success with our community, which we consider part of the ADEI family.”
ADEI has grown from humble beginnings to be a major competitor in the drilling and shoring field—all without losing its family-centered values. “We are big enough to provide a full range of services and small enough that the executive team is involved in the details. We do what we say we will, when we say we will,” Evan affirms.