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The lifeblood of Valley Construction Co. is the critical infrastructure projects that Quad Citians pay little mind to but rely on every single day. The nearly century-old Rock Island company is the muscle behind building the roads we drive on, the bridges we cross and the runways that help transport us outside our bi-state region. In the construction industry, that is known as horizontal construction and Valley is quite proud of its reputation in that arena. But for the past 20-some years, it also has been quietly becoming a force in vertical construction – erecting commercial buildings, schools additions, public safety buildings and other vertical construction. As Valley’s third generation leader Greg Hass attests that slice of its business has been a well-kept secret – even to many of its customers. “It became a deal in the community where we would see a new building going up and (say to the owners) ‘You didn’t call us for a price.” And over and over, the company’s president and CEO would hear his customers say “I didn’t know you did buildings.” To raise awareness of its vertical capabilities, the company spun off its commercial division in May to create a standalone affiliated entity known as Valley Commercial Construction. While Valley has been the builder behind a number of high-profile projects such as the Rock Island Police Department’s new police station and the Rock Island County Justice Center, Mr. Hass said there was a need to “sever that stigma of just being roads, bridges and airports.” By branching off Valley Commercial, it maintains the Valley name but more importantly, Mr. Hass said he hopes it makes existing clients – and potential ones – realize that Valley’s companies can build a commercial project from start to finish. That includes from the site preparation and earthwork to underground utilities, paving, and actual construction of the building. He knows it will be a challenge to re-educate the Quad Cities to all the company’s capabilities. Particularly when Valley has built its reputation on past monumental, heavy highway projects such as the John Deere Expressway’s extension from Moline’s SouthPark Mall to Rock Island, construction of the Milan Beltway and its more recent involvement with the new Interstate 74 bridge on which it won five separate contracts. “We were the local go-to for Lunda (Construction, the main contractor) and did the subcontracting for Lunda,” Mr. Hass said, describing Valley as “a jack of all trades” on the project.