Colleen Moore
Special to the Bonanza

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July 19, 2012
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Meet Your Neighbors: Construct your dream home with Rob Laurie, John Albrecht

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Rob Laurie and Jon Albrecht, longtime Incline Village residents, have been working for the past decade to improve homes around North Tahoe with Fortress Construction Inc.

“We’ve been in the construction trade our whole lives,” Laurie explained. “Both our parents were painters and contractors. My passion is in design work, while John was a foreman for a company for a long time. We partnered up to form Fortress, which is a design build company.”

The company specializes in custom homes and remodels, and has also expanded its services to offer in-house cabinetry, painting, drywall and tile.

“(We go) beyond the usual scope of contractors,” Laurie said. “We handle (a project) from start to finish. Specializing in our own trades ensure quality and ease on the client.”

Albrecht explained that while some contractors will work with other businesses and send clients to meet with a specialist for different parts of the home (such as a plumber or painter), Fortress offers all of these services in-house.

“We feel it’s important for our community to be a full-service company that you can call for anything,” Laurie explained.

“It should be an enjoyable experience building a house. It shouldn’t be a big pain,” Albrecht added. “By offering all of these things, with the design side and build side, it should be much easier on the client and much more enjoyable.”

The duo explained that when first sitting down with a client, they aim to give them options and realistic answers. This can happen quickly and smoothly, because the designer and contractor are in the same room and can discuss the project then and there.

Albrecht continued, adding that the concept of a design-build company is that the whole project is designed in a way that is what the client wants and not too expensive.

“Since you have the design side and the construction side sitting right next to each other in the same room, we can talk to (one another) on the front end, instead of two different companies (trying to communicate),” Albrecht said. “With all the in-house (services), we have more control over timelines and scheduling.”

When Laurie and Albrecht started the company in 2003, they had one goal: to become the go-to contractor in Incline Village. By offering a design first mentality and in house cabinetry and painting, Fortress has become popular with the locals, enabling them to not only survive an economic recession, but also grow as a business.

“The past few years have been tough, but the momentum is definitely picking back up,” Laurie said. “We’ve made it through and we see the upside. We’ve been doing our best to make it work because we want to stay here and feel that we have a lot to offer to the people of this town.”

Laurie expanded, suggesting that although there were slow times, it only helped the company in the long run, allowing them to improve what the business can offer.

Fortress Construction has remained busy through down times, often taking on smaller or new projects. The company recently acquired a cabinetry business, further adding to the services it offers. Fortress has also been busy doing large and small scale remodeling projects, and incorporating the whole environment of the house into its projects.

“We want to create the total package for your home, not just looking at a home or designing it or leaving it in other’s hands,” Laurie explained. “We create the whole environment. Every square inch of your lot, basically (we can design).”

The firm has a general contractor’s license in both Nevada and California. While they have been working primarily in Incline Village, projects have also been completed in Reno, Carson City, South Lake Tahoe and Truckee. The business partners recently got hired for a job in the Bay Area, as well.

“We’re trying to expand into new realms,” Laurie said.

While the business side of things might be changing and growing, one issue that remains a focus at Fortress is community involvement. The company is “determined to make a difference in our community,” as the website states. The business has donated time and monetary funds to groups such as the Diamond Peak Ski Education Foundation, Golf Fore Education, Relay for Life of North Lake Tahoe, Project MANA and others. Additionally, Laurie and Albrecht both donate their time, coaching ski, soccer and swim teams.

“As far as giving back to the community, it’s one of the main reasons we’re here and doing business and living in Incline,” Laurie explained.

Whether it be a remodel or a new build, Fortress Construction is your one stop shop for contractor work, run by locals, for locals.

“We’re two local boys setting themselves apart, providing a service that’s not offered. We can put the client at ease and make it an enjoyable experience from start to finish,” Laurie said.

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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Jul 19, 2012 12:11PM Published Jul 19, 2012 12:10PM Copyright 2012 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.