Domenic Franco Madonna
In 2006, Domenic Madonna stood in the hall of his high school, dreaming of his future amidst the din of morning chatter as classmates flooded the corridor. He was a kid with barely any support and one small loan from his father to purchase two trucks. Domenic still knew what he wanted—and he would let nothing stand in his way. Before the school year was out, Domenic would risk everything to co-found D-Squared Construction, Limited, with the dream of becoming the most reliable construction company in Ottawa. With one backhoe and a dump truck, he went from local teenage entrepreneur to the founder of a multimillion-dollar company on a mission to take over Ottawa’s construction industry. D-Squared Construction is now one of the area’s fastest-growing commercial construction companies, with a cache of awards, 75 dump trucks, 50 pickup trucks, over 250 pieces of equipment, a licensed snow-dumping facility, and over 250 employees.
Domenic and his partner, Charles DePonte, launched D-Squared Construction with the goal to provide the Ottawa community with the most reliable construction services. As his reputation for his unwavering commitment to these goals grew, so too did the company, at a lightning-fast pace with revenues soaring. Fourteen years after opening its doors, D-Squared now stands as a national leader in construction services with a portfolio of notable clients that includes the City of Ottawa, Public Works and Government Services Canada, The National Capital Commission, Ottawa Community Housing, and the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board. Leading a young and dedicated team that puts relationships with clients and suppliers at the core of everything they do, Domenic seized every opportunity for growth, and it paid off.
In 2010, Domenic won Ottawa’s Top 40 Under 40 from the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce for his conviction, expansion into new markets, and high-profile contracts. In 2016, the company would begin its fifth-year record of being ranked among the Top 10 and Top 20 of Profit 500’s Fastest-Growing Company list. That same year, Domenic expanded the company with Marsten Equipment Rentals, which services a large variety of commercial accounts in Ottawa. While Domenic drove the company through its evolution, he took the money and the respect that he’d earned to fund his own charity, Pave the Way. As he managed the company’s growing client list and oversaw the expansion of in-house operations, in 2018, he became a board member of the NCHCA, speaking at their educational events and to students at Ottawa schools about entrepreneurship and the challenges of adversity.
In 2019, the company acquired the 120-acre quarry in Moose Creek, where they use brand-new state-of-the-art crushing equipment to produce a wide range of aggregates unique to the city of Ottawa. Domenic and his team of experts ensure every product meets the highest quality and specifications standards. Through its expansion, D-Squared has succeeded in innovative local projects, including The Hunt Club and Bridle Path Intersection Improvements and the Brian Coburn and Portobello Drive Roundabout, among others.
With this year barely half over, the company has already achieved three major accomplishments. In May 2020, Domenic ushered in the next chapter of D-Squared with the opening of its new sand pit, strategically located in the South End of Ottawa, offering a different type of aggregate to include sand fill, hydro sand, select subgrade material, pit run, granular B type 1 and river washed stone, and other varieties.
In July 2020, D-Squared proudly announced the opening of its newest quarry source located in the West End of Ottawa, Breezy Heights, offering the newest source of aggregate. “We are fully operational and ready to service this city and its surrounding areas,” Domenic says. The Breezy team has been focused and determined to produce exceptional material at record-breaking speed.
The company also entered into a partnership with Kiewit Construction in a contract to provide trucking services for OLRT Phase II project, which led to the purchase of 30 brand-new Peterbilt dump trucks, making it the biggest order ever in the history of Ottawa. This means that D-Squared now possesses the third-largest fleet of dump trucks in the city of Ottawa.
Domenic also implemented the Corporate Charity Program, committed to helping people and communities. When he founded the Pave the Way charity in partnership with United Way, it came from a humble place; a sincere desire to help at-risk youths who were in similar situations as his own when he was younger. The program supports vulnerable youths in 10 of Ottawa’s most at-risk neighborhoods through competitive sports leagues and mentorship opportunities with the goal to help 6- to 18-year-old boys increase skills, promote cooperation, reduce violence, and have fun. Domenic not only mentors them on career preparation and gives them priority to join his team upon completion of the program, D-Squared has raised $300,000 in donations to fund the enrollment of 468 youths. In addition to Pave the Way, the company supports a host of charitable causes through donations and fundraising efforts, including the Ottawa Hospital Foundation, Sens Alumni Foundation, and St. George’s Church, among others.
Now, as the world endures the COVID-19 pandemic, D-Squared has outperformed its 2019 first-quarter sales by 218 percent in 2020. Through strong leadership, providing a safe work space for employees, and offering the ability to work remotely when necessary, they have been able to proceed efficiently with all planned work and projects.
But that’s not all. Domenic has once again stepped up to help those in need with the establishment of Spread the Love—$25,000.00 COVID Relief Effort. In his own words:
"When COVID-19 hit Canada in full force, the construction industry was deemed essential; I knew I had to give back. In early March 2020, D-Squared sparked a challenge on social media called #SPREADTHELOVE. I decided to pledge $25,000 of relief to families, small businesses, and individuals in the City of Ottawa while challenging other corporations to do the same. We asked our followers on social media to share a short story in our direct messages, expressing their challenges. Each submission was treated with the upmost consideration and all who were chosen were hand-delivered a check by myself. It was truly a humbling experience for all involved."
Domenic has never shared his poignant tale—until now. At a time when the world needs hope and inspiration, he shares his story with the goal to inspire others to follow their dreams. Everyone had always told Domenic "it couldn't be done." He is living proof that, yes, it can! From a teenager with a dream to a small team of believers determined to use their success to improve the lives of others, if there were ever a quintessential success story, Domenic and D-Squared Construction just might be it.
6811 Hiram Drive, Ottawa, Canada K4P 1A2 | www.dsqconstruction.com
Download the Top 100 Canadian Professionals magazine and check out Domenic's feature on page 4.