Construction CEO: Always ask why

Scott Acton, founder and CEO of Forte Specialty Contractors, poses in the company’s workshop Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. The Las Vegas-based construction company specializes in building experiential venues within the hospitality, restaurant, retail and entertainment industries.

Scott Acton, founder and CEO of Forté Specialty Contractors and former Small Business Person of the Year for Nevada, talks about the evolution of his business and the industry.

What is the most valuable lesson you learned from your father or grandfather?

Both taught me very differently: My grandfather taught me the value of hard work, and my dad taught me how to think differently and to never quit.

You started working for the family business when you were 16 years old. In what ways has the business evolved?

The business has evolved as the clients’ needs have evolved; if you are not paying attention to the changes in the market, you could find yourself with fewer clients.

Why did you want to pursue this career?

What I love most about what I do is the ability to work as a team to solve challenges and build out-of-the-box spaces and structures at the highest level of quality.

The philosophy behind your business is to sit at the creative table. Talk about why it’s important to be involved on this level.

We at Forté are a creative team. That does not mean we are the concept team; we are solution-oriented people. Many times, the means and methods are where we are the most help to our clients. Our goal is to deliver and construct the experience our clients are looking for, for the right price.

Is there a project you’re most proud of?

I am most proud of the project we just finished, Wynn Palace Cotai in Macau. We built the eight floral-embellished displays that you see as you enter the property. They are really amazing.

Your business also operates in New York, California and several other states, as well as China. How did you accomplish this wide expansion?

Expansion was not part of the original plan; it was driven by our clients asking us to participate in projects around the world.

How do you remain innovative in the industry?

We are constantly asking “why?” and are always looking for other ways to do things that make sense for the project. One of my least favorite answers is, “Well, we have been doing it this way for 30 years.” Just because it’s the way it’s been done for a while does not make it the right choice for the particular project.

Forté Specialty Construction has worked on several diverse projects in Las Vegas, including the Eli Roth Goretorium, The Spa at Encore and Gordon Ramsay BurGR. How have you managed to develop such a strong catalog?

Tenacity is the first part; the second part is coming up with solutions to budget problems or a constructability solution in the pre-construction phase.

What advice do you have for those interested in the field?

It can be rewarding, but it is not easy.