Scott Arias—The Transformation Story Of A Navy Veteran To A Successful Businessman

Scott Arias a Navy Veteran is a C-Level Manager with over 24 years of experience in the industry. His experience encompasses 16 years in operations management, 4 years in facility management and 3 years in sales management. Moreover, he has more than 8 years of experience in quality control and quality assurance management and last but not the least he also has more than 6 years of experience in the field of safety management. All these vast knowledge and experience clearly suggest that he has mastered his skills in the industry which lead to his phenomenal success. As the owner and president of ACE Consulting Company, Scott uses this wealth of experience and knowledge to help his customers navigate through the necessary government Pre-Construction requirements to include plans and schedules. ACE also offers on-site staffing for management positions for Quality Control, Safety and Site Supervision.

T&S Publishing had the privilege to talk with Scott and we have got some wonderful insights about him and his company.

So, Scott, can you tell a bit about your company, the work it does and its whereabouts?

The name of my company is ACE Consulting Company which is located in Nicholasville, Kentucky and it stands for Allison Cole and Erin, which are my three children. Our company serves our clients globally and has most of its experience with the Department of State, Naval Facilities Command, and the Army Corps of Engineers. Our primary focus is on federal construction and we focus on Division One services that includes administrative and on-site supervision for the construction business. These services include construction schedules, Safety Officers, QC Managers, Site Superintendents and pre-Construction plans.

So, give me a brief background about what led you to start this business and excel the way that you have?

Well, I had to retire early from the Navy because I lost my leg. After retirement, I worked as the Senior Operations Manager building US embassies around the globe. Then I had an opportunity to come to Lexington, Kentucky to be the director of construction for a Billion Dollar Company. I remember myself sitting in a room with a whole bunch of people who were my seniors and it seemed to me that I did all the work and they got all the credit.

At that point in time, I said it’s about time that I go do my own thing. So, I started out as a general contractor doing small projects for the VA and then when the stimulus bill came along, it made it difficult to compete because it was during the recession, so everybody came from commercial and residential markets came into the government construction industry. So, this is when I switched from ACE Construction to ACE Consulting taking my expertise and applying it to help others.

So how do you help your clients?

We have a large number of clients; right from small 8A to disabled veteran owned companies. We also provide services Billion Dollar Corporation, so our clientele is very diverse. We provide planning services before construction that are required by our client’s customers. We help navigate the bureaucracy both off-site and on-site with our management staff. After the pre-construction requirements are completed, we provide onsite personnel, to manage the actual construction through execution.

Tell me about the hurdles you faced as a company and you feel you overcame it?

I feel the greatest hurdle was expanding my company from the beginning when I started it 12 years ago. We did $7,000 our first year in business and I did all the work including accounting and management. Now we have almost 70 people between the office and the field and perform work globally.

What would you say to a veteran (or someone) who is thinking about becoming an entrepreneur?

Cash is king number one. Number two business metrics are imperative to success. I am an analytical person and the metrics-based structure provided to me by the military translated well into business. The best advice I can give you is use something you learned in the military and measure it.  Since I do consulting I walk into almost of my client’s offices and tell them what they are doing right and wrong. One thing I see often is that most companies do not have metrics, and this is why they fail. I am surprised when I ask people, what’s your total overhead or what’s your percent of overhead, they don’t know. That’s important because how can you make the decisions if you don’t have the information in front of you, like your overhead rate? The goal for a veteran is to take your military mission-oriented mindset and make your goals clear for your team, then execute. In business clarity and focus is key to getting the desired outcome.

Tera Jenkins

Project Manager with WBEC-West.