In his own words: Steve Crow of ScareCrow Lath & Plaster

Northern Nevada Business Weekly: Tell us about your company and your position. Steve Crow: ScareCrow Lathe & Plaster is a full-service stucco and masonry company. We stucco and stone tract housing, commercial, custom homes and multi-family housing. Our jobs range from $5,000 to $2 million. I oversee all aspects of the company, from estimating to field operations. I have some fantastic employees most of them have worked here for 10 to 20 years.NNBW: How did you get into this profession? Crow: I was a restaurant manager for Chart House in Sausalito, Calif., and quit to move back to San Diego. My older brother, John, had a barbeque for me and said, I got you a job. I said, No way ... Im going to surf every day for a while. At 6 a.m. the next morning there was a knock on the door, and I went to work for a stucco contractor.NNBW: Whats the most important lesson you have learned in your career? Crow: A relationship can take 20 years to build and be lost in five minutes. NNBW: What strategies did you employ to survive the recession? Crow: We have no debt, so during the good times, if we needed a truck or scaffolding, I would pay for it. Pay everyone first, and we pay our bills twice a month so they dont creep up on us.NNBW: What was your first job? Crow: I was a paperboy at age 10.NNBW: Tell us about your dream job. Why arent you working it? Crow: This is my dream job. When I started as a lather, I would always walk a job at the end of the day to see what I had accomplished. Thirty years later, I still walk most of our jobs.NNBW: What do you like most about your job? Crow: The competitiveness, estimating against other contractors, logistics, weather, superintendents, material costs and employees. Its a constant battle but worth it in the end.NNBW: Is your job stressful? Why?Crow: Yes, because building has yet to rebound. With that, costs are up and what we can charge is down.NNBW: What important trends do you see in your industry? Crow: As far as stucco goes, we have new energy codes that have us insulating more, like foundations and walls. As far as homebuilding goes, the most important thing we need to do is get a handle on the Chapter 40 construction defect laws. NNBW: What are your favorite hobbies or pastimes? How do you spend your time away from work?Crow: I like to play tennis, skiing and being on the baseball field all three of my sons play.NNBW: If you could live your life over again, what one thing would you change?Crow: Nothing you get what you get and you dont throw a fit!NNBW: What do you consider to be your biggest professional accomplishment?Crow: Just the fact we are still in business. A lot of my colleagues and competition are closed down. With all the regulations, Chapter 40 construction defect lawsuits and Obamacare, business is tough. In 2006, I had 300 employees, today I have 48. Wages and profits are down, expenses are up and there are more taxes. To just survive is an accomplishment. NNBW: What did you dream of becoming when you were a kid?Crow: A professional surfer. NNBW: If you had enough money to retire right now, would you? Why or why not? Crow: I tried that. When your wife asks you to go to the store and get her a tomato, and when you get back she sends you back out to get an onion ... shes telling you to go find something to do. Work is good.NNBW: What would people say if they saw you on the dance floor?Crow: OMG really?! NNBW: What are five things you cant live without?Crow: Wife, kids, iPhone, pickup truck, wine and steak.NNBW: Why did you choose a career in northern Nevada? What do you like most about working/living here?Crow: In 1991 I came up from San Diego to do four houses for Neuffer Homes. There was very little stucco, and I saw an opportunity. Working here is great because of the people. Almost everyone is friendly and has a positive attitude. As far as living here, what better place to raise a family? We have it all.The basics:Name: Steve Crow, president, ScareCrow Lath & PlasterNumber of years in this job? 11Number of years in this profession? 30Education: High school; on-the-job trainingLast book read? The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine by Michael LewisFavorite flick? Braveheart with Mel GibsonWhats on your iPod? Country and rock Spouse, kids or pets? Wife Jubie; Kids Julia, Lucy, Geno, Rocco and Nico; Pets Pepper and Charlie (both Schnauzers).Know someone whose perspective you want to share with NNBW readers? Send contact information to: or call 775-850-2146.


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