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Scott Stephens

Scott stephens on going forth

By Scott Stephens


Forward-thinking, ‘FORTH®’ specialises in mechanical and electrical building services, with clients ranging from large facilities management companies (including Bouygues, Mitie, CBRE, Emcor), to prestigious sites and the royal residences of Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and Kensington Palace. The company has become expert in its fields thanks to its relationships, networks, and people-led culture, a passion of MD and owner Scott Stephens.

FORTH®’s recent move to new offices in Ampfield marks both its organic growth, and a new settling in natural surroundings aligned with the sustainable aspirations that the company represents.

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What do you love most about what you do?

My passion is working with people. We've got a truly great leadership team and wider team within the organisation which has been built by having really good people at the top of their game in each of our spaces. The strength of the business is that it allows people freedom, it doesn’t conform or restrict people to one avenue.

We have based our business model partly on the Netflix model. Like Netflix, we use candour in the business to enable positive, conflicting conversations. The whole organisation thrives on everyone being able to challenge each other irrespective of the role you hold within the business. That's really where I get enjoyment from what we do because it's nice to find new ground and get to spaces you would never get to if everyone just played a passive role.

With the COP26 Climate Conference underway, what are your thoughts on sustainability in your industry?

With the government's plans to decarbonise, I think we're in an exciting marketplace because our whole industry is going to change over the next five to 10 years. We're going to be at the cutting edge of that in terms of working with our clients and reducing their emissions and helping them become more sustainable.

We're governed by the technology that's out there at the moment, but as a business, we've got an in-house committee that looks at innovation in the marketplace to see how we can bring sustainability to our clients. It's about looking for new ideas and being aware of what's going on so we can give our network the best possible opportunities to maximise the efficiency of their assets whilst minimising their carbon footprint.

On all of our large project pieces of work, we look at how much carbon is emitted from our activities and offset that work by planting trees. Offsetting carbon is a short-term fix, but it's one step we and our clients can take.

"We use candour in the business to enable positive, conflicting conversations."

Scott Stephens - MD at FORTH®

What do you think the immediate future holds for your industry?

There’s going to be a reduction in newly installed combustion systems within commercial buildings. We’re going to see the biggest innovation shift in decades in the construction sector due to the speed up and roll out of new technologies that provide, heat, light, power, water. Its very exciting!

What is unknown at present, is which way the industry will shift and if one technology will become the lead. I believe that the development in commercial building sustainability and efficiency relies heavily on many new solutions which will bring about a more diverse playing field leading to more creative design ideas.

We are in a fantastic position, being able to identify, specify and install the very best solutions with our clients needs requirements being the main focus.

FORTH® has a very people-first culture. How far as a company do you get involved with talent and skills development for your industry?

People and training are very much our future because the construction sector, and certainly the building services sector, is experiencing a real lack of new talent coming into the marketplace since the demise of apprenticeship schemes. Everyone within our sector is feeling that now, which is why building services engineers are in short supply and niche skillset.

Recruitment and finding keen, motivated people, is the biggest problem we've got. We’ve aligned ourselves with the University of Southampton, Southampton City College and Eastleigh College, as well as other schools. We welcome students to do their work experience with us and we've run career evenings, inviting young people into the business to meet with our engineers to motivate them about this industry.

"With the government's plans to decarbonise, I think we're in a really exciting marketplace because our whole industry is going to change over the next five to 10 years."

Scott Stephens - MD at FORTH®

What do you like to do when you’re not working?

I’m into my fitness to give me headspace. Going to the gym, running, cycling, climbing, skiing – anything physical I’m into. I’ll give anything a go from Ice Climbing in the Alps to Whitewater Rafting in states, I will take any opportunity to switch off.

Who or what was the last thing that influenced you?

I’m a big fan of Darren Hardy, he films a daily five-minute podcast around thinking differently and challenging yourself. I listen to it religiously, every day. It tests your way of thinking on a daily basis and opens your mind.