Scott Desharnais

What is the most exciting thing about working in this business? What is your professional passion?
The best thing about working in this business is the diversity of the people that you get to work with every day, from a high-powered executive like John Fish or the high net worth developers we work with to the person pushing the broom or driving the nails on our jobsites. I really think it’s cool to be able to work with such a diverse group of people and learn something from every one of them—on both ends, and everyone in between. My days are never boring, always different, and exciting. What drives me in this business are the tangible outcomes of our work. I can’t imagine being an accountant or researcher where you work on one thing day in and day out and never get to see the tangible result. I love that at the end of a two- or three-year project, you can look up at what you've accomplished and be proud of it.

What do you love to do when you aren’t at work? What is your personal passion and why?
My passion outside of work, after my family (of course!), is aviation. I'm a pilot and I love to fly and everything about airplanes. I have a small four-person plane that I take out regularly. I feel that there are parallels between flying and business. For both, you need to be overprepared, proficient, and always willing to learn. I also love to golf and play the guitar.

What sport did you play and how did it help you professionally?
I was on the swim team in high school and then swam competitively for one year of college. I probably would not be here today if it weren’t for swimming. I went to a very blue-collar school where there were a lot of opportunities to get in trouble, and I likely would have gone in a different direction if it weren’t for the structure of the team sport. Having to be somewhere every single day and having people rely on you teaches you leadership and how to be part of a team.

Who was your mentor/biggest influence and what did they teach you?
I’ve had two solid mentors in my life, and the first one was my father. He instilled in me a work ethic, responsibility, and he showed me how to work hard to get where you want to be. The second was a business colleague named Joe Harris, who I was lucky enough to work with for more than 25 years. In some ways, he was like my father, so we hit it off from the start. He gave me tough love, but having that constant mentorship for that many years was beneficial to my career. I think another word for “mentor” is “cheerleader,” and he was both of those for me. I owe a lot of where I am to him. 

If you could have lunch with someone, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
I love learning about American history, specifically World War II. So, I would like to have lunch with one of the pilots or flight crews from the airplane bombers in WWII. They would go out on missions and if 100 planes took off, only 25 would come back and the rest would be shot down. What was it like to climb into that airplane and go out on a mission with a huge chance of not coming back? I want to hear what that was like and how they did it. I think it would give great perspective to what we think are difficult times versus what are actually difficult times.