Guided to Success

By the time the impact of the Great Recession began to be felt around 2008, Penta had already established itself as a top Las Vegas builder. The damage the downturn inflicted to the local economy spurred the firm to focus on new markets and building types.

"Before the recession, we were very hospitality specific and Las Vegas-centric," Ehret says. "That is still our core competency, but we have taken steps to make sure that there is a portion of our business that is not focused on hospitality.

"As soon as we burned off our existing backlog at the beginning of the recession, it gave us a chance to reinvent ourselves," he adds.

Although Penta had previously worked with the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, the firm looked to get involved in more tribal hospitality and gaming projects throughout the Southwest and beyond. Their portfolio with Indian tribes expanded throughout the West and continued in Palm Springs.

The company also made a play for a bigger piece of the health care market, landing projects at St. Rose Siena in Henderson, Nev., and Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs, among others.

But surviving wasn't just a result of winning new contracts, say company leaders. Instead, surviving—and eventually thriving—was due to executives enforcing strict fiscal responsibility during Penta's early days.

"We definitely had a healthy rainy day fund so we could invest," Ehret says. Other elements of the investment came in establishing an office in Los Angeles.

Ehret, Alber and Anderson are preparing the next generation of Penta's leaders, assembling an executive team of Cannito; Joel Wallis, senior vice president of operations; Steve Jones, vice president of field operations; and Glen Maxwell, vice president of preconstruction.

The firm is forecasting an increase in revenue of more than 25% for 2015 and 2016.

"Penta's culture is not about right or wrong, but delivering the best projects possible," Wallis says.

It is precisely that attitude that has catapulted the firm into the top ranks of contractors in the region.

Calling them a "premiere builder," Kim Lorch, vice president with specialty contractor The Raymond Group, says: "In our industry, people are the key to a company's success, and Penta's staff brings a high level of professionalism, ethics and quality."