It’s perhaps appropriate that Scott Healy’s finance career began at an airport. With a boarding pass in hand, Healy thought that he was ready for takeoff—only to have his new boss board with a mystery box under one arm.
“He was carrying a package that I thought was some sort of welcome gift for me because from the outside you could see some cookies and things to eat,” recalls Healy, who upon closer inspection discovered that while the package did indeed contain a few treats, it also held 15 prospectuses.
“He expected me to read and analyze each of them during our 6-hour flight from San Francisco to Boston,” continues Healy, who uses the story to illustrate the first of multiple lessons that he believes became invaluable to his career.Read More
“First, I learned how to critically process large amounts of information, regardless of whether it was communicated verbally or in writing,” reports Healy, who tells us that in the years ahead, the processing pace never let up as his ability to consume information became further improved by the many prospectuses that he himself would come to author.
Another lesson that became critical to Healy’s finance career was learning how to pitch clients.
“Pitching is a bit like speed dating—generally, you have 5 minutes to capture someone’s interest, and if you don’t, you will not get the transaction done,” comments Healy, who credits his ever-maturing pitching acumen with winning over one client in particular.
“I had this very detailed pitch planned, but when we sat down, the client said to me, ‘There’s absolutely no chance that you’re ever going to do one of my projects,’” remembers Healy, who adds that for the next 30 minutes, the client listed all of the specific terms that he would expect in a purchase agreement.
“I listened, I commented, and slowly I got him to agree to talk further,” remarks Healy, who notes that he countered each specific term being required by the client with a “mini pitch” designed to address each item.
In the end, the client rewarded Healy with the project, a feat that speaks highly of Healy’s ability not only to pitch, but also to negotiate—which the CFO admits may well be his greatest skillset.
Says Healy: “I’ve negotiated in 12 different countries and on four different continents. One time, I even negotiated for 76 hours straight.” –Jack Sweeney
Made Possible By
CFOTL: Tell us about Fortera … what does this company do, and what are its offerings today?
Healy: I should tell you that before joining Fortera in December, I undertook a pretty exhaustive search of many different industries on the renewable side. I am extremely excited about this company because I believe that fundamentally it combines a good purpose with a commercial aspect that is very attractive. Fortera is a materials technology company that’s focused on paving the way for a net-zero cement. We do this by helping our customers—who are cement manufacturers or producers and consumers—achieve their decarbonization plans.
As you probably know, cement and concrete production accounts for approximately 8% of worldwide carbon emissions. Think about this: 8%! This is a very big number that is going virtually untouched. The cement manufacturing market is a very large market that is growing. I think that it’s estimated to grow to over $500 billion by 2028.Read More
Concrete is the material of choice for almost all of the infrastructure and buildings that are being built—and of course there are a lot of other projects being proposed out there. Fortera has developed a patented process that has benefited from a number of things. It has more than 100,000 hours of R&D behind it, which to me is sort of a staggering number. It benefits from over a hundred existing patents and more than 10 years of real-world product demonstration. This experience ladder is really important in this industry because many of the firms that are starting up not only don’t have 10 years but also don’t have even 1 year behind them. This really distinguishes us. Fortera is based in Silicon Valley, where it’s backed by leading investors such as Khosla Ventures and Temasek.
Our first commercial manufacturing plant, which will further distinguish us, will be coming online in the second half of this year. Fortera will be fulfilling product sales by the end of the year. We’ll be producing product in commercial quantities, which will really make a big difference for us. Another part of this—which was really a fundamental reason that I came here—is Fortera’s technology, which is fundamentally economical because it optimally uses limestone feed stock. This enables us to smartly leverage existing manufacturing infrastructure by working directly with cement producers while avoiding costly transport, storage, and/or other added expenses. Fortera bolts directly onto existing facilities right at the stacks. So, when you’re talking about preventing emissions, we are right there at the stacks. This is not something that you’re doing after the fact—you’re doing it before they’re even emitted. This really excites me.
Fortera | www.forterausa.com | San Jose, CA