The Heart Behind Alternative Constructors: An Interview with Derek Shambora
_Obviously you’ve been here from the beginning, you help co-founded Alternative Constructors, what role do you play now in the AC crew?
I like to open up new doors for the company and close our big deals.
_What got you into the contracting/construction business in the first place?
It was out of necessity from day one. I saw a need for the market and as I started working with contractors through Eco Simplista, I started seeing a lack of loyalty towards healthier building materials in South Florida and I thought that doing something different in the construction world would set us apart from everybody else.
_Where are you originally from?
I was born in New York but I moved here when I was 4. So I’m pretty much from here (South Florida).
_What was your favorite subject in high school?
English or swimming [laughs].
_Proudest moment since working with AC?
When I was able to get my hands off of doing the labor myself and be able to step back and build a team of guys who we spent years training that could fabricate with the same quality that when we put out from day one when it was just Anthony and myself.
_How do you spend your non work life (when there’s room for it)?
This year there’s no non-work life. But typically I enjoy spending time with my fiancé, with my family and her family, going out and diving as much as I can, fishing, and surfing when possible.
_Quick… favorite beer?
_What’s the biggest risk you’ve taken in the last 10 years?
I think the biggest risk was taking on a project that was 20 times bigger than any project we’ve ever done before.
_What do you consider your spirit animal to be?
A raging bull [laughs].
_Go to pizza topping?
Go to pizza topping is always mushroom.
_This is still my favorite question. How do you like working with your sister? How about your best friend?
It has its ups and it has its downs. I feel bad when I get into arguments with both of them because I love them more than life. The trust factor is the most important thing to me and I know that no matter what when I’m not here, I trust everything that they are doing because it’s only in the benefit for the business and for all of us personally.
_What’s next for AC?
Continue developing a killer website, first quarter of next year producing a catalog and some marketing materials, and then I’d like to put together a sales team and start taking on some bigger projects because after this year we’re definitely set up and ready to handle some big stuff.
_The zombie apocalypse is finally here. Weapon of choice?
[Looks around the office] I would probably build a concrete dome so they can’t get in.