Reader Profile: Patricia Farley

April 14, 2020

Whatever Patricia Farley does, she throws herself completely into it. She was a two-term Nevada senator from 2014 to 2018. She’s a devoted single mother of four girls. She’s been deeply involved in philanthropic efforts, currently serving as the board president of Serving Our Kids Foundation, which provides weekend meals to children who would otherwise go hungry, and is a board member for Children’s Advocacy Alliance, which advocates for children’s safety, health, and school readiness.

As president of Southwest Specialties in Las Vegas, NV, Farley is one of the region’s few female construction leaders. The company’s 55 employees provide services in foundation installation, custom decorative flatwork, pavers, and stone veneer in the commercial and residential sectors of southern Nevada. The company is the exclusive provider of concrete and pavers for two of the largest homebuilders in southern Nevada: Lennar and Beazer. Southwest Specialties has a full line of equipment that includes skid-steers, backhoes, flatbed trucks, and one 18-wheeler representing a mix of manufacturers.

Since 2012, Southwest Specialties has been fully woman-owned; Farley assumed ownership after the former owner passed away. Farley says she got into politics because the sluggish economy at that time was affecting her business and her family. That also drives her philanthropic efforts. “If we don’t have kids who are educated and believe there’s a future, they’re not going to do much to get a job which means I’m not going to have much of a company because either I don’t have a workforce or I don’t have homebuyers,” she says. Farley’s advice to women in construction: “Don’t take no for an answer. Don’t let somebody else limit you.” She notes most people do respect the choices of working mothers. “My male coworkers appreciate that if I say my kids are a priority, they will bend over backward to help. Most of the time, their kids are also a priority in their lives. We forget to acknowledge that and ask for that help.”

What She Does Day to Day
Farley spends most of her time in the back of the house, doing business development, closing sales, and crunching numbers. “I’m out in the field because our clients are out in the field,” she says. “If you’re out talking to the client and if there are problems, you find them quickly and fix them faster.”

What Led Her Into This Line of Work
Farley studied business and political science, earning a B.S. degree from the University of Arizona in 1996. She had worked for an accounting firm but after having children, she says she wanted a job that didn’t entail a great deal of travel. Farley wanted to become an entrepreneur so she could have more control over time with her children. “My kids are a priority and the way people feel about working at the company I run is a priority to me,” she says. “I focus on those things and if everything else falls to the wayside, so be it.”

What She Likes Best About Her Work
Farley says she loves to drive around town and point out to her children all of the construction her company has performed. Farley credits her company’s success to knowing how to hire the right people to do the jobs they need to do. That has resulted in no turnover, and many of the employees have been with her for the long term. She endeavors to do right not only by her clients but also by her employees. The return on investment for that business ethic, she says, is “these people are coming into work to earn a paycheck and take care of their family. I value that because that’s why I’m there. We value our customers. Those people know I’m equally yoked in their success, so I have success on projects. I’ve come to be the second-largest concrete and paver installer in the state.”

Her Biggest Challenge
Farley notes that being a single mother of four girls drives her biggest challenge of ensuring her daily activities align with her priorities. “It’s making sure I’m a good employer, a good mother, and a good community servant and making sure all of those priorities get met every day,” she says.