Features

Anthony Dafonseca  — Best Roofing 

On top of it all at Best Roofing  

It’s a precarious undertaking, roofing and reroofing for mostly commercial clientele in South Florida, where strong winds, heavy rains and furnace-blast sun can threaten the integrity of projects that fall short of perfection. 

Substandard performance might have plaintiff lawyers filing intents to sue against the contractor, but at least since Anthony Dafonseca’s been overseeing legal matters at Best Roofing, it hasn’t happened. He said his attention to detail has fortified this Fort Lauderdale-based roofing specialist against claims and other unpleasantries.  

“As general counsel, I see myself as the protector of the castle,” he tells Vanguard in November. “Our contracts are the moat that protects our employees, our assets and our reputation. Then I have my foot soldiers—the outside attorneys I’ve used to pre-empt issues.” 

It’s a three-prong strategy, Dafonseca says about his insistence on safety, quality control and production. How one does any project is how one does everything, he emphasizes, and as a one-man legal department, he holds himself to high standards, and while he expects the same from others, he tries to sire it through positive reinforcement. He’ll even make a game of it. 

Dafonseca having safety and quality control directors among his reports, he’d rather they be perceived as coaches rather than cops. They make the rounds and grade the technicians with weekly scores posted in-house. Everyone looks forward to cumulative scores made available every quarter, and performance further incentivized through prizes. 

“While they love to win, they really love seeing their name on the top of the list rather than in the middle or the bottom. That’s how you get the most out of everyone: Give ownership to the people working the jobs. Ultimately, everyone walks away happier from every site.” 

A great communicator 

They’re not just happier; they’re healthier—Dafonseca saying that man-hours lost through injury have plummeted, and he’s yet to field a claim for defective workmanship. Relations with clientele also have been positive, with the general counsel crediting basic communication. 

Every contract having its own potential pitfalls, Dafonseca says he zeroes in early, conversing with the client or the client’s representative. The clientele includes shopping centers, restaurants, plazas and high-rise condos, and no projects are alike. 

But the cost of doing business is higher, what with the COVID-19 pandemic still straining supply chains and, according to Dafonseca, defying the law of gravity. “What goes up must come down, except in the world of materials pricing,” he muses. 

Though Dafonseca says Best Roofing has mitigated supply shortages through long-time partnerships with suppliers, the price of almost everything is up, and there can be waits for specialty tiles and other items. Thus, it’s extra important to communicate these issues with clients, and the better they’re aware of the whole picture, the sooner Best Roofing will be paid timely, and its reputation for efficiency will spread. The bulk of its clientele being repeat, Dafonseca says the company is checking all boxes. 

There are plenty of other construction and roofing companies out there,” he says. “What makes us the best is how we interact with our customers throughout the entire process.” 

At home in-house 

The chance to have such an active role was among what attracted Dafonseca to Best Roofing. A Florida A&M University law graduate, he logged one year as a litigator with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Orlando and five more years with the state attorney’s office in Manatee County. 

While he says that was valuable experience, the public sector wasn’t where the young lawyer wanted to build his career. He served short stints as a litigator with two Gulf Coast firms before returning to his native New England for roles with three Boston area firms between 2018 and 2022. Though he was making his mark in big-ticket construction defense, there was something about private practice that also didn’t suit Dafonseca’s long-term needs. 

“I’d be hired by companies that needed help collecting money, getting out of contracts or defending themselves in court,” he says. “Everything was reactive in nature. I loved what I was doing but felt that I could make a bigger impact if I had one client instead of 50, who only called when something went wrong.” 

Best Roofing has been that one client and Dafonseca says it’s been an ideal fit with him being as much a business partner as a legal boss. Furthermore, his experience in defending construction companies gives him a leg up when it comes to avoiding litigation. Then there’s the fact that Dafonseca’s a builder himself, he the offspring of a Portuguese-American family that worked the trades in New England. 

Born to build 

Such a boy couldn’t help but pick up tools after outgrowing his Legos, Dafonseca recalled how, as a 14-year-old, he helped his electrician uncle wire a house his father helped build. Father was always about getting a project done right rather than just finishing on time, he recalls, and what pride everyone took when driving around a Rhode Island or Massachusetts community and seeing the fruits of their labor. 

Nowadays, it might take a drone to view Best Roofing’s craftsmanship, but how apparent it would be if the work hadn’t been done to the company’s standards. By that three-pronged strategy of safety, quality control and production, Dafonseca says the company ascertains its competence with every roofing and how he relishes being entrusted with more than just the legal end. 

Homelife also satisfies, Dafonseca and his wife raising a 2-year-old son.  

“We’re big on family, food and culture,” he says. When time permits, the family enjoys visiting Portugal, where they still have relatives. 

But the time for such fun can be at a premium, there being no shortage of work on these shores, what with construction booming in Best Roofing’s stronghold of Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, and sometimes answering calls from longtime clients with projects elsewhere in the Sunshine State. The likelihood of garnering a bigger piece of the pie has Best Roofing developing a new headquarters in Davie, a town 24 miles north of Miami. 

There, he collaborates with President and CEO Gregg Wallick in site selection, vendor vetting, contract negotiation and permitting.  

“It’ll be another castle,” Dafonseca assures. “And we’re going to need a bigger moat.”     

Published on: June 13, 2024

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