by Lindy Regan
If you could package Mike DeFazio’s drive and self-discipline, none of us would have trouble losing that last ten pounds, our kids would all get straight A’s, and the whole self-help industry might cease to exist. (His equally pronounced humility is sure to make him squirm at that first sentence, but so be it.) Mike is the owner and founder of DeFazio Construction, a full-service general contracting company specializing in commercial building and renovation. If you are a customer of Federal Business Centers you probably already know that, since DeFazio Construction is responsible for fitting up and customizing virtually all of Federal’s office space in Raritan Center over the past fifteen years.
“I treat all their customers like they were my own,” says Mike, who is as meticulous about his worksites as Federal is about its property. “There are a lot of people out there that do good carpentry work. What sets us apart from most is the cleanliness of our jobs. I stress that more than anything. Especially in Raritan Center, we’re working where people are running their businesses; we’re actually building while they are working. It takes a lot of effort to make that happen and that’s where the neatness pays off: it makes the jobs flow better; our guys present themselves well with the customers; the work gets done to a high standard with as little disruption as possible.”
There have been times when DeFazio Construction was completing in four to six weeks, two or three major jobs that would normally take 16 to 20 weeks, each. When Mike DeFazio decides something can be done, it will be done, and usually beyond anyone’s expectations but his own. That determination showed itself early.
As a teenager, Mike was a nationally ranked professional bowler. He started out playing casually with friends, “then one day I just took it to another level,” he explains. “I think that’s what I like about my business–when you’re out there doing the work, always raising the bar, and you’re growing and succeeding It’s that inner drive. I think once you have that it doesn’t go away, whatever you’re doing.”
He learned the building trade the same way. In 1989 a relative asked Mike if he could repair some minor flood damage to their home in Toms River. Pleased with the results, they asked if he could replace their roof and side the house. “I’ll never forget it,” Mike says. “I never roofed in my life; I never did siding in my life. But I said, ‘Ok, yeah. I can do it,’” and that inner drive was reignited. One successful job led to another and another in the area. “That’s where I did my residency. It developed from that into what it is today.”
As the business grew, Mike reluctantly but necessarily quit working in the field several years ago to manage full time, entrusting the labor to the “phenomenal” group of carpenters now on staff. In addition to its work for Federal Business Centers, DeFazio Construction has been responsible for building and renovation projects for companies including BMW, Subway, Blimpie, and Garda, and for the stunning Robert Wood Johnson Fitness & Wellness Center in Scotch Plains.
DeFazio Construction is
the solution to any corporate construction need
While Mike DeFazio’s determination to excel is as strong as ever, it is no longer the major force in his life. When he mentions his wife, Annette, son Michael, who’s 9, and daughter, Tara, 5, the room seems to grow lighter and warmer. “I absolutely love what I do,” he says. “It’s a passion for me even after all these years. But what drives me most is my wife and children. If I’m not at work, I’m home, and loving every minute of it. My business is important. My family is everything.”
by Lindy Regan