Orange, California, Branch Leadership Highlight: Henry Fontana, Branch Manager at VFS Fire & Security Services

Henry Fontana’s experience in fire safety systems goes back to his humble beginnings. 

More than 25 years ago, he started as a pipe fitter at a fire sprinkler company in New York City, installing fire sprinkler systems. It’s there that his passion for this industry began. 

 “Eager to delve deeper, I transitioned into the office, where I found my calling in design,” he said, where he also learned about management and operations. His enthusiasm and dedication were quickly noticed by his employers, who increased his responsibilities over time. Eventually, he would go on to become VP of operations, overseeing a prominent firm in a dynamic, bustling market. 

He would later seek new challenges and growth opportunities, so he joined another firm and served as head of operations. “Drawing upon my leadership and strategic vision, I successfully revitalized a struggling market, demonstrating my ability to drive impactful change,” he said. 

However, as life evolved, so did his aspirations. After his son enlisted in the Army, Fontana sought a change of scenery. He relocated to Ohio for a VP of sales position, managing a portfolio that exceeded $500 million in new sales. His recent move to California is a decision that wasn’t made lightly. His younger son is in elementary school, so his wife and son will join him in California when the time is right.

“Despite the logistical considerations, I am genuinely excited about this new chapter in our lives,” he said. “From the breathtaking landscapes to the vibrant culture, there’s so much to experience and appreciate about California.”

Leadership Goals 

“Now, armed with a wealth of experience, knowledge, and a deep-rooted passion for the fire protection industry, I embark on a new chapter with Fortis. I am excited to leverage my expertise and leadership skills to contribute to the growth and enhancement of the business, bringing forth innovative solutions and driving sustainable success.”

Fontana’s primary goal with Fortis is to lead the team to greatness while fostering an environment of growth and development, as well as a positive and inclusive culture. He’ll also share his extensive knowledge of the fire protection industry and influence the team by sharing best practices and innovative approaches to the work.  

By leading with empathy and focusing on clear communication, he aims to inspire and motivate the team with a positive and inclusive culture. “By actively listening to my team members’ concerns, ideas, and feedback, I strive to create an inclusive environment where everyone feels valued and empowered to contribute their best work,” he said.

Fontana’s father actually inspired his servant leadership principles. As a carpenter-turned-construction VP, his father showed him how to work hard and grow in the construction industry. “As a child, I watched my father navigate the complexities of the construction world with integrity, resilience, and a commitment to excellence. He wasn’t just a leader in his field; he was also a mentor and role model to me, shaping my values and work ethic from a young age,” Fontana remembered. 

One thing his father taught him is to never ask anyone to do something you’re not willing to do yourself. 

“Looking to the future, I aspire to emulate the qualities of leadership, integrity, and compassion that my father exemplifies. I hope to continue his legacy of excellence and make him proud by becoming the kind of leader he has always been to me.”