What is the biggest misconception about the industry?

The idea that wage theft is not an issue for owners and general contractors is a misconception. For construction leaders, wage theft is a strategic liability with far-reaching consequences, both legally and reputationally. This is especially frustrating because in many if not most cases, general contractors do not engage in wage theft knowingly. They simply have limited visibility into the labor practices of their numerous subcontractors.

While politicians in Washington and in statehouses across the country have been introducing legislation and tightening regulations around wage theft, I don’t believe this approach is what’s best for preventing wage theft in the construction industry. A better direction is to develop market-based solutions driven by technology.


What keeps you up at night?

Building trust in the construction industry requires a deliberate commitment to transparency, collaboration, and tech-driven solutions. By embracing these principles, construction leaders can not only mitigate the risks and costs associated with wage theft but also build a more productive, efficient, and sustainable workforce. This, in turn, leads to improved project outcomes, enhanced client satisfaction and a stronger reputation for the industry. The future of construction, like the buildings it creates, must rest on a solid foundation of fairness, integrity and shared prosperity.


What project is your company most proud of?

Right now, we are most proud of the progress we have made in pursuit of our mission to protect companies and protect workers. In just over one year, we now have more than 80 companies and more than 7000 individuals using Verfico. This creates a more transparent labor landscape which fuels fair competition, prevents wage theft, and creates value for our customers.


How does your ABC membership help your company?

ABC Membership has been a key catalyst for growth for Verfico. Since we address an issue that is so painful for many ABC members, we have made a commitment to leverage our relationship with ABC as a foundational pillar of our sales and marketing strategy. We are members of two ABC Chapters, and we are on the ABC Tech Marketplace. We have sponsored, presented at, and attended multiple ABC events, including the 2024 Convention. I wrote this article in Construction Executive to bring attention to the problem and advocate for commercial technology solutions as opposed to regulatory and legislative efforts.


What do you look forward to each day?

I look forward to learning something each day. One of the main reasons I didn't go into a more traditional post-FBI career is because I thrive in environments where I am always learning and growing. Since I am relatively new to both construction and leading a technology company, I learn something every hour of every day.


What are you like to work for?

My leadership philosophy is "In command - out of control." In command - I seek and accept responsibility for for all aspects of the organization, set high expectations, provide strategic vision, communicate clearly, and build a culture of excellence and collaboration. Out of control - Simply stated, this means "not controlling" people, projects, and teams. I send frequent, intentional messages of trust in the capability, effectiveness, and judgment of my leaders by not attempting to control their work. This is most difficult, but most effective during times of crisis and organizational change.


What is your favorite metro Washington hangout/restaurant? 

Currently it's the Avenue in Chevy Chase. As a teenager it was Maggie's in Tenley Circle. In my 30s it was Cleveland Park Bar and Grill. There are a lot of similarities among those spots, so I guess I have not grown up much. I also miss The Dancing Crab - nothing lasts forever.


What did you want to be when you grew up? 

I wanted to be an FBI Agent, and I was able to spend 20 years in my dream job before starting Verfico and embarking on this rewarding new journey.


What is your favorite movie or TV show?

My favorite movie is Goodfellas. I am embarrassed to admit I know every line of the movie. It’s a classic tragedy, A story about a "bad guy" who is actually good in many ways, but in the end, he and everyone else is held accountable for their actions. But they had a lot of good times on the way down.


What book are you currently reading? 

I am re-reading 2034, A Novel of the Next World War, by Admiral James Stavridis and Elliott Ackerman. As an FBI Executive I purchased a copy for my entire leadership team. Thirty days later, Admiral Stavridis spent an hour with the team, and we discussed the key lessons, and warnings in the book. It is a novel, because it is set in the future, but it is a stark warning about how fragile the current global peace is, and how easily cyber warfare cans escalate into significant kinetic, and potentially nuclear war. This is a must read for all leaders who care about the future prosperity of our country.

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Verfico Technology is the first and only provider of wage assurance technology in the commercial construction industry. Wage theft is a problem plaguing construction, and many efforts to mitigate the issue are focused on legislation, regulation, and enforcement. Verfico enables the prevention of wage theft on job sites.


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Matt DeSarno