Paulo Souza – PSI Roofing
- Written by: Mary Raitt Jordan
- Produced by: Victor Martins
- Estimated reading time: 4 mins
Working 20 stories above the ground in the scorching sun can be a brutal fact of life for the South Florida roofing business.
But that’s where you’ll find PSI Roofing’s Paulo Souza, who has to handle everything from safety issues to environmental factors—not to mention the volatile economic cycles of a hurricane-riddled industry.
Having been in business for more than 25 years, Souza has capitalized on high-revenue wind-mitigation efforts for clients including the Florida Medical Center, military sites in Key West, and the King David Tower in Miami. These projects have helped transform his business, Souza says, opening up new opportunities at every turn.
“Our history has shown us that slow steady growth brings longevity and more sustainable results,” he says. “We seek small growth year after year that allows us to serve our clientele while maintaining quality and safety.”
Helping out healthcare
Founded in 1994, PSI has grown into a commercial renovation roofing enterprise with 100 employees and earning more than $12 million in annual revenue.
With a focus on what Souza calls “flat-roof” jobs, PSI’s portfolio includes shopping centers, condo associations, industrial and military complexes, and municipal and institutional projects. But it’s the hospital market that’s heated up the most—and PSI has been quick to capitalize.
Completed in 2018 for Tenet Healthcare, the multimillion-dollar Florida Medical Center project in Fort Lauderdale saw PSI replace more than 80,000 square feet of roofing over such sensitive areas as operating rooms, an intensive care unit and other patient-occupied spaces. To minimize disruption, work was conducted with interior safety monitors and by coordinating work around the needs of critical medical staff during odd hours and night shifts.
“This project, in particular, helped us expand our niche into the hospital market,” Souza says.
In the Navy
Hospital work is just one element of PSI’s repertoire.
In 2015, the company started working with the U.S. Navy. Since then, PSI has tackled several jobs throughout the Southeastern U.S. and the Bahamas.
Some, such as at Naval Air Station Key West’s facilities in Boca Chica, Trumbo Point and Truman Annex, were done in response to damage from Hurricane Irma in 2017.
“These buildings are key facilities for naval operations,” Souza says. “Our certified workers have shown they can perform their trade at high-security locations for the U.S. government.”
On the metropolitan opposite end of the spectrum was work at the King David Tower in the heart of Miami Beach, one of the most difficult of Souza’s projects.
Working 24 stories above the ground, PSI replaced 20,000 square feet of original clay roof tiles on a sloped roof back last year. The challenge was to perform the $400,000 project with no staging areas and little room for parking, equipment and materials storage. To get it done, Souza and his team utilized scaffolding and exterior elevators.
“It was a diverse project that served as our business card for prospective clients,” Souza says. “It was as source of many referrals.”
An invisible challenge
Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, calls for roofing repairs have not stopped.
Considered an “essential business,” Souza’s team is tackling new projects to keep commercial buildings and residential condominiums watertight. Employees are trained to take proper precautions and kept updated on the latest CDC health guidelines. In addition, PSI provides personal protective equipment to keep its employees and clients safe.
“We’ve adapted to the required changes in our daily life with proper hygiene, safety and social distancing,” he says.
Today, 90 percent of office staff is working remotely—a policy Souza instituted at the start of the pandemic.
“We’ve maintained all of our employees and even added new players to our staff,” he says.
Go with the flow
Souza remembers when he himself was a new player in the South Florida construction business, back in the mid-2000s. After spending years as a production and logistics manager, he was in the market for a new career.
“I saw the opportunity to join the industry and applied for a position in project management. I was hired by PSI Roofing in 2006 and never looked back again,” Souza says. “At the time I didn’t have a career preference so I believe God had a plan for me and I’ve been blessed since then.”
The same year he was hired by PSI, Souza went back to school, earning an associate’s degree from Palm Beach State College in 2008, followed by a bachelor’s degree in business management from Florida Atlantic University two years later.
By 2014, he became one of the company’s partners and president. In addition, Souza has served for eight years as president and committee chairman of charity and public relations at the Roofing Contractors Association of South Florida.
More than anything, Souza enjoys breathing new life into worn out structures, knowing his work solves a problem for customers and alleviates worry for years to come.
“Each project is different and unique and we get to do something different every day,” he says.
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