Dave Fontaine Jr.
CEO, Fontaine Bros. Inc.; President and CEO, F2 Ventures LLC: Age 34
Dave Fontaine Jr. said it was probably only minutes after the sign went up on the door at the White Hut in West Springfield announcing that it was closed that he was on the phone to Andy Yee, saying something had to be done.
Yee, the leader of the Bean Restaurant Group, who passed away in 2021, told Fontaine that he was essentially already on it. The two would join a host of other partners in saving what Fontaine called an “institution — a place none of us wanted to see closed.”
This involvement with the White Hut is just one line on Fontaine’s ultra-impressive résumé, one that includes several accomplishments with the family business, the construction firm Fontaine Bros. Inc.; with F2 Ventures LLC, through which he invests in and advises existing and early-stage companies across various industries; and within the community.
Let’s start with Fontaine Bros. There, Fontaine has orchestrated spectacular growth, taking the fourth-generation company from $65 million when he joined in 2011 to more than $280 million today. This has been accomplished through new business divisions, including a construction-management unit; expansion into new regions, such as Worcester; and a slew of new projects — from the Court Square project in Springfield to a new, $260 million high school in Worcester (the largest project in the company’s history) to the new DeBerry-Swan elementary-school project in Springfield.
As for F2 Ventures, Fontaine is involved a number of startup and developing businesses, ranging from Trade Hounds, a social-media platform focused on the hiring process for construction tradespeople, to Otto Technoloigies, a ladder-safety company using AI and machine-learning technologies to predict and prevent ladder accidents, to SkillSignal, a construction technology platform that makes safety, compliance, and risk control simple by digitizing worker certificates, safety orientations, and more.
Meanwhile, within the community, Fontaine was instrumental in the creation of the Fontaine Community Foundation, which supports worthy causes across the region and across the state. The foundation has a unique, employee-directed component to encourage philanthropy and community involvement among employees.
Fontaine and his, wife, Sara, are active supporters of many worthy causes, including Link to Libraries, efforts to combat diabetes (one of their daughters was recently diagnosed with the disease), a school game day, by which thousands of children get to attend a Springfield Thunderbirds game, and much more.
Summing it all up, he said matter-of-factly, “I’m an entrepreneur who ended up in a great family business.”