The funky Ronald McDonald socks say a lot.
So does the inside of the brown, checkered jacket, which is lined with logos of various charities.
Both tell you what matters to Charles Antis, the charity-minded founder and chief executive of Antis Roofing and Waterproofing.
“I have branding all over me,” an animated Antis points out, pulling open his jacket.
The corner office of his Irvine-based company tells a story too, cluttered as it is with boxes of inspirational items he likes to give out — journals, books, bottles of wine and buttons that, when pressed, say: “You Are a Badass!”
Charles Antis stands atop a Habitat for Humanity of Orange County project in Santa Ana, Calif., on Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017. The roofing company owner, whose philanthropy includes providing roofs for all Habitat for Humanity builds in Orange County since 2009, is one of the Orange County Register’s most influential people. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)Charles Antis at a Habitat for Humanity of Orange County project in Santa Ana, Calif., on Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017. The roofing company owner, whose philanthropy includes providing roofs for all Habitat for Humanity builds in Orange County since 2009, is one of the Orange County Register’s most influential people. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)Charles Antis stands atop a Habitat for Humanity of Orange County project in Santa Ana, Calif., on Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017. The roofing company owner, whose philanthropy includes providing roofs for all Habitat for Humanity builds in Orange County since 2009, is one of the Orange County Register’s most influential people. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)A wall in the office of Charles Antis at Antis Roofing & Waterproofing in Irvine is made of erase-able whiteboard, so he can jot down thoughts and inspirational sayings. Antis infuses the company he started in 1989 with the philanthropic guidelines of corporate social responsibility. (Photo by Theresa Walker, Orange County Register/SCNG)Charles Antis stands atop a Habitat for Humanity of Orange County project in Santa Ana, Calif., on Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017. The roofing company owner, whose philanthropy includes providing roofs for all Habitat for Humanity builds in Orange County since 2009, is one of the Orange County Register’s most influential people. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)A thankful Outstanding Mid-Size Business honoree Charles Antis of Antis Roofing & Waterproofing, speaks during the National Philanthropy Day Orange County annual luncheon at the City National Grove of Anaheim in Anaheim on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG)Jim McAleer, left, of Alzheimer’s Orange County, presents the Outstanding Mid-Size Business award to honoree Charles Antis, of Antis Roofing & Waterproofing, during the National Philanthropy Day Orange County annual luncheon at the City National Grove of Anaheim in Anaheim on Thursday, November 16, 2017. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG)Show Caption of Expand
The patterns, the color schemes, the talking buttons might all clash, but the message is clear: Charity is key to Antis; key to his personal well being and to the success of his roofing enterprise.
Can’t give too much
His socks copy Ronald McDonald, the clown mascot for both McDonald’s and the restaurant giant’s Ronald McDonald House charity, which provides overnight stays for parents whose children are hospitalized.
Antis sits on the board of the National Roofing Contractors Association and, earlier this year, convinced his fellow roofers to initiate an effort to maintain, repair or replace the roofs of 183 Ronald McDonald Houses around the country.
One of the logos in his jacket is for Habitat for Humanity of Orange County. Over the past 10 years, Antis and his roughly 100 employees at Antis Roofing have donated time to install the roofs on all Habitat houses built in Orange County. That’s close to 70 homes.
“It’s a pretty impressive commitment,” says Sharon Ellis, president and CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Orange County. “I think, in a way, it changed his vision of how you find a way to contribute in your community.
“It’s not just Charles making this commitment. It’s his company, which is pretty amazing.”
Sayings scribbled on the white board that doubles as an office wall reinforce the theme:
“My purpose is to: Ignite passion in others for exponential social change.”
“Charles … you simply cannot give too much!!! So say ‘Yes!’”
“Be brief, be bright, be gone.”
The last one is something Antis’ friend and inspiration, Wing Lam, co-founder of Wahoo’s Fish Tacos, likes to tell the talkative Antis.
Similar white board walls are located throughout company headquarters so that employees can scribble their two cents.
A short video about Antis’ charitable work for Habitat and Ronald McDonald House was played in November, at the 2017 National Philanthropy Day Orange County awards, where Antis Roofing was named the mid-size business honoree.
But those projects are only part of what the company, and Antis, do to help others.
In addition to local Habitat for Humanity projects, Antis’ company has given money and done roof work for more than 35 nonprofits. That’s meant dozens of free leak repairs and large-scale maintenance projects, involving homes of low-income families and offices of local nonprofits.
And in partnership with the Honda Center in Anaheim, Antis Roofing has hosted hundreds of military veterans and local nonprofits — staff, donors, board members and recipients of services — in a special suite used for Ducks games.
Last month, Antis was given the Best Corporate Steward award for 2017 by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
But Antis says it’s likely none of this would have happened if, decades ago, he hadn’t met a young disabled girl at a Thai orphanage.
Antis, who was raised Mormon in Oregon’s timber country, was serving the mission required of young adult males by the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints. He didn’t really want to go on the mission, he says now, because he felt like he was just fulfilling other people’s expectations. Today, at 55, he no longer adheres to his Mormon faith, and he says he was struggling, spiritually, even then.
At the orphanage in Thailand, disabled children often sat or crawled on the floor. They weren’t particularly clean, Antis says, and he hesitated to get too close. But one girl, perhaps 9 years old, held her arms up to him, and he couldn’t walk away.
She suffered from spina bifida, which in severe forms can result in paralysis and scoliosis and some difficulties in learning. But when he picked her up she wrapped her arms around him tightly.
Antis starts to cry as he remembers how she dug her fingernails into him, unwilling to be returned to the floor, and how he ended up cradling her for five hours.
“I just couldn’t put her down. It was like, for the first time, I was doing something purposeful,” he said.
“This little thing that I did meant so much to her. And to me.”
One roof at a time
Antis has five children; three who are grown, from a first marriage that ended in divorce, and a pair of 3-year-old twins with wife Dawn Antis.
Between family, work and philanthropic activities, Antis manages to carve out time for himself every morning. He rises at 5 a.m. and pours his lean 6’2″ frame into the community pool at his home in Irvine to do about 20 laps. Then he writes in “The Five-Minute Journal,” the popular 180-day book of brief writing exercises geared at cultivating happiness, purpose and gratitude.
“Those first two hours that I serve myself allow me to serve everybody else the rest of the day,” says Antis, who hits the bed again at 8 p.m.
He says he wasn’t a good student at Brigham Young University. But he always worked hard (he credits an ethic instilled by his father) and, by the time he was 19, he’d saved $10,000 by mowing lawns and other jobs around town. He used the money to finance his mission.
After college, Antis was recruited to sell insulation in Southern California, a place he had always felt he was meant to be, away from the confines of his small hometown.
But he said he abruptly quit the insulation job when he felt customers were being ripped off. The only other work he could get that summer of 1984 was as a roofer in the Torrance area. “Brutal work,” Antis said of the back-breaking job. But he learned he had a knack for sniffing out the source of leaks and fixing them.
Antis started his own roofing business five years later, focusing on repairing leaks. He offered to do some tricky jobs that others had failed to accomplish for free, seeing it as both a way to demonstrate his expertise and to build clientele. He decided early on to serve only homeowners associations.
The company hit a rough patch during the Great Recession and the state’s prolonged drought, but has since recovered. He’s done enough with roofing operations in Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties that he can reward all employees with sizable year-end bonuses.
That “do some work for free” mindset started early and, again, was inspired by a child. Responding to a phone call, Antis showed up at the door of a struggling family in Los Angeles County. A young girl answered and, as he walked inside, he quickly saw that the house leaked in every room, reeking of mildew. Family members slept on four moldy mattresses on a bedroom floor.
Initially, Antis wanted to bolt. Instead, he rounded up volunteers to install a new roof.
“We never could let anybody have a leaky roof because they didn’t have enough to pay.”
Antis wants to develop a message and a model of corporate social responsibility that can be copied by other mid-range and small businesses. He hopes to show how putting people before profits — within each company and their communities — leads to financial stability and long-term opportunities.
“We know we’re on to something,” Antis said. “We just need to learn to talk about it better.”
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Source: Oc Register