Back in the mid ’60s, Detroit plaster contractor Dominic Maltese Sr. (seated) was among the casualties of the Sheetrock revolution. Almost, that is. D.J. Maltese Co., one of the largest plasterers in Detroit, with 150 employees, withered, and in 1965, the company founder became a general contractor.

Today D.J. Maltese divides its energies between remodeling, commercial construction, and custom homes. President and CEO D.J. Maltese Jr. (standing, left, next to brother and VP, Joseph Maltese), son of the founder, runs the company with field superintendents, general managers, and clean-up crews. The rest, he subs out. “We have 2,600 tradesmen in our database, and we definitely know the bad ones,” Maltese says. Among the company’s achievements is the $6.8 million restoration of Orchestra Hall, home of the Detroit Symphony, one of the first major restoration projects in downtown Detroit.

The secret to the company’s success? “If you have good estimating,” Maltese says, “everything else falls in place.”