Gary Eichhorst (seated) started his company in 1978, “the worst time to start a business.” Recession was right around the corner. Before long, there was no work, so the owner kept his company but took a job with the local sheriff’s department. He worked on the force for 18 years.

Meanwhile, Eichhorst revved up his business again—hiring employees and migrating from custom homes into remodeling. He typically drove to jobsites in his squad car, and after the day there, put in a full shift at the sheriff’s.

Three years ago Eichhorst parked his squad car for good and threw himself into his company. Since then, Eichhorst & Co. has absorbed several local remodelers, increased sales, steadily expanded the size of its average jobs, and added niche services such as concrete home construction to the company’s product offering. “We are looking to build a company that’s a fun and secure environment for people,” Eichhorst says.