James F. Getzelman, 50-year veteran of the industry and founder of Westway Carpentry in St. Charles, Ill., died of cancer in January of this year. We honor his memory and achievements with this first-ever posthumous presentation of the Big 50 award.

A shrewd businessman and consummate professional, Getzelman set the systems in place that have allowed his company to continue to flourish. Its subcontract carpentry work keeps its highly-skilled union carpenters busy, and a single production manager handles the allocation of labor between this work and their more lucrative mid- to high-end design/build remodeling work, which uses freelance architects.

Soft-sell marketing with home show displays and newsletters and a customized lead-tracking database keep the work coming in. An incentive bonus program, which divides the money from jobs that come in under bid between the owner, company, estimator, foreman, and production manager, keeps the jobs profitable.