Rarely will you find a remodeling company more aptly named than Authentic Construction. Owners Mike and Marlene Killa live and work in a historic district of St. Paul, and all of the company's work is done in three or four neighborhoods within a five-mile radius of the office. “It's a real challenge to make the new fit the old,” says Mike (in white shirt).

But it's a challenge that the Killas and their team welcome. With detail being the priority on the company's high-end jobs, Authentic Construction's craftsmen are perhaps its biggest asset.

“Our carpenters are very in tune to the old style of woodworking,” Mike says. “They are all highly trained in that area.” He also characterizes his design staff as “extraordinary.”

In 2000, Mike decided to overhaul his office systems, systemizing and computerizing everything. “It was an ‘old dog, new trick' thing, and the old dogs didn't want to get on the bandwagon,” he says, noting that he experienced nearly 100% turnover during that time. Since then, however, there has been almost zero turnover. “We've now progressed to where it's all working,” he says.