When John Wolfe walked into his bank one day in 1989 to discuss financing, he didn't expect he'd find a business partner. Looking for a loan for a spec home, Wolfe met with Jim Scovell, a commercial lender with a foot in real estate. After hitting it off professionally, Wolfe (right) and Scovell joined forces on several spec remodels between 1990 and 1993. By 1994, the duo's clientele was clamoring for them to do more kitchen and bath remodels, and the business of Scovell Wolfe & Associates took off from there.

Having begun work as a skilled and talented pair, Scovell and Wolfe continue to foster a team environment at the company, inspiring more than a third of their field staff to stay on more than five years. “We're thankful to have a number of long-tenured employees,” Wolfe says. “We feel it's not only because we treat employees well and offer competitive benefits, but also because we explain to them from the time of their first interview that we're looking for staff interested in making a career in this industry, and a number of our employees have reaped those benefits.”

On sales calls, Scovell Wolfe employs a tag-team approach, sending two company representatives, at least one an owner, to make the proposal. “If one of us isn't making the best impression, the other one can,” Scovell says. “Also, when two of us show up, one being an owner, the homeowner feels they're getting extra-special attention.”

In the office, Wolfe, Scovell, their production managers, and other staff take advantage of a bullpen workspace layout with open desks instead of closed offices. “It ensures that we're all communicating regularly and effectively,” Scovell says. “No one at the company — not even me or John — have individual offices. That really helps us promote our ‘open door' policy and the culture of teamwork.”