For a family that has been improving homes in and around Madison for more than half a century, the Sweeneys remain refreshingly engaged in improving their business model as well. In 1954, Herb Sweeney hung out his shingle as a handyman and began teaching his sons core trade skills and business values. The brothers incorporated Sweeney Construction in 1986, and every year Tim and his wife Linda (Mike is still on staff but no longer an owner) strengthen the quality of their relationships with homeowners, employees, and the community.

For instance, the entire staff routinely evaluates systems and procedures by way of the Kaizen continuous improvement method, made famous by Toyota. Similarly, every employee participated in the recent development of mission and vision statements, a process that “has helped us bond as a unified group and become a stronger company,” Tim says.

A superior client experience is one goal, and to that end the company has several best practices. Daily standard operating procedures are mapped out in a manual called “Life of a Job” (improved continuously, of course). Marketing outreach activities include “client appreciation events” at newly completed projects to show prospects how good those job results can be.

- Leah Thayer