“Parents want their kids to be doctors and lawyers, not carpenters,” says Gemmi Construction owner John Gemmi, but he’s changing that. Having aced tech school, Gemmi now serves on his local vocational school’s advisory board, helps ensure the curriculum stays current, and is active in NARI’s education committee.

True to his own experience, Gemmi finds many of his carpenters through vocational schools and hires seniors as apprentices. “They go to school in the morning, then work on jobs for the rest of the day,” Gemmi says. “By the time they come to work full-time, they’re trained in our culture.”

All Gemmi Construction lead carpenters are required to earn the CLC designation, and Gemmi often takes the whole company to trade shows. “Everyone is required to take at least three seminars,” he says. “At the trade show, everyone chooses a new tool the company will buy for them to take home to make their jobs easier.”


—Gemmi abides by the growing trend of maintaining multiple budgets for good, better, and best scenarios during a given year. “Having three budgets really makes it easier to make decisions in your company based on numbers rather than on how the year ‘feels,’” Gemmi says.

—Award-winning work gives Gemmi a chance to really “wow” his clients. In addition to submitting their work for award recognition, Gemmi has brought his clients to contractor-of-the-year gala dinners to make them feel extra special and to give them something to talk about with their neighbors.

—Small jobs can be lucrative. Though Gemmi Construction doesn’t advertise to bring in small jobs, Gemmis says that he’ll never pass one up. “We like them because they can fill in breaks between larger jobs, and we’re also able to make a really good profit with upward of 70% margin,” he says. “A job as small as $3,00 or $4,000 can bring in a lot of repeat work down the line.”