Rick Messier found himself in a less-than-opportune position when the United Automobile Workers strike forced him to make a career shift. He had always played with the idea of working in construction because his father had done that kind of work. So when automobile work halted, Messier shifted gears and took a chance on construction, starting his business in the back of a pickup truck.

At first, he concentrated solely on the physical work. But it didn’t take long before  he started attending builders’ conferences and remodeling shows to learn more about running a business. Eventually he built his business into the 17-person operation it is today, with whole-house remodels making up a large part of the company’s work.

In 2010, Messier bought an old Victorian house to renovate and sell to keep his team busy during the slower economy. Additionally, the renovation was covered on the company’s blog and Facebook page, where people could follow the progress. “We decided to include it in the website as a little teaser-type thing that people could follow and play around with us,” Messier says.

Going forward, Messier would like to add another remodeling -related niche to his business—possibly insurance restoration.


  • Messier personally delivers employees’ paychecks each Friday. “It forces me to visit the jobsites,” he says.
  • He considers scheduling to be one of the company’s strong points. “We schedule every job before it starts from beginning to end, and then we track everything. We usually meet most of our time frames,” he says.
  • Messier Construction builds most of the custom cabinetry that goes into its remodeling projects; a cabinet shop is attached to the office, and one employee works there full time building cabinets.

This year we again partnered with GuildQuality, an Atlanta-based customer-satisfaction polling company, to identify candidates for the Service Excellence Award. Based on the results of customer surveys, the award recognizes incoming Big50 winners who consistently deliver an exceptional customer experience.