courtesy Delbert Adams Construction Group

Why start a remodeling company now? “It’s not a bad time to do it if you recognize that every decision is critical,” says Delbert Adams ( Big50 1991).

Terrific talent is available, for one thing — and every hire is critical. When Adams left Ilex Construction, the 200-person high-end firm he co-owned from 1986 to 2007, he initially planned to open a spa, then found himself managing projects upon request. “It became clear to me that I liked building an organization,” he says. He started Delbert Adams Construction Group, exceeded all expectations in his first full year, 2008, and projects an equally strong 2009. He already has 25 employees and offices in Middleburg, Va., Baltimore, and Rehoboth Beach, Del.

Adams credits his staff with much of his second-time success. “The fantastic people who have found their way to join me want to be part of a new success story, and they’re making themselves accountable to that achievement,” he says.

Speed and efficiency are also key. While the new company’s projects range from $65,000 kitchen remodels to seven-figure custom homes, Adams is getting ready to launch a service division. “It’s more of a speedboat, as opposed to an ocean liner,” he says, when asked to compare his new venture with his previous one.

—Leah Thayer, senior editor, REMODELING.