Walter Maxson
Maxson Remodeling & Construction
Zionsville, Ind.
Big50 1998


My goal is to create a company that operates within clearly defined systems and procedures, with each department (sales, production, and administration) managed by a key employee. If I am indispensible in any way, then an unexpected event that takes me out of the picture is a death blow to the company, and our clients and employees —as well as my family — would suffer a loss much greater than my absence.

Maxson Remodeling & Construction exists to serve others, and we operate so that can continue — no matter what happens.

Craig Tice
Tice Construction
Spooner, Wis.
Big50 2003

Monitoring the company's financials is something I've always done — and always will do — myself.

Because I started the business, I know precisely what is profitable and what isn't. I know all the important issues better than anyone else could. I know the business from the ground up. I could hire a controller to take a look at the financials for me, but it wouldn't mean the same thing to them as it does to me. Even the most astute financial wizard isn't familiar with my day-to-day operation and wouldn't notice the subtle nuances that I do.

Stephanie and Frank Zehna
Christian Roofing & Remodeling
Watkinsville, Ga.
Big50 2004

After learning a lot of hard lessons, the one thing we won't delegate is hiring. We're firm in our resolve to hire the best possible people for our business and firm in our belief that no one can make that determination better than we can.

Our hiring practices have evolved over the years, and now we're at the point where not only is the right skill set important, but the right mindset has equal value. We are only willing to hire the absolute best people; we just can't afford to settle for anything less. Being a small company in a relatively small town, it is imperative that we create and maintain a “team” atmosphere. As owners, we are the coaches of that team. And while we can tell the players the overall game plan, it is still up to us to make the draft picks.

Ron Roell
Basement Conversions
Big50 1995

In my marketing literature and on my Web site, I advertise that I'm an artist, not just a remodeler. So it's crucial that I stay heavily involved with customer relations.

I'm passionate about remodeling. When someone really enjoys what they do, it just exudes from them. I don't know how I would be able to relay that enthusiasm to someone else. There's no way I could hire someone to “be” me.

Kevin Ahern
Litchfield Builders
Hamden, Conn.
Big50 2001

I've already delegated some things I thought I never would, like estimating, for example. But there are several tasks that fall into the “steering the ship” category that I find I cannot delegate.

Although all of our employees are exceptional in their respective positions, it is the vision and drive from me and my partner that leads us.

So we continue to make the decisions on what work to take on and how to approach it. We decide what reinvestments are important for the future of the company. We sell the business through memberships in community organizations and associations.

Jeff Talmadge
Talmadge Construction
Aptos, Calif.
Big50 2003

I delegate anything I can, except reading and interpreting my financial reports. I have developed a set of what I call “Key Strategic Indicators” that I review each month to track patterns in all areas of the business.

If we aren't achieving the financial results we budgeted for, then adjustments need to be made. I am the person in charge of making adjustments, so I review the reports myself. An adjustment might mean laying someone off. As the president of the company, I want to make sure a last-resort decision like that is absolutely necessary.