When Ken Whyrick was named Big50 in 1988, the Nebraska remodeler had been going strong for eight years and would continue for 10 more. However, by 1999, he was running the 20-employee Stone Wood Builders and participating in leadership roles in local and national industry associations. “I was spending more time on the road than on the business. I lost my marriage. I had burned out,” he says.

He decided to work for another remodeler. Whyrick moved to Jacksonville, Fla., and spent three years working for two remodeling companies. Then he began researching sales positions for building product manufacturers.

In the meantime, he married Carol Whyrick. They purchased and started remodeling a 1928 bungalow. When his neighbors asked him for help on their homes, the remodeling bug returned.

He and Carol now run Whyrick Builders with two employees. The company has a sales volume of $1.25 million. “Our biggest problem is keeping our business small,” Whyrick says. “We're charging more than when I was big and had a lot of overhead. Now we select our clients.”

He and Carol try to balance work, industry participation, and home life. “It's great to volunteer, but you have to limit yourself,” Whyrick says.