Brian Leader (right) and Seth Cammeyer (left) earned their spurs in canvassing and sales for other specialty contracting companies before moving to Columbus to start Ohio Energy Corp.

The pair started out selling, and they did it night and day. Subcontractors handled installation. "We came out of the gate like a rocket," Leader recalls. Three years later, Ohio Energy began installing as well. "Our background was always in the front end," Leader points out, "so the challenge was to hire people who understood that part of the business."

A move into sunrooms in the mid-'90s gave Ohio Energy a big boost in volume, and the development of an in-house software program for managing all processes from lead procurement to punch list gave them the managerial tools to control and channel it.