When he was 14, Wally Orfield (far right), following in his father's footsteps, purchased a burned-out building in downtown St. Paul, Minn., and rehabbed it. After a stint at the University of Minnesota School of Architecture, Orfield struck out on his own, first as a condo developer, then as a design/build remodeler. "The strength of our company," he says, "is in design: blending the old with the new, working out the myriad details." Recent innovations include an in-house estimating system tied to supplier Scherer Bros. Lumber, which keeps estimates accurate by periodically downloading cost updates.

With an infusion of new blood into the business -- namely his daughter as salesperson -- Orfield says his plan is to grow in size and delegate functions to the point where the company can run itself.