Twenty years ago, Don Van Cura Construction had 17 employees on staff, and more work than the company could handle. “I had a day shift and a night shift, and I was working both of them,” Don Van Cura, pictured with office manager Sonia Santos, recalls.

Since then, the company has shrunk its staff to just seven employees and now focuses exclusively on residential projects. The makeover, according to Van Cura, has changed the way he lives and works. “It makes no sense to have a business if it doesn't serve my needs first,” he says. “What I want is time.”

So during the summer months, Van Cura works just four days a week to make time for his family and hobbies, which include sailing, flying his four-person aircraft, and riding motorcycles.

Van Cura, who now uses the lead carpenter system, holds his trade contractors to stringent standards.

“We're just fanatical about people being professional,” he says, which is why he requires all of his trades to do employee background checks as part of their hiring process.

Van Cura is also fanatical about customer service. A year after a project is completed, he'll send a carpenter over to the client's home to do an inspection and take care of anything that might need a bit of maintenance.

- Chris Keimig