James Madsen (pictured, in blue) is raising the level of professionalism in the industry by working with the local community, educating employees, and coaching subcontractors.

His staff designers are CAASH (Certified Active Adult Specialist in Housing) certified and are taking classes for CAPS (Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist) certification, both through the National Association of Home Builders, to better serve empty-nest clients who want to remain in their homes as they age. “We would like to design about 30% of our jobs for the aging-in-place demographic,” Madsen says.

The company is also evolving into a green leader, recently participating in the state's green pilot program. Even though the certification guidelines have not been finalized, Madsen's crew remodeled a rambler following an outline of the program's goals. “Whether or not homeowners want to certify their houses, we should be helping all of them make wise choices,” he says.

When Madsen sought to build a new office, he worked with city officials to find a location and capitalize on limited commercially-zoned land, and built a 16,000-square-foot space to house not just his company's office but other business tenants as well.

The company also funded a scholarship for high school students to use for advanced education related to design and construction. “We need to encourage the next generation by showing them that they can create a career,” he says.

- Nina Patel