Jeff King readily admits to one of the criticisms he heard at a recent peer group evaluation of his company: “I micromanage too much,” he says. He's working on it, though, creating systems and structuring meetings so as to better empower his managers.

This has freed King to focus more on, in his words, “being the face of the company.” He's involved in the community, both inside and outside the industry. He is also committed to having at least two lunch meetings a month with architects or potential clients.

King uses the company office — an old corner store — as a way to bring in clients: He holds art shows there, which not only bring in people on “opening night,” but also catch the eye of curious passersby who stop in for a peek. King — who holds an advanced degree in the fine arts himself — says his motivation is only partially out of self-interest. “It's my way of keeping one foot in the art world,” he says, “but it's a pretty good crossover industry, too.”

- Hayden Alfano