Three generations of Adamses have transformed what began as an off-hours construction hobby into a sophisticated design/build firm that is widely admired in its market west of Toronto.

Gary's father Ken laid the foundation during the early 1950s, but it wasn't until Gary (far left) and wife Marie (white shirt) incorporated Pioneer Craftsmen — and then endured some hard knocks — that the business began to flourish. They credit much of their success to eldest son Jamie (far right), who joined the company a decade ago and will run it, with fellow design consultant/project manager Paul Meier (seated), after Gary and Marie transition out in five years.

Staff and clients alike seem dedicated to the company. Employees enjoy perks such as quarterly profit-sharing, gift certificates and spot bonuses for exemplary work, a $500 annual education allowance, internal training workshops, and carpentry apprenticeships through a nearby college. Only one employee has left in four years, and that decision was mutual.

Clients appreciate doing business with a family-run operation backed by a five-year warranty. Repeat clients are legion; one has returned for 21 jobs — and sent a warm thank-you note after each. All will be invited to educational seminars in the spacious new facility the company moved into late last year.

- Leah Thayer