Steve Barkhouse says he has probably done everything “you’re not supposed to do in business” — worked with and for family and friends, had relatives on staff — but the method has served him well. One of the few design/build remodelers in Ottawa, Barkhouse says that most of his success comes from his staff: “Loyal, hardworking skilled craftsmen and women who care about their work and not their paycheck. We have a good company culture. My team comes to my aid quickly.”

Amsted Construction doesn’t use many trade partners. Employees do most of the work, and everything is custom. “We have what we call the ‘Amsted Advantage,’ our process of taking clients from the thought of wanting to remodel to successful completion,” Barkhouse says. “Our five-year warranty, guarantee of quality work, and our good reputation and awards are all part of our advantage for clients.”

Amsted Construction has low staff turnover, and as testament, the interlock walkway in front of the office is paved with stones that are engraved with employees’ names and their length of employment with the company.

- Stacey Freed