Americans drink beer and go to college even in recessions, making S.W. Scheipeter Construction fortunate to cover an area whose major employers include Anheuser-Busch and several universities. But owner Steve Scheipeter (center) has taken no chances with the economy and acted to strengthen potential vulnerabilities in his company before the downturn hit.

On the marketing front, he sought to supplement his strong referral base by boosting name-recognition through strategically placed ads in local media. Seeking less-disruptive change orders, Scheipeter fine-tuned the process so that work authorizations are reviewed quickly, projects stay on schedule, and clients appreciate the company’s prompt response and clear explanations of financial responsibilities.

An “electrical walk-through meeting” is another new SOP that requires client involvement and produces better results — for company finances as well as customer service.

- Leah Thayer