When Rick Wuest (pictured) came to work for the window manufacturing company started by his father, he knew little to nothing about retail marketing and selling. Then the company moved from supplying contractors to selling to homeowners, and management had to learn how to generate leads and sell in the home. “It took a few years to get things figured out,” Wuest says.

He must have been a good student. Thompson Creek Window Co. has posted steady growth throughout the decade, and has earned plaudits from organizations such as The Better Business Bureau of Greater Maryland, which last year awarded the company its Torch Award for marketplace ethics.

Wuest says he has learned that profitable growth is about “planning, goal-setting, and creating a culture of expectations for how to achieve those goals.” For example, last spring he pointed out to employees that the company had never sold $3 million in one month. They chose to make the month October. Along came the stock market crash. “It was a bit of a struggle, but we hit the goal and had our best month ever in the middle of a recession,” Wuest says

- Jim Cory