The Greek immigrant father of Paul Despenas and sister Kaliope Eaton founded a home improvement company and then built it with the leads he knocked on doors to get. “He always said: ‘Pay suppliers first, then the installers and salespeople, and yourself last,’” Despenas says.

Today, almost six decades after it was founded, Midwest Construction has operations in Des Moines and Mason City, Iowa. It installs vinyl windows and siding as well as sunrooms, and has grown every year due to its marketing prowess, longevity, and possessing a recognized name. Its TV and radio ads focus on customer testimonials instead of “call tonight and get 50% off.”

Once a year, every salesperson is required to submit the names of four customers who can be approached as potential TV spokespeople. It also sponsors the Des Moines Home and Garden Show.


  • Midwest Construction’s long-standing relationship with well-known local DJs Bonnie and Van, who host twice a year open houses at the company’s showrooms.
  • The company’s sponsorship of the Des Moines Home and Garden Show, which costs more than either advertising or exhibiting but makes “a huge difference in the consumer’s mind” about company credibility.
  • His response to what he calls “the biggest challenge for this industry,” wherein Midwest Construction has established partnerships with local community colleges to reach out to young people to “offer our crews the opportunity to train the next generation of installers, and to veterans with an installation training program.”

Listen: Paul Despenas on where to find the next generation of contractors.