By Joseph F. Schuler Jr.. I realized my important value was helping people form a strategy to live independently," says Louis Tenenbaum (Big50 1997), who closed down Access Remodeling in January 2002 to focus on this goal. "As a contractor, I gave mixed signals on my expertise. I now call myself an 'independent-living strategist.' "

Tenenbaum honors warranty requests from his 10-year-old business, but now you'll find him writing a book, penning think-tank papers, and speaking nationwide on accessibility and "visitability," words he says the public, governments, and agencies are paying more attention to these days.

He's an advocate for the needs of the elderly or handicapped who want to live, simply, in their own homes. He's a media contact, too, on a federal bill requiring residential construction to allow people in wheelchairs the chance to visit those homes.

Tenenbaum consults to architects as well as to clients with muscular dystrophy or other illnesses that impede mobility.

"My original goal was to be an advocate. I became a carpenter, but my heart wasn't in it," Tenenbaum says. "Being in my home office now, doing work I love, is a joy."