Soon after being named to the REMODELING Big 50 in 1993, Tim Carter stopped doing home remodeling to concentrate on his new career as a columnist. Within nine months, his "Ask the Builder" column was appearing in 30 papers, and he was hosting his own local radio call-in show in Cincinnati. "I knew intuitively as soon as I got the award ... that it was my ticket out of the business," Carter says. "I don't miss the stress."

In 1995, Carter saw the Internet for the first time and immediately recognized the opportunity to become his own publisher. "As a writer, I wasn't making squat," he says. "I knew the Internet would allow me to make the hyper-leap [to publishing], and by God, it worked." Two years later, Jaclyn Easton profiled Carter in her book, and his Web site ( has been named the best home building/remodeling Web site by the Que Publishing Company.

Now Carter is securing underwriters for his "Ask the Builder" television show, which has been given the go ahead by PBS. If all goes according to plan, the show will begin airing in January of next year.