St. Louis

Founded: 1945
Employees: 275
2009 revenue: $121 million
CEO: Tracy Hart

Constructs and renovates buildings and infrastructure.

Run by a brother and sister whose grandfather started the business 65 years ago, Tarlton has a family mentality that extends to the entire company. When a project manager died of cancer in 2009, the staff rallied and raised almost $50,000 for his children's college funds. Though none of the company's three principals are yet 50, CEO Tracy Hart wants to be prepared. So she is drawing up succession plans for the company's five work areas. The goals are to sustain the culture while taking the business to the next level and to give top talent a reason to sit pretty.