Adam Kaliner began selling windows part time in college, and with his cousin, Jeff, later parlayed that into a $130 million-a-year home-remodeling business in Delaware County.
From a two-bedroom apartment in 1992, where the Kaliners did all the marketing, estimating, and sales calls, Power Home Remodeling Group - formerly Power Windows & Siding - has grown to 900 full- and part-time employees.
Power now has offices from Connecticut to northern Virginia, and opened a satellite office last month on Long Island, N.Y.
The fast-growing home-improvement company - this year's top-rated midsize employer - recently moved from Brookhaven into a new 60,000-square-foot headquarters in the old Delaware County Electric Co. building on Chester's waterfront.
With $300,000 in job-creation and training grants from Pennsylvania, the company says, it will hire at least 100 people a year for the next three years from the Philadelphia region.
"We've grown each year; the last few years have been really dramatic," said Jeff Kaliner, cofounder and chief executive officer. "Our projection is $200 million in revenue this year."
Jeff, 41, and Adam Kaliner, 40, are go-getters who lead by example. They see themselves as just a couple of more coworkers.
"I go downstairs to the cafeteria. Whoever is eating, I'll eat at their table," Jeff said. "I don't need my lunch brought to me. I want to interact."
Employees say they like that about the top bosses.
"The fact that I know Jeff Kaliner and can say hello to him - and if I were walking on the street, he would say hello to me - is a good feeling," said Charles Hart, 29, a floor manager for inside sales. "Everyone is helpful, from top to bottom. We have constant feedback, which is good. Everything we do is always positive."
John Fisher, 25, who came from Power's Cranford, N.J., office, said: "You get what you put into the job. If you work hard, you'll reap the benefits. You get a base pay, which is livable, but it's always nice to make extra money." Fisher plays on a company softball team and participates in a bowling league. "We have a good time."
Abbi Goldman, 31, a marketing data analyst who has worked three years for Power, said: "It's a great atmosphere. Everyone is like family. It doesn't feel like you're coming to a job."
Goldman likes the "opportunity for growth. I've been promoted a few times. Now, with multiple offices, if people want to move around, they are able to. I have gotten a lot of duties since I've been here. It makes me want to stay."
"It's all about growth," agreed Jonas Robinson, 24, a manager whose staff pitches to shoppers in BJ's and Sam's Club stores. "With this company, I can go to sales, inside sales, advertising. There are always new positions opening up."
Power's workforce is young. "Most people here are in their 20s," said Robinson, a marketing and public relations major at Shippensburg University. "Most of the marketers have energy. They are right out of college, young, walking around these stores, knocking on these doors. We create a lot of excitement. We don't want to make this a job, but a career."
As Power continues to open offices - in Boston this spring and Atlanta in July - the company says it will add jobs at its Chester headquarters. About 375 work in Chester now.
"We have over 300 seats in our call center; 200 of them are empty," Jeff Kaliner said. "That's where most of the growth at home will come, in the call center."
Contact staff writer Linda Loyd at 215-854-2831 or email@example.com.