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JLC: Why, at a time when other companies are looking for ways to tighten their belts, is your company growing? Hale: I started my business in 1971 when I got my contractor's license. Back then it was just me and my first employee, Mike Desouza, doing small remodeling and repairs — anything we could get our hands on. We grew pretty steadily from a volume of maybe $100,000 that first year up to about $650,000 four years ago, where we leveled out. We were happy with the business. We would typically do anywhere from two to four good-sized jobs per year, with smaller jobs filling the gaps. I had a good crew, five including myself, and I didn't