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This article first appeared in the PB September 2006 issue of Pro Builder.

It's not written in a formal statement or printed on any wall, but Atlantic Builders' mission is to instill a sense of ownership in its employees.

President Tom Schoedel and his partner Adam Fried have created a family atmosphere at this Fredericksburg, Va., building company by empowering employees and giving them a say in how things are run.

To get a sense of how Atlantic puts the company's continuous improvement in the hands of its employees, one needn't look any further than Atlantic Builders' teams. Each year, when the strategic goals are announced, employees are assigned to teams based on strategic goals. Everyone at Atlantic has a team and everyone reaps the results of a positive performance.

This best practice encourages everyone in the company to have a stake in the success of the company. Schoedel affirms that the difference between Atlantic's approach and that of other builders is simple: "We enforce the ownership concept."

Atlantic Builders also believes that satisfied employees also produce better results. To keep everyone in the family singing a happy tune, the company plans outings such as visits to Atlantic City, fishing trips, spa days and company picnics.

The company also actively participates in the community financially as well as through volunteer activities. Since its inception in 2003, the Atlantic Builders Charity Committee has donated time and money to multiple projects, including Habitat for Humanity and several local schools.