By the time he graduated from high school, Ken Lester, president of Lester Contracting, Port Lavaca, Texas, could operate just about any piece of equipment in his dad’s construction fleet.
He joined the company full time in 1979 and two years later his dad retired, leaving Ken to run the company. Ken saw the future growth would depend more on his business acumen than his operator skills for the next few years he attended a local college to hone his business knowledge in his off hours.
The strategy paid off. The he grew the company from sales of $2.5 million to some $13-million today. Ken’s wife Melissa joined the company in 2002 and put her 23 years of retail banking experience to work helping build a solid foundation for the business.
But the real key to Lester Contracting is the relationships they’ve built with customers along the Texas gulf coast.
“They’re very civic minded,” says Bobby Walker, vice president Gulf Coast Limestone. “They just finished a job and donated 600 tons of leftover material to the Galveston Bay Foundation. And he just finished a project with the Nature Conservancy and they spoke very highly of him.”
“He’s an excellent contractor. He’s very innovative when it comes to figuring out logistical solutions and very effective at finding economical solutions, says Dennis Rocha, coastal project manager for the Texas General Land Office. I’ve always found him to be frank, honest, and upfront.”
“The attitude, the family atmosphere, they’re just an awesome group,” says Rich Spense, Holt Caterpillar. “They’re kicking tail in this part of the world. They are very well liked, super involved with the local high schools. Ken is a past president of the ABC in this area. Very well respected.”