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Lester Group Names Jay Dickens President

General News

Jay Dickens, a building products executive, has been elected president of The Lester Group, a diversified enterprise with operations in three states. The company owns Jim Carpenter Co., a building materials dealer, and Fortress Door Co., which manufactures commercial and residential doors in Fredericksburg.

Dickens, 56, comes from Kansas City where he was Vice President of American Direct, a leading provider of architectural doors, frames, hardware and integrated security solutions. He is recognized for success in aligning businesses and motivating teams to deliver outstanding results in complex and evolving markets.

Dickens fills the vacancy created in May when Jim O’Brien was elected CEO of The Lester Group after George W. Lester II’s retirement. Lester, son of the founder of the company, was CEO for 44 years. O’Brien was elected president of The Lester Group in 2014.

A native of Little Rock, Arkansas, Dickens has 35 years’ experience in the building products industry. He grew up in the industry. His great grandfather operated a saw mill; his grandfather owned a furniture manufacturer; and his father was co-founder of Wilsonart, a manufacturer of engineered surfaces.

“The Lester Group is a highly respected business,” said Dickens. “I am attracted by the integrity of the organization and the opportunity to be involved in a highly diversified business with tremendous growth potential.

“My goals are to grow the business, enhance customer satisfaction and increase employee engagement,” said Dickens.

O’Brien said Dickens was hired after a national search for an executive with a proven track record in building materials, distribution, management, innovation and people skills. “Jay fits our profile in every way,” said O’Brien.

“Under Jay’s leadership, we expect to double our business in the next five years,” said O’Brien. He said The Lester Group has set revenue records the past two years, and revenue increased by nearly 45 percent since 2013.

The Lester Group’s core business is building materials, operating retail stores and manufacturing treated lumber and commercial and residential doors. Lester also has more than 18,000 acres of forest lands. In addition, Lester’s real estate division has developed residential communities, shopping centers, office buildings and restaurants in Virginia, North Carolina and West Virginia.

About The Lester Group

Founded in 1896, The Lester Group has more than 200 employees and is based in Martinsville, VA.


John Lambert – Media Contact – (540) 580-8491

Source: The Lester Group, Inc.