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Jay Dickens Elected CEO of the Lester Group

General News

The Board of Directors of The Lester Group has elected Jay Dickens President/CEO.

Jay Dickens

Dickens was promoted following the retirement of Jim O’Brien. O’Brien, 70, joined The Lester Group in 2010. The Board elected O’Brien Co-Chair of the Board of Directors, and he will continue to be involved in the Company.

“The Lester Group is in an excellent position,” said O’Brien. “Company sales set a record last year. An outstanding senior management team has vast experience and is built on solid core values.”
George W. Lester, II, who retired as CEO in 2018 after 44 years, praised O’Brien for “doing a fantastic job. He’s a far-sighted leader with a steady hand,” said Lester. “Our company has a great future.” Lester is Co-Chair of the Board with O’Brien.

Dickens, 58, joined The Lester Group in 2018 as President. He has 37 years’ experience in the building products industry. Before coming to The Lester Group, Dickens was Vice-President of American Direct, a leading provider of architectural doors, hardware and integrated security solutions.

Dickens also held executive positions with Rugby and Huttig building products.

“As an ‘essential’ business in the current economic climate caused by the Coronavirus, The Lester Group has a positive outlook for continued growth,” said Dickens. He noted the Company will open New River Valley Building Supply, its fifth retail store, in May in Christiansburg, VA.

Dickens predicts employment at The Lester Group will continue to increase, exceeding 200 by the end of May.

“The culture at The Lester Group is collaborative, honest and low key,” said Dickens. “The integrity and competency throughout the organization is tremendous.

“Our goal is to expand the Company’s capacity to continue to increase sales profitably,” said Dickens. “We are in a strong growth position because we have a unique culture, are nimble, and can take advantage of opportunities quickly.

“We will continue to invest in people, ideas and technology that help us serve our customers better, improve the quality of the work experience of employees, and strengthen the communities we serve,” he added.

A native of Little Rock, Arkansas, Dickens grew up in the building products industry. His great grandfather operated a sawmill; his grandfather owned a furniture manufacturer; and his father was an executive at the founding of Wilsonart, the world’s largest manufacturer of engineered surfaces. Dickens is a graduate of Millsaps College in Jackson, MS.

About the Lester Group

The Lester Group’s core business is building materials, retail stores and manufacturing treated lumber and commercial and residential doors. Lester also has more than 18,000 acres of forest lands in Virginia and North Carolina. In addition, Lester’s real estate division has developed residential communities, shopping centers, office buildings and restaurants in Virginia, North Carolina and West Virginia. A privately held company, The Lester Group was founded in 1896 and is based in Martinsville, VA.


Jay Dickens – CEO – (276) 656-3267

Source: The Lester Group, Inc.