Q&A: Lasenta Lewis-Ellis, President and CEO of LLE Construction Group, LLC
- In a few sentences tell us a little about your business — the clients you serve and the services you provide.
LLE Construction Group, LLC creates, builds, and maintains spaces where people learn, live, work, and play. We are a woman and minority-owned firm specializing in Owner’s Representation and Consulting Services with a focus in General Contracting and Commercial Renovations, Facilities Maintenance & Management, Construction and Project Management, and Community and Real Estate Investment & Development.
We serve clients in K-12 (school districts), Charter Schools, Colleges and Universities, and Commercial Property Owners and Tenants. We are an extension to our client’s business by managing their projects and procurement services.
- Describe the moment you decided to start your business and what was the inspiration behind it?
I decided to start my own business because I lost my job. I tried securing a position of interest but could not find employment. At that moment, I realized I had all the tools needed to create a position for myself by starting my own construction group.
My inspiration for becoming an entrepreneur was to position myself to better care for me and my family. I assessed my strengths and what people always called me for and that’s how I determined what services we would provide at LLE Construction Group, LLC.
- All great businesses, at their core, are providing solutions to life’s challenges. What challenges does your business aim to solve for your customers/clients?
LLE Construction Group, LLC loves solving our clients’ problems as it pertains to facilities and project management. For example, years ago, following the school shootings in another state, we met with our clients and created “Secured entrances” projects for the schools. Also, we help our clients better maintain their facilities by developing Maintenance Plans, which helps them save on Capital Improvement Projects by addressing preventive maintenance issues. In addition, we use our expertise to manage our clients’ projects from idea generation to moving the end users into their new space.
- What does being a founder/entrepreneur mean to you?
Initially, being a founder/entrepreneur was all about survivorship. I was creating a job for myself and building a business based on my knowledge and experience. As I have grown in business, being a founder/entrepreneur is about creating opportunities for others, like creating jobs, and supporting and investing in the community.
- We know that founders of color face a number of challenges in not only creating but successfully operating their own business. As efforts are made nationally and globally to address racial inequity across industries, what role do you believe founders of color can have?
As a founder of color, I see it as my responsibility to be a voice for others of color and be a part of the conversation and initiatives for diverse and inclusive workplaces. I believe in joining Boards and Committees and speaking up as it relates to issues related to women, families, communities, and founders of color. Also, I love mentoring founders of color and women-owned businesses.
- Is there a founder of color, historically or present day, who inspires you? And why?
Historically, Herman J. Russell inspires me! He was the founder of H.J. Russell & Company and they specialize in real estate development, construction, program management, and property management. He inspires me to work hard, surround myself with progressive people, and envision a better living and workspace for people of color. I loved his drive and passion for our community!
Present day, I am passionate about commercial real estate and development and I have also found inspiration in the life work of Don Peebles and Necole Parker. I follow the growth of their companies and commitment to giving back and helping others. It truly inspires me.
- What’s your one piece of advice to someone who dreams of becoming a founder/entrepreneur?
One piece of advice I’d give to someone who dreams of becoming a founder/entrepreneur is to build a sustainable system, such as understanding the fundamentals of building teams and financials, having a banking relationship and establishing a Line of Credit, seeking a mentor or Business Advisor, networking in the entrepreneurial and business environments, etc.
Learn more about LLE Construction Group, LLC by visiting their website: lleconstructiongroup.com.