Lasenta Lewis-Ellis’s personal journey is a great example of the idea that where a person begins does not have to dictate where he or she will finish in life. Cola Daily reported that Lewis-Ellis once lived in low-income housing as a struggling single parent. Things have changed for the better. She recently completed constructing a home at Swinton Pointe in Columbia, South Carolina.
Lewis-Ellis holds a degree in architecture engineering technology from Midlands Technical College, getting her start in the industry renovating offices in the University of South Carolina. Eventually she went back to school for a construction degree, working to get her contractor’s license and setting herself up to succeed as a Black woman in a male-dominated industry.
In 2011, she created her own company, LLE Construction Group, specializing in general construction and facility maintenance. Lewis-Ellis said she noticed a white space in the industry and decided to apply her expertise to fill it.
“I noticed a gap. Other companies weren’t interested in smaller jobs and renovations. And when I first started my business, I didn’t have the capital to take on big jobs,” Lewis-Ellis told reporters.
Creating that niche for herself proved fruitful, with Lewis-Ellis growing her company in the last decade by the millions, reporting income of $1.1 to $1.4 million annually building and maintaining facilities. One of her biggest clients is the Richland School District One and she also works with small business owners, renovating their leased spaces.
“We can handle anything outside or inside. We bring in outside contractors to help with electricity, plumbing, HVAC, painting and paving,” she explained.
Recently, Lewis-Ellis obtained her real estate license, working with Coldwell Banker to focus on commercial properties, adding to the services she can provide for her current clients.
“I can help small businesses understand their lease options…and also help them with their renovations. Many times they assume the property owner will handle that, but they’re usually on their own,” Lewis-Ellis said.
Now the woman, who once lived in low-income housing and struggled as a single parent has just completed a major milestone, building affordable housing in the state. LLE Construction Group served as project manager for a small cul-de-sac of homes ranging from 1,200-1,400 square feet. Construction began last April with the homes selling by December for $128,000 to $163,000. Lewis-Ellis said the project “kept [her] going during COVID.”
Her advice for other people looking to pursue their dreams; master the basics, build a good team, and always give back.
“Always know your trade. You’ve got to know the pieces and parts. Knowledge is power, and applied knowledge is even more power… You have to build a good team. That’s one of my strengths. My team makes my business possible. My doors would be closed without them… Always give back to the community, nonprofits, schools. Share your experience. Let them see this is the face of someone who’s done it,” Lewis-Ellis said.
like What You Read? Buy Us A Drink