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Southside firm names new president

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A Midwestern executive is joining a building materials company in Virginia.

Jay Dickens has been elected president of The Lester Group, a building materials firm based in Martinsville, the company announced Monday.

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

Dickens’ previous job was vice president of American Direct in Kansas City, Mo.. American Direct is a provider of architectural doors, frames, hardware and integrated security solutions. Dickens, a native of Little Rock, Ark., has 35 years of experience in the building products industry.

Dickens fills a vacancy at The Lester Group that was created in May. At the time, the former president Jim O’Brien became CEO of The Lester Group after becoming president in 2014. The previous CEO for The Lester Group was George W. Lester II, who retired after 44 years in that position. Lester is the son of the founder of the company.

O’Brien said The Lester Group has set revenue records the past two years, and revenue increased by nearly 45 percent since 2013. The company has more than 200 employees. Its main business is building materials, operating retail stores and manufacturing treated lumber and commercial and residential doors.

The Lester Group has more than 18,000 acres of forest lands. The company has a real estate division that has developed residential communities, shopping centers, office buildings and restaurants in Virginia, North Carolina and West Virginia.

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