Paul Lewis is making the most of his second chance in construction
Posted On June 27, 2023
Few of us are fortunate enough to get second chances, whether it be in life or in business. Paul Lewis did, however, and he’s making the most of it.
Lewis, our guest in a recent episode of “What’s Working with Cam Marston,” is president of Roy Lewis Construction, a company his father started in Mobile in 1984. The company had built a name for itself in the Mobile area and was riding high on negotiated projects built on word of mouth and positive recommendations. They didn’t do much marketing, because they didn’t have to.
But when the recession of 2008 hit, much of that business dried up. They and most every other construction company found themselves fighting each other for government contracts because that’s all the business there was.
After four years of holding the company together, the Lewises decided to suspend operations. Paul went to work for a disaster recovery company, and later for another construction firm. It was a humbling experience, he said, but also an educational one.
“We had gotten used to things, honestly, being easy,” he said. “One of the things I feel like I learned … was better business discipline. Some of the lessons we have in life are painful, and sometimes the painful ones have the most dividends.”
While he had no expectation of Roy Lewis Construction ever reopening for business, he and his father ultimately did just that. Paul took the lessons he learned working for other companies and paid greater attention to marketing and keeping up with current trends and practices.
Now Roy Lewis construction is thriving off both private clients like medical offices and retail space and government jobs for entities like the University of South Alabama and the Mobile County Health Department.
They’re facing a lot of the same challenges many other construction companies still face, with subcontractors having a hard time finding labor and certain supplies and equipment still slow to deliver. But the work is there, particularly here in the Southeast.
“When you have something you love to do and you get a second chance, you’re going to do you best not to screw it up,” Lewis said. “The biggest lesson I learned in this is the lesson of faith. … You get to see what’s possible beyond yourself. Even though I had closed that chapter, there were more chapters to be written.”