Reader Profile: Chad Lennon

July 20, 2015

Over the past four years since Chad Lennon started his own company, he has constructed it on a foundation of flexibility and faith. Faith in its success has been the driving factor, despite the fact that the business previously owned by someone else had been so adversely affected by the recession that it ended up a one-pony operation in which the owner provided backhoe services, cleaning up oil wells and fixing leaks by himself. Flexibility underlines the fact that the client market changes with the fuel prices and the weather. “God provided me with a company that was going out of business, so when the opportunity came to buy it, I bought it,” says Lennon of his company, Lennon Construction in Alba, TX. He bought a few pieces of equipment, and once work started picking up with oil and gas companies, he hired two employees. He now has four employees. “It wasn’t anything I did; the Lord provided for me,” notes Lennon. His company serves as an excavating contractor, running all phases of dirt work and specializing in residential, agricultural, and commercial projects, such as those for the oil and gas industry. The company provides services in northeast Texas, including excavation; pond and land construction for residential and agricultural use; clearing, excavation, and grading site preparation for site pads; clearing and building new residential and agricultural roads; and drilling location site preparation, open and close reserve pits, and location access. The company’s fleet includes a JS145, a large excavator, and a 3CX-14, a backhoe, both from JCB. The company also runs John Deere, CASE, and Ferguson equipment, among other types.

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What He Does Day to Day
Lennon spends most of his time in the field and some of his time in the office, where he’s been working with the estimator, a retiree who has been helping him bid commercial work until another employee can take over the job. Of late, Lennon has been bidding mostly residential work. “Oil and gas work went off in December,” he notes, adding that weather also had been a deterrent to work early in the year. “Before the oil and gas prices went down, we were in the field doing pipelines or roads, and a few house pads and housing developments.” When weather and job fluctuates, Lennon spends time in the shop, tending to the equipment.

What Led Him Into This Line of Work
Lennon has been around equipment all of his life, having grown up on a farm. “I think every kid dreams of playing in the dirt,” he quips. Before buying the business, Lennon was a landman for oil and gas exploration companies.

What He Likes Best About His Work
Lennon enjoys his work and seeing a job to completion. “We’re the first ones there,” he points out of his company’s role on the job site. His company works well in concert with other contractors who follow up with their own onsite responsibilities, he says. “I’ve got a good vision of the finished product. I’ve got a set of plans and I want to see a completed job that’s done on time,” says Lennon. As long as the jobs meets or exceeds his clients’ needs on time and on or below the budget, he is satisfied.

His Biggest Challenge “The biggest challenge right now is figuring out my growth direction,” notes Lennon. “It’s been kind of slow and things are fixing to pick up, but I’m just trying to decide where to go from here: if I need to hire more help, get more equipment, or sit it out and see what’s ahead.” Augmenting his concerns about the direction in which his company is heading is the need for trained employees, especially CDL truck drivers and operators. Many good employees are tied up working on the oil and gas fields in the area. “I don’t know if I need to hire more employees or get more equipment, but I think just trained employees would benefit my growth,” says Lennon. They’re not readily available, so Lennon pinpoints the young men now on staff who demonstrate a willingness to work, and trains them himself.