MARTINSVILLE, Va. -- The board of directors of Lester Group has elected Jay Dickens president and CEO. Dickens was promoted following the retirement of Jim O’Brien.

Dickens joined Lester Group in 2018 as president. He has 37 years of experience in the building products industry. Before coming to Lester Group, Dickens was vice-president of American Direct, a provider of architectural doors, hardware and integrated security products. Dickens also held executive positions with Rugby and Huttig building products.

“As an ‘essential’ business in the current economic climate caused by the coronavirus, Lester Group has a positive outlook for continued growth,” said Dickens. He noted the company will open New River Valley Building Supply, its fifth retail store, in May in Christiansburg, Virginia.

A native of Little Rock, Arkansas, Dickens grew up in the building products industry. His great grandfather operated a sawmill; his grandfather owned a furniture manufacturer; and his father was an executive at the founding of Wilsonart, the world’s largest manufacturer of engineered surfaces.

Lester Group’s core business is building materials, retail stores and manufacturing treated lumber and commercial and residential doors. Lester also has more than 18,000 acres of forest lands in Virginia and North Carolina. In addition, Lester’s real estate division has developed residential communities, shopping centers, office buildings and restaurants in Virginia, North Carolina and West Virginia.

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