SLCC’s recently built Health and Science Building strikes a bold image in Lafayette. This piece of architecture, constructed by The Lemoine Company, represents many things. Foremost, it represents the community college’s expanding role in educating and training Acadiana’s future workforce. For Lenny Lemoine, CEO of The Lemoine Company, it also symbolizes his commitment to growing the region’s potential.
Business leaders from across Acadiana gathered in that very space in September to hear from Lenny as he addressed what drives his business success, what it means to be “built to last,” and what it takes to construct a better community and thrive in today’s marketplace.
What Drives Lenny Lemoine?
Becoming the man behind the company didn’t happen overnight for Lenny. As he tells it, in his youth, he wasn’t the best of students. Today, that seems unlikely when looking at the impact he’s made in the community and the far reach of his company.
His drive is one born from a passion for life and work, and it’s sustained by intense focus and reading. Lots of reading. While he admits he may have focused little too much on the work aspect in the past, he credits having discipline and focus for his success. His advice in that arena is to “focus on strategy, focus on tomorrow, focus on where the company needs to go.”
Lenny also views putting processes in place as extremely important. Those were processes gained through research. “I spent literally months learning best practices from other organizations. You’ll always be successful following the process.” The lessons learned from trial and failure were just as vital. On dealing with failure he said, “Stay in the pain long enough to ensure you won’t make the same mistakes again.”
Lenny’s Lesson: Read 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey.
Built to Last
Building people, processes, and best practices is how Lenny has created forward momentum, and seeing talent in others is something he enjoys doing. When it comes to building people, Lenny shared, "If we're not great at building people we'll always be where we are." His dedication to cultivating people and the region is why he is providing a first-generation, faith-based endowment to SLCC. By leveraging faith, he says, the scholarship will have an impact it may not have had otherwise.
In announcing the scholarship, SLCC wrote, “The endowment will support SLCC’s College to Church effort, which brings educational opportunities to underserved populations through religious congregations. True to its name, College to Church meets with interested individuals in their places of worship and walks them through the enrollment process, financial aid, and the college’s selection of majors.”
Lenny’s Lesson: “We need to get serious about how we give.”
On Constructing a Better Community
Lenny loves the Acadiana region. This is a fact made clear by his investment in One Acadiana at the highest level. His love for Acadiana doesn’t stop him wanting more for the region. He points out candidly that, “Acadiana went to sleep as a community [relying on oil and gas], and we’re paying for that. We need to get serious about improving.” From his perspective, as a major employer in the South Louisiana region, a top priority of his lies within the education system. He shared, “Improving K-12 education is the most important thing.”
Not content to be confined to his own corner office, he advocates for other business leaders to take part in transforming the region too, saying, “it’s the business community’s job to create a place where other businesses want to be.”
While creating beautiful structures is what he does, day in and day out, his lessons stretch far beyond the construction site and are universally applicable. With his focus and processes he has led The Lemoine Company through projects for major corporations, organizations, and hospitals around Louisiana, including the Baton Rouge Shaw Center for the Arts, New Orleans East Hospital, Lafayette’s Hilliard University Art Museum, and even the corporate offices that house the famous Tabasco ® hot sauce product. For Lenny, thriving in the market place and achieving success may take many steps, but only three ingredients: strategy, strong values to lives by, and process that will get you there.
Lenny’s Lesson: Read Good to Great, by Jim Collins