Lasenta Lewis-Ellis’ story is a testament to the fact that just because you have humble beginnings does not mean your life will end that way.
She was a struggling single parent living in low-income housing.
Now, she is a millionaire.
Lewis-Ellis owns LLE Construction Group, a small business firm that specializes in facility sustainability and maintenance.
The firm was recently the project manager for a small cul-de-sac of affordable houses.
They started construction in April 2020 and, by December of the same year, all the houses had been sold at prices ranging from $128,000 to $163,000.
It’s not often you see a Black woman at the helm of a business in a male-dominated industry.
However, Lewis-Ellis is no stranger to the construction industry. She studied at Midlands Technical College, getting a degree in Architectural Engineering Technology.
Next, she spent years renovating offices and other facilities in the University of South Carolina system.
The construction team used to complain that her designs were not buildable. Instead of moping about it, Lewis-Ellis went back to college and got a degree in construction.
Eventually, she earned a general contractor’s license.
In 2011, she formed LLE Construction Group, which offers facility maintenance and general construction.
She chose these areas because she noticed a gap: most similar companies showed no interest in renovations or smaller jobs.
For Lewis-Ellis, this was a major plus, since her business initially lacked the funds to take on the big jobs.
That, of course, was just the beginning. Right now, LLE Construction Group earns between $1.1 and $1.4 million annually just maintaining and building facilities.
Her primary client base is Richland School District One, but she also loves working with other small business owners to help improve their leased spaces.
Her team often brings in external contractors to help with paving, painting, HVAC, plumbing, and electricity.
By working with small businesses, Lewis-Ellis has elected to pursue another professional specialty.
Last December, she got her real estate license. She now works with Coldwell Banker with a focus on commercial properties.
She plans to use her knowledge to help small businesses fully comprehend their lease options, and to help them renovate their spaces.
Many small businesses assume the owner of the property will handle this, but it’s typically on them.
Lewis-Ellis’ advice to others is to know their trade. Knowledge is power, after all. She also believes in building a good team, because they make business possible.
Finally, she’s a firm believer in giving back. By sharing her experience, she has inspired many to believe in themselves and pursue their dreams.
With her knowledge, passion, and determination, the sky is the limit for Lewis-Ellis. She is a real inspiration.