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Home | AUSTIN | Spotlight | Spotlight - Lone Star General Services LLc, Mario Williams

Spotlight - Lone Star General Services LLc, Mario Williams

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AUSTIN - What do you do when you have three generations of entrepreneurs, each specializing in their own thing? Not wanting to let any of the family entrepreneurships fall by the way side, Mario Williams decided he needed to find a way to streamline the businesses and yet help oversee their continued success.

 

 

But how? 
    Three different companies with three totally different trades – paving, lightning protection and commercial roofing were all successful in their own rights, but needed simplification.  It is easy to see how the lightning protection and the roofing might go hand in hand, but what about the paving company.  Williams could not forget the paving company that his grandfather started.  It meant too much to him and his family.  His grandfather started it from nothing.  And his grandfather’s strong desire and entrepreneurship was an inspiration to his father and led to his father’s own desires and success, which led Williams to have a dream of his own.  Now, the three companies would continue as family legacies for future generations.

What did he do you ask?
 
    Williams took the three generations of companies, Williams Brothers Paving, Texas Lightning Rod Company and Lone Star Roofing and combined them under one umbrella to form Lone Star General Services LLc.

Where were you born?
    I was born in Casa Grande, AZ and lived there until I was 1 year old.  Then my parents moved us to Kansas and then to Michigan. We eventually made our way back to Texas, which is where my mother and grandfather are from.

How old were you when you and your family moved back to Texas?

    I started elementary school in Cedar Park right after we moved back so I guess I was about 6 years old.

Did you remain in Texas?
    Yes, I grew up in Cedar Park.

What was it like growing up in Cedar Park?
    Growing up in Cedar Park and the Austin area was great.  It was a safe and fun place to live and still is.  We had the hill country, Lake Travis, San Marcos, and the Guadalupe River all at our disposal.  It was always so beautiful to me with its scenic hills and valleys.  And even with all the development going on now, it still holds that same charm to me.  There was always plenty to do, especially in the summer months with the rivers and lakes.

What were your parents like growing up?

    My mom was a devout Christian and the heart and soul of our family.  My dad was the hardest working man I’ve ever known; he worked all the time.  I have seven brothers and three sisters.  He worked a lot to take care of us all. 

Where did you go to school?

    I graduated from Leander High School.  After graduation I went to The University of Texas in Austin.  

What did you major in?
    I started out as an aerospace engineer and then transferred to mechanical engineer.

With a mechanical engineering degree, how did you end up in the roofing business?
    My family.  We have three generations of businesses.  My grandfather, Harry Swartz, started the first generation of business in asphalt paving.  My father, Eugene Williams,  started a lightning protection business and then commercial roofing.
    After my father joined the company, he expanded my grandfather’s services offering lightening protection. He started the Texas Lightning Rod Company to test for lightning protection.  That, as you can imagine, led to doing a lot of work on roofs because that is where you are install the rods.  That quickly led to the commercial roofing business. And that is where I came in to help my dad.  I saw a need to expand on my dad’s business as he had his dad’s.
    I had just graduated from UT and was working for my father at Texas Lightning Rod Protection and we would have to patch and repair roofs to remove and install the lightening protection systems.  It was just a natural transition and that led to a third generation of businesses for us.

Are you married?

    Yes I am.  I have been married for 23 years to my beautiful wife, Katie.  She has been my biggest supporter.

Do you and Katie have children?

    Yes, we have eight children.  My oldest is 20 years old and then they step down in age every couple of years from there.

How do find time with eight children and owning a business?
    Well, it is challenging, but Katie does a wonderful job with the kids.  She is a full-time mom first and foremost and that takes a lot of load off of me.  I help with sports and the extracurricular activities with the kids, and help with their homework at night after work when I get home.  But my Katie, she really takes care of the kids, and every weekend is family time.

When was Lone Star General Services LLc started?
    Grandfather had lived through the great depression and had worked for other contractors putting paver stone down in the town square in Georgetown.  Sometime after that he decided he could do that on his own and started a paving business.
    My father has been installing lightning rods since 1959.  My brothers are involved in the paving side and I have been overseeing the commercial roofing side for the past 25 years.
    In 2014, I decided to put all three companies under one umbrella to help streamline the businesses.   

Were there ever any down turns in business?

    If there was a down turn in the economy, I can’t say that I really experienced it.  With the three companies, we stayed pretty busy.

Challenges are you facing?

    Labor is the biggest challenge we are facing.  Finding good, legal people is a constant.  We find so many people that are not of the highest quality demanding top dollar because of the lower percentage of qualified good and legal labor.

What is on the horizon for Lone Star General Services LLc?
    My plan is to completely automate the system we have here in Central Texas and expand it to all the major cities.  We currently have an office in Dallas and we’re looking into San Antonio. We want to take our family values and our business motto, expand to Houston and then the west coast and east coast - become a nationwide company.

What are your hobbies and interests outside of working?
    I like wakeboarding, crossfit and
karaoke.  I compete in the over 40 crossfit division every chance I get.  Besides the benefits of staying in shape, competing is just a great way for me to relax. 

Lone Star General Services LLc is n subcontractor, specializing in paving, lightning protection and commercial roofing throughout Central and South Texas. -cmw


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Carol Wiatrek meditor@constructionnews.net