Lisa Willard is the Owner of Miss Steel LLC in Mechanicville, NY. Miss Steel LLC is a New York State Certified woman owned structural and miscellaneous steel company operation in New York's greater Capital Region, and beyond.
Lisa spent 20 years in the legal industry working with commercial finance & real estate. When the economy changed around 2010, she was presented with the opportunity to work for a local developer. While she had experience in the field, she felt like the position didn't match her skillset but she accepted the challenge & opportunity to learn. Over time, she moved to work for a large, local general contractor & then again for a miscellaneous & structural steel company. After 16 months, the company shut down & after seeing the potential it could have, it was then decided to take a risk & try this venture on her own. Miss Steel began operation in June 2018.
Lisa worked to become a WBE (Women's Business Enterprise) & received her designation within 14 months. She credits that to her legal background & persistence. Even though it's 2021, she still finds challenges within this industry. It is estimated that women in construction make up just 10% of the workforce & you're definitely "sitting at the boys table". Lisa said, "if you can't get a seat at the table, you gotta build your own."
Lisa saw a need for miscellaneous metal fabrication & structural steel within the Capital Region. They work with a lot of public schools providing hand rails, handicap rails, catwalks, canopies, outside covered areas & more. They don't do basic structural steel vanilla box type of work, but focus more on renovations which are more difficult & require more skill. They work in a space that they rent from D.A. Collins in Mechanicville, another local construction company who had previously used the space to build bridges.
Miss Steel started with just 2 employees along with Lisa & her business partner. After only 3.5 years, they have grown to 11 full time employees. They had a goal to hit $3M in Sales in 3 years. Lisa is happy to report that after starting with $0 in Sales, they will be hitting that goal this year. The next goal at the 5 year mark will be to have their own building & real estate.
Like so many other businesses, Miss Steel was faced with challenges due to the Pandemic, including supply chain shortages & increased prices. Many steel jobs are bid on a year in advance which can present a challenge when it comes project time. The price of steel alone has raised nearly 30% in the past year. There have also been issues with trucking, job shutdowns & more. Lisa is very thankful for her relationship with Capital Bank & obtaining a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan during the pandemic, which was instrumental in keeping her business open.
Lisa has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management, Marketing & Economics from Empire State College. She resides in the Capital Region with her husband & has 2 college aged children.
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