Leonard Lawson, born in Beverly, Kentucky on March 25, 1939, is the only son of eight children. From his Eastern Kentucky roots, he learned the benefits of hard work, drive, and dedication in achieving his goals and dreams. Starting as an entry-level maintenance worker on an interstate highway project in 1957, he took advantage of opportunities to develop skills which would lead to his advancement in the highway construction industry.
In 1971, he became an owner of a highway construction business, R. E. Gaddie Construction Company. With foresight and leadership, he was driven by a desire to improve the highway system in Eastern Kentucky and the quality of life for its residents. With this purpose, Lawson developed “The Mountain Companies” from this sole company. If there is transportation construction occurring in Eastern Kentucky, there is a high probability that one of The Mountain Companies would be involved in some way. The Mountain Companies today consist of several asphalt plants, stone quarries, and one of the largest excavation (earth-moving) companies in the region. They include Bizzack Inc., W-L Construction and Paving, Mountain Materials, Inc., Central Kentucky Asphalt, and ATS, Inc., all of which comprise a four-state operation with approximately 1,500 employees.
Lawson has been responsible for building a highway system to open the East Kentucky area for economic growth. His companies have built the Jenkins Bypass, sections of US 23 and US 119, repaved the Mountain Parkway, widened I-75 and I-64, and repaved Lexington’s Blue Grass Field, just to name a few of the most recent major projects in which his companies have been involved. When Lawson speaks of his accomplishments, he is eager to tell you that his employees, with their loyalty and willingness to put forth 110 percent, are to whom he owes the most credit.
Lawson is known for his passion to help Eastern Kentucky improve its infrastructure and build better roads to enhance the area. He also has “given back” to the region to provide a helping hand to others. He supports the Red Bird Mission Methodist Highway (his Alma Mater), Pikeville College, and Pikeville Hospital as well as other regional programs and civic organizations.
He and his wife, Bonnie, were married in 1959 and have one son Steve, who became a partner with his father in 1986 after graduation from the University of Kentucky.