Construction and Economic Development

Steel business rises up in Grand Rapids

August 12, 2014
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Legacy
Legacy Steel's Jeff Leeuw, left, and Rockford Construction's Mike VanGessel. Courtesy Legacy Steel

It appears Lamar Construction’s bankruptcy has left a Legacy in Grand Rapids.

Legacy Steel, which last week opened its doors on the west side of Grand Rapids at 560 Fifth St. NW, is being led by several former Lamar Construction employees. Jeff Leeuw, former vice president of steel and precast for Lamar, is now president of Legacy. His fellow former Lamar employees, Wade Walcott, now Legacy’s general manager, and Douglas Coke Jr., now Legacy’s estimator in charge of sales, have also joined him. The company has plans to provide jobs for many of Lamar’s now out-of-work field crews.

The new business has a goal of adding about 10 to 15 employees, many of which will be field crew, within the next 30 days. So far, Legacy has hired about nine crew members.

“There are so many talented steel workers that are looking for work, and we are happy to have them on board,” Walcott said. “By bringing skilled talent into the new company, we are instantly ready to serve clients.”

Legacy was born out of a partnership with Rockford Construction Inc., located near Legacy at 601 First St. Mike VanGessel, CEO of Rockford Construction, is a partner in Legacy, which is looking to Rockford for guidance in such areas as marketing, accounting and IT.

“As a well-respected contractor, Rockford is a logical partner for Legacy Steel. We have had a close, trusted relationship over the years, and share common values and goals,” Leeuw said. “Rockford will offer efficiencies to our start-up, as well as long term value to managing work moving forward.”

Although Lamar Construction went out of business, steel erection is still booming in West Michigan as development projects continue to unfold.

“Particularly in this area, general contractors and owners need another option for steel erection. The construction business is booming in this area and subcontractors are in short enough of supply — without having one close its doors like Lamar did,” said a Rockford Construction spokesperson. “Legacy is filling the void in the steel erection trade left by Lamar Construction’s bankruptcy.”

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