Like Father, Like Son: Growing Up in the Construction Industry and Choosing Your Path

Keith Shifflett became interested in the construction industry at a young age because it allowed him to spend time with his dad, who was a self-employed plumbing and mechanical contractor. He spent his weekends and summer breaks working with him until he turned 17, and then he built a successful career at Virginia-based companies, including Tacco, Bryan, Inc., Hungerford Mechanical, Ray Fisher, Inc., and L.A. Lacy.

Keith held several different positions over the years, such as sheet metal helper, mechanic, and superintendent. He also became familiar with gas and oil boilers and geothermal HVAC systems before opening a plumbing division for a Charlottesville-area mechanical contractor in 1997. Three years later, he had a desire to open his own business. His company focused on residential and commercial plumbing and mechanical projects.

During the process of becoming a business owner, Keith saw the importance of acquiring his master license. Through vocational training courses at the Charlottesville-Albemarle Technical Education Center and Piedmont Community College, he became a Master Plumber, Master HVAC, and Master Gasfitter.

“In Virginia, you can work under the master tradesman license of another employee, but being the cardholder comes with responsibilities and rewards. Obtaining my master licenses is also an accomplishment marking my knowledge of the fields I supervise in this industry,” said Keith.

Keith ran his business until he joined L.A. Lacy in 2010 as a superintendent. He was promoted two years later to General Superintendent and works closely with contractors, project managers, and superintendents to ensure projects are on schedule. He finds it very rewarding when a project comes together and enjoys watching its daily progress.

While he’s had a successful 40-year career in the industry, succeeded as a small business owner, and became a master in his fields, those aren’t his most significant achievements.

“My biggest accomplishment is watching as my employees have moved forward in their careers in the construction industry. These employees have been helpers, mechanics, and foremen, and now they are superintendents,” said Keith.

His advice for anyone in the industry working toward a leadership role is to continue learning, be a person people feel confident working for and be a mentor.

L.A. Lacy roots itself in nearly a century of service to the Central Virginia construction market. Since 1922, the company has offered a comprehensive range of mechanical and plumbing services to the surrounding community. Lacy’s customer-oriented approach and successful project history have established the company as a trusted resource for new construction, renovation, and specialty work. Its experience and expertise encompass a wide range of scopes, magnitudes, and intricacies for projects in various environments and conditions.

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