There’s something to be said for longevity. In the metal building business, it’s a part of the conversation every day. But at Star, we’re also in the business of building relationships. This year, as we celebrate 90 years in business, we are taking time to recognize those relationships that have been the solidity through every change, the constant in a sometimes-unpredictable industry, and the very human side of the commercial construction business.
We’re proud to say that some of those relationships have endured over more than half of our existence as a company. And this month, we introduce you to Lambert Construction in Stillwater, Oklahoma – a Star Builder for more than 50 years. We spent a morning talking with David Lambert, Chairman of the Board and the fourth generation of the Lambert family to dedicate his career to the building industry.
Tell us about the Lambert family and your history with building.
The Lamberts are builders. My great grandfather was a carpenter and my grandfather was a building contractor in Oklahoma City in the early 1900s. My father, Clarence Lambert, was a mason and began contracting in Stillwater in 1939. I was born the year he started Lambert Construction Company and grew up watching him. I went to college, earned a degree in construction management, enlisted in the U.S. Army, and upon returning, joined the company in 1963. I became president in 1974 and ran the company until my nephew took over in 2005.
How did your relationship with Star begin?
My dad always had an eye for the future. When I joined the company, he hired a consultant who made some suggestions for improving our operations. One of those suggestions was to align ourselves with a pre-engineered metal building manufacturer. I was assigned to the task and after some studying, we determined that Star was the best choice. When we signed up, I went to Oklahoma City for a new dealer orientation and was given a tour of the facilities by the president. That evening, they took us to a nice dinner with all of the management. Back then, we were “franchised dealers” and had assigned territories. The other Star dealers I met were great people and were very willing to help the new guy. It didn’t take long to realize that we had made a good decision in choosing Star.
And how has that relationship evolved with you and your business?
Star really understands the metal building business and they are ready, willing and able to support their dealers through education and other assistance to make them successful. Because they are one of the leaders in technology in the industry, they give us the ability to provide our customers with more options. Star’s team was a great asset to us in the 1980s when we were building racquetball courts all over the United States.
Yes. We had a contract with the military to build indoor racquetball courts on military bases all over the U.S. Star was a large part of making that happen.
Ok. So you have obviously built a diverse portfolio throughout your history. What would you say defines Lambert Construction Company?
I believe that one of our strengths is that we are local. We’re a group of people that you’re going to see day in and day out in the Stillwater community. We’re not going to build a project and walk off and leave it with potential problems that might arise. We are of a size that we compete will all of the “big boys” for projects, but we try to sell ourselves on the fact that we’re here, we’re local, we’re small – you’re dealing with the company ownership and not somebody who lives in another state. By allowing us to build your buildings, you’re supporting a lot of families here in Stillwater and you’re supporting the Stillwater community.
So what’s kept you with Star for 50 years now?
They have a great product and a great business plan. They are always thinking ahead and that is why we have stayed with them. I believe Star is the technology leader in the metal building industry. And we have enjoyed a special relationship with all of the Star team members.
You know, as realtors say “location, location, location”? Well, with Star it’s “relationship, relationship, relationship.” Star has been and is a great partner.
Well, Mr. Lambert, from all of us at Star: thank you, thank you, thank you for your loyalty.