Business

Lisa Garney is the hottest plumber in town

Ask Lisa Garney to share a favorite childhood memory, and she’ll probably tell you about spending Sunday afternoons with her sisters at their father’s construction company office.

“We’d drive the forklift,” she recalls. “The construction business was a big part of my life growing up.”

So it remains. Garney, daughter of developer Charles Garney, today heads up LMG Construction Services. During the summer construction season, she’s on job sites at 5 a.m. and answering business emails at 11 p.m.
“You never really leave it,” she says. “I love what I’m doing.”
LMG Construction is a full-service contracting company. Specialties include military construction and commercial plumbing subcontracting work.

In January, LMG was among 22 companies honored by Missouri legislators as an outstanding small business. Garney says winning such awards is good for employees. “It’s a way for me to say thank you to them and to teammates and other contractors I work with,” she says. Garney also was recognized by KC Business magazine in March as one of the area’s most influential women.

Garney graduated from the University of Kansas with a bachelor’s degree in business. She then studied at the London School of Economics and earned a law degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She’s also a licensed master plumber.

Garney was vice president of her father’s Briarcliff mixed-use development in Kansas City’s Northland before going out on her own.

More than $40 million in contracts were awarded to LMG Construction between 2007 and the end of 2011 for federal general contracting work and commercial plumbing subcontracting work. Local projects have included Starlight Theatre, the Victoria Arms Apartments in Kansas City and the FishNet Security offices at the Sprint Nextel campus.

In addition, LMG has been awarded an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract for pavement repairs at Whiteman Air Force Base near Knob Noster, Mo. That contract could attain a value of $35 million to $40 million over five years, Garney says.

Garney’s core staff has increased from just three employees to 14 employees in the last three years, and she takes pride in the fact that her growing business is creating jobs in a down economy. “Being able to employ people and create jobs that stimulate economic growth for the Kansas City community and the nation is one of my core missions,” she says.

Garney projects a possible tripling in gross revenues this year, up to a range of $15 million to $20 million, compared with $6.5 million in 2011.

Despite her achievements and credentials, success has not come easily to Garney. “There are a lot of bidders these days, so you get a lot of noes. We’ve been fortunate to have some yeses, and very honored to be working on the projects that we’re working on and whom we’re working with.”