Most folks in the lumber industry have an interesting story or two about the good times they have spent fraternizing with their peers in the business – and many of those stories take place on a golf course. But if you are going to trade golf stories with Mark Lefsyk, be forewarned: he’s got the best one.
More on that later, but first, let us go back to the beginning.
Mark was not your typical “I grew up sweeping floors at the family yard” natural born lumberman. His path into the industry was a little less direct. He started working at H. Greenberg and Son in Albany, New York at 19 years old, while he was a management student at SUNY Cortland. Entering the job market out of college he recalls, “I could wallpaper my room with rejection letters.”
He wound up taking a job at Sherwin Williams, but “was not all that thrilled with it,” and eventually accepted an open position at Miron Building Products. He worked his way up from inventory control manager to director of purchasing, then jumped to a management position with Stevenson Lumber.
Though he grew up in the Albany area, Mark was born in Athol, Massachusetts, and longed to return to the area. “I love New England,” he says.
The chance for a homecoming came through an old boss at Miron, who recruited him for a position at Aristokraft Cabinetry. After growing weary of travel in his job at Aristokraft and then another at Wolf Distribution, he accepted an offer to assist with the millwork operations at Stevenson’s location in Suffield, Connecticut. “I did it because it got me off the road,” he notes. “It felt good to have one place to go to every day.”
Sadly, he did not get to settle down for long. After the market crashed and Stevenson went under, he took a detour away from the lumber industry, selling car wash equipment and supplies.
Eventually, ProBuild came calling about a general manager position at their location in East Hartford. It proved to be the long-term solution in more ways than one.
In college, Mark had studied management and economics, and envisioned himself working in financial management. But first in his studies and later