Service Centers

Lex Group Begins Next Half-Century as Part of Union Partners

Written by Tim Triplett

Looking back last week, the Lex Group celebrated 50 years as a family-owned service center business. Looking ahead, as an affiliate of Union Partners, the company sees a different but equally promising future.

With locations in Los Angeles and Chicago, the Lex Group currently distributes more than 240,000 tons of steel per year to a diverse customer base. Company executives credit their solid growth over the last five decades to expanded distribution throughout the U.S., meeting customer needs and achieving successful business imperatives.

“We are thrilled to have met this huge milestone as it is a testament to our hard work and dedication to our team, family, partners and customers,” said Robert Douglass, CEO of the Lex Group.

“The industry we thrive in is fluctuating constantly and we have been able to experience consistent growth throughout. I’m proud to have walked this journey with my dad, brother and Tim McFarland who has been instrumental in building this company since its founding,” said Bill Douglass, president at LexCentral, who also oversees trucking company Douglass Logistics.

“Transitioning from Lexington Steel to the Lex Group was truly a team effort and we couldn’t have done it without the support of our customers and partners,” added son Paul Douglass, COO of the Lex Group and president at LexWest. “We are excited for another 50 years and are optimistic about the future growth of the company.”

Paul Douglass is also one of the founders of Union Partners, which has become a player in the consolidation of the service center industry. Union Partners is always on the lookout for other potential acquisitions that can help the organization increase its geographical reach and product offerings, he said.

Union Partners is not an investment banking firm, as many believe, but rather a family business that partners with other well-run family firms in the steel sector, he said. Union Partners’ family of companies includes Maksteel, Lamination Specialties, Mapes & Sprowl, Cortran, Lee Steel, Chicago Steel, Berg Steel, JIT Steel Service, JIT Steel Transport, Opus Metals and its greenfield development on the campus of Big River Steel. In May, Union Partners’ added to its holdings with the acquisition of Contractors Steel, a leading service center with five strategic locations in the Midwest.

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