A long way from a 3-car garage…
In 1974, brothers Jim and Dale Lawrence started Lawrence Brothers Welding out of a three-car garage located in Bluefield, Virginia. The brothers built mine battery trays for Exide Battery, also located in the area, and known today as EnerSys. After two years, with the addition of Gould Battery as a customer, Lawrence Brothers purchased land and built a 10,500 square foot facility. Forty-five years later, under the strategic direction of husband and wife team, Mark and Amalia Lawrence, LBI expanded to more than 80,000 square feet with over 40 employees. Mark Lawrence, son of Jim Lawrence, had been with LBI since his high school days, serving in nearly every capacity on the shop floor. Amalia Basconi Lawrence hails from a family of Italian immigrants, whose father worked tirelessly in the coal mines of Gary, WV. The Appalachian roots to coal run deep in this family.
Echoing this proven strategy for continuous investments in our facilities and state-of-the-art fabrication technologies and equipment, Lawrence Brothers, Inc. remains at the forefront of the battery tray industry. Today, Lawrence Brothers is owned and operated by husband and wife team, Fernando Protti and Melanie Protti-Lawrence. Since arriving at Lawrence Brothers, Fernando and Melanie recognized that diversification was not only critical to growth, but to the very survival of the business many prior generations worked diligently to build. Continuing to deepen LBI’s roots in the mountains of Appalachia, their work and persistence have been essential in developing and diversifying business relationships for over a decade. The company portfolio now includes the manufacturing of motive power trays, ground support systems and transformer components such as core frames and electrical control panels.
Fernando and Melanie continue to further this strategic diversification throughout tenure as owners of LBI. Their experience in forging new business partnerships, while maintaining decades-old relationships will be key in continued growth. A keen eye for rising opportunities, coupled with the ability to lead a team of individuals who boast decades of experience in core competencies, the outlook for the company is not only positive, but exciting when it comes to expanding on its potential.
Forty-six years later, under the direction of company CEO Fernando Protti and President Melanie Protti-Lawrence, Lawrence Brothers, Inc. has grown to more than 80,000 square feet and 60 employees.
As a heavy metal fabricator specializing in battery trays, the customer list includes many major battery manufacturers such as EnerSys, Deka, and Crown. These battery systems are found worldwide in equipment manufactured by JOY/Komatsu, General Electric and others in many applications from mining operations to motive power and material handling.
Through business diversification efforts and continuous improvement in its facility, equipment, and employee training, Lawrence Brothers, Inc. remains at the forefront of battery tray fabrication and other related steel manufacturing.
Meet Our Team
- Fernando Protti – Chief Executive Officer
- Melanie Protti-Lawrence – President
- Brandon McCracken – Chief Operating Officer
- Jessica Carroll – Accounts Coordinator
- Tim Hedrick – Engineer
- David Mash – Engineer
- Brett Buchanan – Quality Control/ISO Specialist
- Kyle Bandy – Night Shift Foreman
- Brandon Shepard – Shop Quality Control
- Heath Harris – Day Shift Foreman
- Christen Brewster – Human Resources Manager
- Sarah Stevenson – Human Resources Specialist
- Lea Warda – Administrative Assistant
Economic Diversification In Virginia's Coalfields Isn't A New Idea
The Roanoke Times; by Scotty Wampler
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