In 1976, in Kenosha, WI, a celebration was taking place with the birth of Lee Plumbing. With his knowledge as a skilled tradesman and the support of his wife, Robert Lee Sr. left the security of working in a union shop to start his own business. Thirty-five years later, Lee Plumbing is still a fixture in the community .
Bob lined up enough work that first year that Lee Plumbing was able to hire a local plumber, Ole Jensen, as an independent contractor to take on some of the work. One year later business had grown to the point that Ole was working as a full-time employee. In 1977, Lee Plumbing moved from the basement of the Lee home to an office at 2905 - 60th street. By 1978, business had been good enough that Lee Plumbing bought their first new truck. And by, 1980, Lee Plumbing had grown out of their original office space and was leasing the entire back half of Bill Lee's building.
Since its startup in 1976, Lee Plumbing had been working exclusively on residential plumbing. That changed in 1979. Arnie Johnson, a local masonry contractor, hired Lee Plumbing as the plumbing contractor for the three story apartment building he was erecting in Library Park. A second milestone for Lee Plumbing started with a referral by Bob Lasky at Lasky Electric, who referred Lee Plumbing to Arthur Villup, the business manager for Carthage College. Lee Plumbing looked at the whole system and realized the heating system was plumbed backwards. They were able to correct the problem and the heating system worked as designed. That one project lead to Lee Plumbing returning to Carthage College every year for many years. The next big step in Lee Plumbing's growth into commercial plumbing came in the early 1980s. In 1981, Bob Sr. had a meeting with the local plant engineers and made his pitch to get Lee Plumbing into American Motors Corporation (AMC). Lee Plumbing started getting some small projects in the Lakefront plant, and in 1983 Lee Plumbing got the chance they had been looking for, as they were contracted to to install a new air compressor system in the plant using welded pipe.
Bob Jr. decided to diversify Lee Plumbing and strengthen the business base by adding a heating and cooling division in 2000.
Lee Plumbing has been a fixture in Southeast Wisconsin and Northern Illinois for thirty-five years. It has grown from a one man shop in the basement of Bob Sr.'s home to a multi-million dollar, full-service mechanical contractor with a dozen full-time employees. Its success has in large part been due to treating people right . . . a business philosophy Bob Sr. held dear and passed down to Bob Jr. While no one knows what the future may hold for Lee Plumbing, two constants will remain for sure. Bob Sr. will continue to market and promote Lee Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and Electric with the same enthusiasm he has for the last thirty-five years. Bob Jr. meanwhile will go about his business of offering the best service he can at a fair price.