Heavy Highway All Stars: LL Gwinn

LL Gwinn, MBA, Corporate Secretary and Treasurer, Vecellio & Grogan (West Virginia). 

Established in 1938, Vecellio & Grogan, a member of The Vecellio Group, is a leading heavy highway contractor in the mid-Atlantic and Southeast United States, specializing in new construction and complete site development, including but not limited to, widening of major roads, highways, Interstate sections, complex interchanges, and airport runways/taxiways. In addition, Vecellio & Grogan constructs bridges, retaining walls, and drainage structures.  

Working out of their headquarters in West Virginia, LL Gwinn is Vecellio & Grogan’s Corporate Secretary and Treasurer. After completing 6 years in the U.S. Army, LL joined Vecellio & Grogan in 1975. He started his career in what is today the IT department while attending college at night to get his MBA. In the late 1980’s, LL was promoted to Corporate Secretary and Treasurer, a position he has held for over 30 years. In this role, LL is responsible for all accounting and financial matters as well as financial and operations of a sister company, South Florida Materials, a liquid asphalt and diesel fuel terminal at the Port of Palm Beach in Southeast Florida.

Over the course of LL’s career, Vecellio & Grogan has experienced significant growth and diversification. Reflecting back on the many challenges that come with such growth, LL noted one specific example during the early days when he was working with a divisional President at one of their rock quarries in Florida. They were just starting out in this new business and competing against other well-established competitors. They were all selling the same rock at the same price, so how could they compete and differentiate themselves? Their answer was to provide better service to the end customers and develop a better process to get the rock out of the quarry. LL and the local team devised a better system to weigh the trucks for faster processing as well as moving to a daily invoicing system managed out of HQ to shift the administrative process allowing them to focus on servicing customers. These process improvements had a significant impact on this division by allowing them to be competitive in the marketplace and are still in place today.

There are three tenants to success that LL recommends to folks starting out in their careers:

  1. work hard;
  2. learn all you can; and
  3. always do the right thing.

While these may seem simple on the surface, ensuring that you are true to each can be difficult at times. There is never a substitute for hard work and giving everything you do your all. Learning is a lifelong journey and encompasses everything, from the company to the industry to your environment. The more you are exposed to, the better off you will be. LL shared that Vecellio & Grogan has an expression that has withstood the test of time, “when in doubt, do the right thing.” Per Doug Smith, Sr. VP Finance, Vecellio Group, Inc., “I have known LL since the early 1980’s and continue to admire his dedication, high ethical standards and commitment to the Vecellio Family and Companies. He is truly an All Star and has taught numerous new staff members how to do the right thing.” 

After 45 years at Vecellio & Grogan, I asked LL if he was thinking about retiring anytime soon. His response would not surprise those who know him well, “while perhaps some in my position would be setting a date to retire, I still feel like I am able to contribute to the organization and will continue as long as this remains true”. During LL’s down time, he enjoys working on his small horse farm doing light farm work. He also enjoys supporting his wife in her passion for barrel racing.

About the Author

David Flynn, CPA

David Flynn, CPA, is the CFO of B2W Software located in Portsmouth, NH.

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