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Lester Woerner, a resident of Palm Beach, is the Chairman of Woerner Holdings, Inc. a company based in West Palm Beach Florida with investments in real estate, agriculture, and financial securities investments.
Lester is a member of Christ Fellowship Church. He has a strong belief in free market economics and a drive to succeed in business which began at the age of 13 when he opted to purchase a small parcel of real estate in Elberta, Alabama instead of a trail bike so that he could join his friends riding the back country trails of their rural South Alabama community. Lester worked two summers to raise the $1,300 to purchase the land and sold that same parcel of land three years later for $6,500. At an early age, Lester learned the difference between things that grow in value and the things that depreciate in value and made a critical choice at age 13 of purchasing the land instead of the motorcycle. The end result of that decision taught Lester the important discipline that the benefit of investing far outweighs the temporary enjoyment of self-indulgence. These principles have guided his life and business career.
Lester states that today, he only manages the decision that he made as a young teenager. By his senior year in high school Lester had bought and sold two more properties. After graduation from Foley High School in 1978, Lester sharpened his business skills by joining in his family’s farming business. Row crops were losing money so when his older brothers pointed out the 10 acres of sod they had planted as a test and said “Lester see what you can do,” he assumed the responsibilities of growing and marketing the 10 acres of turf. Lester expanded the sod operation, purchasing more and more land including other turf farms, turning turf grass into the family’s main profit center. In 1983 Lester founded Woerner Produce Company, which engaged in the marketing of produce from growers across America. In 1990 he discontinued the produce marketing firm to concentrate solely on the production and marketing of turf grass.
At age 27, Lester became the youngest person ever appointed by a Governor of Alabama to the State Board of Agriculture and Industries. Lester also served as an advisor to Governor Guy Hunt. Lester previously served on the Boards of Trustees of Toccoa Falls College, Christ Fellowship Church, and currently serves on the Board of Directors of Place of Hope in Palm Beach Gardens, a faith based residence for foster children from Palm Beach County. In 1990 his brothers named him president of Edward J. Woerner and Sons; their goal was to become the leading producer and marketer of turf grass in America. In 1995 under Lester’s leadership they expanded the business into Florida and acquired the former Mace Sod Farm in South Bay, Florida. Because of that deal, the single largest expansion in the company’s history, to date, along with other business interests in South Florida, Lester moved his corporate headquarters from Elberta, Alabama to West Palm Beach, Florida. In 1998 Lester formed a 501 3-C Charitable Foundation for the purpose of advancing the gospel around the world.
Through a corporate reorganization in 1998 and another in 2004, Lester is now the sole owner of Woerner Holdings, Inc. with its agricultural interests primarily located in Florida and Colorado. Lester Woerner’s success and belief in America’s free enterprise system led to his being selected as the 2001 American Free Enterprise medalist, an annual award given by Palm Beach Atlantic University. Lester states that optimism and hope are the positive forces critical to a successful free enterprise system. He believes that a life of significance comes by our giving back to God. Lester’s love for business continues to propel Woerner Holdings’ growth.