When Lee Neisler met Rhyne Davis at Davidson College all those years ago, he probably never thought that he would be working for Davis at The Blythe Company.
After graduating from college, he started his career in his family’s textile company. He then entered into the financial industry. Neisler realized that corporate finance just wasn’t fulfilling. He then teamed up with Davis — who was looking to purchase a successful company — and found a new calling at The Blythe Company.
In November 2016, Rhyne Davis purchased The Blythe Company and brought Lee Neisler on to run the business and learn the ropes.
“Neither Rhyne or I had any experience in the gas industry and had little knowledge of this company’s products. Once we talked with the Blythe family about their company, we learned that Perry [Blythe] wanted to stay on,” Neisler said. “In fact, if Perry had not agreed to stay on and pass his knowledge to me then, we probably would not have considered the purchase.”
In working with Perry Blythe, Neisler is learning more and more every day about The Blythe Company and the natural gas, valve, and meter industries. But Neisler has some other business ideas to bring along, and that started with adding people.
“I immediately set out to expand our sales staff, which I did,” he said. “Not only was I going to expand our sales staff, I was going to look to acquire as much knowledge as I could outside of Perry so that we had redundancy in house and could provide services to this industry.”
Redundancy, Neisler notes, is something that the company didn’t have before. If leadership were to step down, who would step up and take their place? That’s the ultimate goal of Neisler in his role of president of the company.
“We were lucky to find Adam Shumate to shadow Perry. He had excellent prior experience at York County, and he could fill in a lot of gaps here.”
In his efforts to expand staff and cultivate redundancy among the employees, he’s brought on experts Wally Todd and Earle Beckham to train Jacob Stowe and Chris Hyatt respectively. Jacob and Chris are also cross-training to learn more about the company and industry.
That doesn’t mean that Lee Neisler isn’t learning all that he can. He can sometimes be found alongside his new hires in the field.
“I’ve determined I’m more of a visual learner, so I do go out in the field with the guys and work with them as much as possible,” he said. “Sometimes I want to and can’t, but if I get the opportunity to get out there in the trenches, so to speak, I like to try to do that.”
Because he grew up working for his family’s textile mill business, Neisler has found himself right at home with The Blythe Company, another family-owned business (although it’s now owned by Ryan Davis).
“There is a family atmosphere here that I recognize and appreciated from the beginning. I was not specifically looking for The Blythe Company,” Neisler adds. “We just kind of found each other.”