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Steve Lessler, President

Ex-Fairfield Councilman Develops Niche Business

Steve Lessler has more time than he’d expected to build his niche business-to-business enterprise based in Solano County’s fast-growing Interstate 80 corridor.

He started The Lessler Group last year to match “best of class” area providers with companies and government agencies in need of virtually any business service.

In addition to getting his company off the ground, Lessler anticipated continuing to build support for a professional bicycle race in Northern California and serving on the city council in Fairfield, Solano County’s second-largest city with 96,000 residents.

But voters who elected a new slow-growth majority in November rejected Lessler’s bid for a third term, ending his public service at eight years on the council and four on the planning commission.

It was the second major change in Lessler’s life in seven months.

The first came on April 1 when the Oakland native started the B2B enterprise that relies heavily on networking and contacts built during a long business career. The most recent stop was as chief operating officer for Gaw, VanMale, Smith, Myers & Miroglio of Fairfield, the largest law firm in Solano and Napa counties and one of the most influential.

But just because Lessler no longer has a full-time job as an elected official in Fairfield doesn’t mean that the self-described Type A personality is allowing himself any more free time to indulge in tennis, bicycling or collecting old fountain pens.

In addition to building his business beyond the 14 clients for whom he currently brokers services, he is the principal fund-raiser for the Solano Bicycle Classic, a four-day race for professionals held in March along a course that winds through Solano, Napa and Yolo counties.

BUSINESS PHILOSOPHY

The basics: “No business can succeed without good relationships.”
Best way to keep competitive edge: “Constantly networking, consulting and talking to businesses, finding out what their interests and needs are.”
Guiding principle: “Honesty. Even though we can’t be all things to all people, we have to be sure we’re especially honest with our clients and our customers.”

SELF-PORTRAIT

First job: “I was a newspaper carrier in Oakland, where I grew up.”
Word that best describes you: “Resourceful.”
Like best about job: “Networking.”
Like least about job: “I can’t think of a least, unless it’s not being able to be all things to all people.”
Pet peeve: “Unreturned phone calls.”
Most important lesson learned: “It really pays to listen before jumping to conclusions.”
Person most interested in meeting: “I don’t really have one. I’m not a hero type.”
Most respected competitor: “This seems to be a one-of-a-kind business. I don’t have any competition in Solano County that I’m aware of.”
Three greatest passions: “My family, a combination of cycling and tennis, and my hobby ¹ I collect fountain pens.”
Best business decision: “To actually go out on my own. It was a very scary thing to do.”
Toughest business decision: “To go out on my own.”
Biggest missed opportunity: “I had the opportunity to go to work for Kaiser Industries in an apprentice program when I was in high school in Oakland. Instead I went to work in a tennis shop. I would have gone into engineering if I had gone to work for Kaiser.”

ACQUIRED TASTES

Status symbol: “A fine fountain pen ¹ a very early Parker 51 from the 1940s.”
Favorite movie: “`West Side Story.'”
Favorite book: “I always enjoy reading a (Tom) Clancy novel.”
Favorite restaurant: “Fusilli in downtown Fairfield.”
Favorite vacation spot: “The place I had the best time was in the Southwest area of the United States, visiting national parks with my children.”
Set of wheels: “2001 Toyota Highlander.”

Reach Doyle at adoyle@bizjournals.com or 925-598-1404.