I’m running for Governor, but I’m not a politician. I’m a cattle farmer, a businessman, a father and grandfather, and a seventh generation Tennessean. At my company, I work with electricians, pipe fitters, and plumbers. I've spent a good part of my life doing what I can to make life better for them, and now I'd like to try to make life a little better for six and a half million Tennesseans.
As a seventh-generation Tennessean, Bill Lee’s roots run deep in this state. Bill was born in Franklin where he still resides today with his wife Maria on his family’s farm. He’s the proud father of four adult children (Jessica, twin sons Jacob and Caleb, and Sarah Kate) and five grandchildren.
After attending Williamson County Schools, Bill went to Auburn University, where he studied Mechanical Engineering. When he graduated, he returned home to Franklin to join the family business his grandfather started in 1944. Through hard work, Bill learned what it takes to lead a company, doing what is necessary to help build a business and create jobs. He held several roles at Lee Company before becoming President of the company in 1992. Under Bill’s leadership, the company grew into a comprehensive facilities solutions and home services company.
Life threw some of the most difficult challenges on Bill when his first wife Carol Ann tragically died in a horseback riding accident in 2000. He learned how short life is, how every minute counts, and that only a few things in life truly matter. He took a step back from Lee Company to raise their children.
In Bill’s absence, the company found itself in a very difficult financial position. Determined not to let his grandfather’s company fail, he returned and made tough choices to turn around the business. It was one of the most painful seasons his company ever faced but resulted in a repositioning that put the company on a new course for success.
Now, Lee Company employs more than 1,200 individuals with annual revenues of $215 million. The company has won numerous awards for work culture and business accomplishments, and Bill was named a “Most Admired CEO” in 2015 by the Nashville Business Journal. With his family’s company thriving, Bill stepped back to serve as Chairman of Lee Company in 2016. In 2017, Lee Company was chosen by the Tennessean as the best large company to work for, as chosen by employees.
In addition to his responsibilities as Chairman of Lee Company, Bill is also active in Triple L Ranch, a fourth-generation family farm founded by his grandparents. Triple L Ranch operates a 1,000-acre, 400-head Hereford cattle operation, providing natural beef to farmers markets and farm to table restaurants throughout Middle Tennessee.
With a belief that education can be the gateway to greater opportunities, Bill has served as the 7th Congressional District’s representative to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. He’s also on the Board of Trustees at Belmont University.
Bill has a heart for serving others. Bill is the past president of Tennesseans for Economic Growth, past chairman of YMCA of Middle Tennessee, past president of the Associated Builders and Contractors, and has served on the board of several community organizations including Hope Clinic for Women, Men of Valor Prison Ministry, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Operation Andrew and many others.
Bill is a man of faith, and he and Maria are active in Grace Chapel Church and in numerous faith-based ministries, which have taken him all over the world to serve people in need, including to Africa, Central America, and the Middle East.