John Leslie began working for his father at the family business when he was just a boy. He went to Marshall University after high school and graduated in 1974 with a bachelor’s degree in business management. Leslie came back to his hometown of Cowen, W.Va., and bought his uncle’s half of Leslie Brothers Equipment Co., a John Deere equipment franchise. Leslie ran the business with his father until 1985, when he purchased his father’s half of the company to become the sole owner.
The business was small at the time and created mainly to supplement the family’s local saw mill. Leslie knew that the company could be more and have a bigger impact on local industry. He shortened the name to Leslie Equipment Co. and expanded the business in Cowen. Then, he purchased the franchise of another dealer and built a new location in Beaver, W.Va. In 1996, Leslie Equipment acquired Reckhart Equipment and built a new facility in Norton, W.Va.
Along the way John Deere recognized Leslie’s achievements and abilities with numerous awards for outstanding sales, which gave Leslie the confidence to continue with the growth of the company. His biggest expansion came in 2001 when the company purchased the assets of Gress Equipment Co., which included several dealerships throughout the tri-state area.
Now, Leslie Equipment employs more than 250 people at 10 locations throughout West Virginia, Ohio, and Kentucky. In 2006 a new facility was constructed in Cross Lanes, W.Va, to replace the Nitro facility. The new facility hosts training sessions for Leslie’s employees.
The company carries several lines of equipment to fit the needs of its ever-growing customer base. Those involved in forestry, construction, coal, oil and gas have come to know Leslie Equipment as the place they turn to for their equipment needs. Leslie goes to work early and stays late every day. His employees and customers are his friends. Work is his passion, his hobby, his life.
Leslie lives in Cowen with his wife, Lynette. He has four daughters, seven grandsons and one granddaughter. Leslie is known to give back to his community through schools and local organizations. Mr. Leslie was chosen as one of West Virginia's Who’s Who in Business in 2007.
Leslie Equipment Company has received numerous awards including:
- John Deere Hall of Fame
- Deere Credit Services Financing Excellence
- John Deere Mark of Excellence
- John Deere Performance Achievement Award
- John Deere 50th Anniversary – #1 Dealer in Market Share of G-Series Crawler Dozers
- Sentry Insurance - 1st place in UltraGard Sales Performance/ C&F Division
- Rockland Manufacturing Company - Outstanding Dealer
- ValueParts - Outstanding Sales Achievement
- Talbert - Outstanding Sales Achievement
- Geith - Outstanding Sales Achievement
- Allied - Outstanding Sales Achievement.