Since 1973, The Willard Companies has been the driving force guiding Smith Mountain Lake’s transformation from a sleepy rural valley into a resort area that attracts people from across the country to enjoy golf, recreation, and lake life. The Willard Companies is the umbrella for Willard Construction of Roanoke Valley, Inc., Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Smith Mountain Lake Real Estate, Westlake Towne Center, and Westlake Cinema. This innovative group of companies represents excellence in construction, planning, development and marketing. The Willard Companies solidified its upstanding reputation throughout the Smith Mountain Lake community during its long history of managing country clubs and other businesses that support the local economy and enhance the local lifestyle.
Ronald L. Willard Sr., president of The Willard Companies, founded The Waterfront Country Club in 1976 and The Water’s Edge Country Club in 1985. He developed and managed both clubs until selling them in December 2020. The Willard Companies purchased the semi-private Chestnut Creek golf course in 1996, changed its name to The Westlake Golf & Country Club, then made it a public course and managed it until its sale in 2020. The Willard Companies owned and operated Smith Mountain Building Supply from 2000 until 2018.
In 2001, The Willard Companies broke ground on Westlake Towne Center, which quickly evolved into Smith Mountain Lake’s key destination for shopping and retail. Anchor tenants include Kroger, Carilion Wellness fitness center, Westlake Library and Westlake Cinema — plus, The Westlake golf course is just one mile away. Westlake Towne Center includes Westlake Professional Park and Office Complex, where many of the region’s preeminent medical service providers, legal services and financial services are located. Tenants of Westlake Towne Center enjoy the highest traffic count at Smith Mountain Lake, and a full-time maintenance staff.
The Willard Companies was founded in 1973 by Franklin County native Ronald L. Willard Sr., who was among the first to realize the potential of the lake and actively pursue making Smith Mountain Lake a great place to live, work and play.
Willard is an active member of the local community and has served a variety of regional, state and national organizations including the Ferrum College Board of Directors, the Business Council / Roanoke Economic Development Partnership, W. E. Skelton 4-H Center Board of Directors, Past-President of the Smith Mountain Lake Chamber of Commerce and is a Lifetime Director with the National Association of Homebuilders.
Willard, who grew up in the area, continues to nurture his strong roots by consistently giving back to the community and its residents. Throughout his career, Willard has donated his time and money to many local philanthropic events and efforts. He prides himself in going the extra mile for the residents of his communities and his employees. Willard has three children and six grandchildren and lives in The Water’s Edge Country Club community with his wife, Kris.