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Building success
DEBBIE BLOSSOM World Staff Writer
B.E.N. Construction in Broken Arrow, owned by Benny Benge, was honored Thursday night as one of three outstanding minority businesses in the state.

BA firm wins minority business award

When Benny Benge established B.E.N. Construction Inc. eight years ago, he savored the chance to be part of an American dream.

It seems like things are going even better than he planned.

Thursday night, Benge received the latest of several awards recognizing his efforts to excel at what he loves doing.

The 61-year-old business owner was honored at the 10th Annual Minority Business Leadership Awards Dinner at the Myriad Convention Center in Oklahoma City.

B.E.N. Construction, of Broken Arrow, was selected by the Oklahoma Minority Supplier Development Council as one of three Oklahoma minority businesses that have distinguished themselves with excellence service and business performance.

The American Indian company was the "Class 2" winner representing businesses with annual sales of $1 million and $10 million.

B.E.N. specializes in new construction, construction management, commercial and industrial renovation, and electrical services.

Other services include millwork, painting, welding, concrete and asphalt, excavation and framing, and drywall projects. The company also provides facility maintenance and relocation of manufacturing equipment.

"We try to do all the work ourselves," Benge said. "I want to satisfy my clients . . . and that's how I found out you can make a big impression on a client."

He credits his success to 45 years of experience and hard work in the construction industry, and a national Small Business Administration program that provides an opportunity to secure contracts on government projects.

After an intensive application process, B.E.N. Construction was classified in 1997 as a Small Disadvantaged Business and certified in the SBA's 8(a) program, Benge said.

The program offers assistance for nine years, he said. And while working with the government can be tedious, the reward has been numerous, long-term contracts that allowed the company to build a sound reputation.

"You have to really show them what you can do -- you have to really work hard," he said.

In just three years, the company has doubled its services and equipment inventory. A business that began with only Benge has grown to 25 employees.

B.E.N. Construction was also recently named the Native American Firm of the Year by the Oklahoma Native American Business Development Center, and in June was presented with an award for excellence from the Small Business Administration.

"I'm not trying to impress anyone," he said. "I love my job, and I enjoy meeting people. I'm real happy with the way things are going."

The awards, he added, make each day at work a bit sweeter.

"We're real proud of what we have."

The "Class 1" award for a business with sales less than $1 million was Niemann Fencing Co., an American Indian-owned company in Ponca City. The "Class 3" award for annual sales greater than $10 million was presented to Thrifty Office Supply, a Hispanic-owned company with corporate headquarters in Oklahoma City.

Named Outstanding Corporation of the Year was Phillips Petroleum Co. The Bartlesville- based company was honored for its commitment and dedication to strengthening minority business enterprise in the state.

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