This week's blog post is an excerpt from our December issue of Dickerson Digest, our print newsletter. If you would like to receive Dickerson Digest in your mailbox, you can subscribe below.
We are proud to feature this article, contributed by our friend and client, Marcos Benavides, who is the CEO of Brennan & Company, an international freight forwarding company since 1913. We greatly appreciate his article and perspective.
It is difficult for me to put pen on paper to talk about myself. That has never been my forte, however, if you ask me to recall an event or anecdote that transpired in my life, then that is more my style. It all started with Brennan…and 32 years later it continues with Brennan. I was a 20- year-old full of dreams and ambitions, the go-to kid at work who would run the errands of the day. During those days, I worked the file room, I moved the cars of the executives, basically anything that needed to get done at Brennan, I was the go-to kid to call. While I longed for those tasks – one thing that I learned about myself early on was that I was quite versatile and a fast learner. I knew that I could do more, in fact, I felt I could take on the world; but what does a young kid know about running the world at 20 years old? When all he sees are the obvious gaps between the amount reflected on his pay check and the amounts on the executive checks I had to insert into those long envelopes during the runs I made to the bank. I recall having to carry all of those payroll checks to the office on Friday evenings. Certainly one thing I can say today about a prosperous business or any business (if you will) is that it can be built around a need. I still remember one of my mentors saying, “Marcos, find solutions to problems around you and build a business that can serve those needs to as many people as possible and that alone will make you money.” One day while I was assisting the night shift trailer dispatcher, I realized that there was a demand for border crossing , as not many companies were available to fulfill those services. I wondered what it would be like to be able to provide some of those services on my own. That’s where Bitco began…this was 1992. However, to properly elaborate on this story I need to go back to 1982 when I was in junior high school and where I met Joseph Michael Dickerson, who was one of my junior high buddies. I’m certain he, too, had his own dreams and aspirations, but I digress – back to Bitco; the Dickerson anecdote it will be relevant to Bitco eventually. So, I went ahead and pulled as much money I had saved and I bought my first few trucks and began providing the drayage service for Brennan since I already had internal relationships there that would provide the grounds for my trucks to run on. As the 90’s rolled, one day in 1994 a young attorney came up to me through common friends and it was Joseph Michael Dickerson; it didn’t take long before Dickerson suggested I needed to incorporate Bitco to reduce personal liabilities and to increase the insurance policy substantially to mitigate accidental risks and monetary lawsuits. I immediately took his advice. Things were smooth sailing until internal conflicts at Brennan surfaced which forced me to move away from them, promising to return one day to take on Brennan as my own. I still remember their facial expression of disbelief to this day when I made that comment. I suppose everyone thought I was out of my mind, since I only had a small company with just a handful of trucks to my name. Just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse, some time later one of my drivers crashes with one of the Railroad train cargo lines. Fortunately, my insurance policy covered the damages (thank you Dickerson) and under the recommendation of my council, I closed Bitco. The year was 2004. With little choice but to pursue another entrepreneurial route I decided to look at my options and went back to fundamentals. I reviewed the scenario I was in and made an evaluation of my experience, along with the many things I learned while at Brennan; and on a quiet morning, sitting near the river between the border, watching the truck crossings (from a distance) I decided to take another set of risks. In the next few days to months, I went on to open two more companies, Port Logistics, Inc. and Portlogmex a Mexican customs brokerage firm, of which two locations were established (in USA and Mexico) to support the services and needs of my clients from both sides of the border. During the next eight years business kept going, there were moments of extreme difficulties where I was faced with many challenging decisions. I considered giving up, taking on perhaps other type of business somewhere else, but the undeniable truth for me was that I made myself a promise not to return to the corporate world unless it was and extremely rewarding decision; so, those difficult decisions forced me back to the drawing board, seeking the recommendation of my support group and mentors that would be my closest family members and friends – and in one way or another I realized that one must persevere and keep going as the sun will always rise to keep the entrepreneurial tempo alive.
One day in 2012 the opportunity I had been waiting for came knocking at my door. It was Brennan and Company, during those 10 years of expansions, contractions, recessions and what have you I was able to find the way to finance the big purchase; I promised to myself that one day I would take on Brennan. The opportunity came up for me to purchase the company on its 99th company anniversary.
Today during the most difficult times our recent civilization is facing due the COVID19 pandemic I can tell you a few things about what I’ve talked about here today: 1) Big dreams do come through to those who work hard on them, who fail and get up again to continue the big fight – it happened to me; 2) Never let anyone tell you that you can’t do something you have the final answer, and the funny thing is that whatever answer you come up with, it is always the truth – we are what we believe we are for better or for worse; 3) No matter how hard the tide is or where the wind takes us, as one of my audio mentors (Mr. Jim Rohn) once said: “The same wind blows on us all; the winds of disaster, opportunity and change. Therefore, it is not the blowing of the wind, but the setting of the sails that will determine our direction in life.” And with that I must begin to close, but before I do that I want to give my mother Nereyda L. Benavides President of Brennan & Company, my highest appreciation for guiding me through all those years. It was truly a rewarding experience to talk just a little about some of the highs and lows of my life. Wishing all of you much success and a safe and steady recovery.
CEO – Brennan & Company
If you would like to contact him for more information,
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