Native American chamber honors Brenco with Small Business of Year award

Staff reports
5/5/09

DALLAS – Brenco Industrial Services, LLC, an expanding Dallas-based company focused primarily on renovation and commercial construction, has been honored with the DFW Native American Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business of the Year award in recognition of Brenco’s exemplary growth and community service.

Brenco President Steve Cardwell accepted the award at a recent luncheon. He commended the chamber for serving as a key resource for the Native American business community and creating an awards program that recognizes extra effort and sacrifice.

“I was deeply touched when the chamber gave its Leadership Award posthumously to the late Dallas Police Cpl. Norman Smith of the Dallas police gang unit,” he said. Smith was killed in the line of duty while serving a warrant Jan. 6 at a crime-infested East Oak Cliff apartment complex. His widow, Regina, accepted the award.

“I don’t think there was a dry eye in the place,” Cardwell said, adding that he was honored to be in the company of such a distinguished recipient and others such as Saul Garza of Fox 4 News who received the Civic Leadership Award, Sam Evans of Lockheed Martin who received the Special Recognition Award and the City of Dallas, which was honored with the Public Sector Agency Award.

Eric Wolfgang, chairman and founding member of the chamber, said the Small Business Award program reflects the organization’s mission.

“The whole purpose of our chamber is to help create Steve Cardwells and Brencos,” he said. “The small business award exists to help inspire Native American entrepreneurs with shining examples of success like Brenco.”

Cardwell, a Southern Cheyenne member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes, said he hopes the award sends a message of encouragement to Native American entrepreneurs. “They need to know that success is just as possible for them as anyone who’s willing to work hard and put their best into what they do.”

Among Brenco’s current priorities is a $6 million contract with global giant Siemens Transportations Systems, Inc., and Dallas Area Rapid Transit for construction of 23 traction power substations for DART’s southeast and northwest corridor expansions.

Wolfgang, a Dallas lawyer whose pro bono work focuses on small-business needs, noted that the Small Business of the Year award recognizes more than financial success. A key criterion, he said, is the degree to which a Native-owned business remembers its roots and gives back to the community.

In that regard, he said, Brenco is as impressive as its achievements that have grown the company into a robust, diversified enterprise with more than 30 employees, annual earnings of more than $4.2 million last year (up from $2.3 million in 2007) and manufacturing operations that cover their 14-acre site west in downtown Dallas.

“Brenco has shown growth and the incentive to grow,” Wolfgang said, “but it also has shown its willingness to give back to the Native American community, and that’s very uncommon for a small business, because that doesn’t usually fit into a small business budget. But Brenco finds the time and resources.

“Their repeated sponsorships of Native American events is impressive. They find time and resources to remember their roots and give back by sponsoring and participating in activities ranging from Dallas Independent School District programs to supporting the (Oak Cliff-based) Urban Inter-Tribal Center of Texas.”

Worth noting, he added, is that Brenco was one of seven sponsors of the luncheon, but Cardwell did not know his company was being honored.

Part of the giving back priority at Brenco is related to growing up poor in Oklahoma, Cardwell said, and eagerness to help young people find a constructive path as soon as possible. “I’m very passionate about teaching kids. And you know what? They usually like me. They’ll come up to me and want to talk. What’s better success than that?”

Dallas-based Brenco Industrial Services LLC is a family-owned and operated industrial and commercial renovation contractor with turnkey construction capability; specialties include interior and exterior renovations, remodeling, building additions, environmental services and more.

DFWNACC Leadership Awards honorees:

• Native American of the Year: Sam Bradford
• Civic Leadership Award: Saul Garza (Fox 4 News)
• Education Leadership Award: Leo Wesley (Dallas Independent School District)
• Community Leadership Award: Ofc. Norman Smith (posthumously; accepted by his wife Regina)
• Corporation of the Year: Ben E. Keith
• Small Business Award: Brenco Industrial Services, L.L.C. (Steve Cardwell)
• Special Recognition Award: Sam Evans (Lockheed Martin)
• Meritorious Service Award: Judy Allen (Choctaw Nation)
• Public Sector Agency Award: City of Dallas

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