Frank L. Bennardo, P.E. is the Founder & President of Engineering Express® - a company that specializes in technology-driven systemization of component designs. Himself a Board Certified Professional Structural Engineer with licenses in 21 states in the US, Frank grew up watching his grandfather work as a bricklaying contractor and was fascinated with construction quite early on.
The team over at Engineering Express® has performed over 300 expert witness cases to damaged buildings affected by storms in Florida,New Jersey,New York and Texas since 2005 and over 600 building product evaluations to date. For over 15 years, the team has been designing specialty structures for both commercial and residential building across the country.
In this exclusive interview with CrazyEngineers, we got Mr. Bennardo to talk about how the idea behind his company took birth, how they made their first sale, his insights on his entrepreneurship journey so far and a lot more. Read on!
CE: Tell us the story of how Engineering Express came to life. How did you come up with the idea?
Frank L. Bennardo, P.E, Founder - Engineering Express®
Frank L. Bennardo, P.E : Engineers typically aspire to bigger and bigger projects. Nobody was paying attention to the smaller jobs, component engineering we call it. They typically went to moonlighters and retired people. It was my idea to be the first and only with a corporate, enterprise class company to execute those jobs using emerging technologies.
CE: How does Engineering Express work?
Frank L. Bennardo, P.E : We use technology to systematize smaller engineering projects to be highly professional and profitable while bringing work to the client quickly and at competitive fees.
CE: What are the most important traits and talents to have in starting and running a business?
Frank L. Bennardo, P.E : Finding 'A' list staff to share and execute the vision of the company.
CE: How big is Engineering Express Team? Who are the other people behind Engineering Express?
Frank L. Bennardo, P.E : We are 22+ staff on board with a unique mix of 'A' list engineers, drafters, admin, and IT staff.
Engineering Express® Team
CE: How did you make your first sale?
Frank L. Bennardo, P.E : After Hurricane Andrew, I got my General Contractors license and everywhere I went clients needed a PE to seal plans which I was. I sealed my first engineering plan for more than I made in the entire day as a GC and it wasn’t long before I saw the higher profit as a PE vs a GC.
CE: Other than deciding to work for yourself, what was the single most important decision you made that contributed to your success?
Frank L. Bennardo, P.E : Saying yes to more than I should early on. I said yes to everything I could and then figured it out. Without doing that I would never have uncovered the road I did.
CE: Which was more rewarding: making your startup a success, or being able to continue keeping it successful?
Frank L. Bennardo, P.E : Making and keep making it a success. It’s not the keeping it as much as the growing it. If a day goes by and I can make a small improvement here towards the unique vision of the company, I feel like I’ve done my job.
CE: After all this success, what do you struggle with now?
Frank L. Bennardo, P.E : Adjusting for millennials, minimizing legal implications, paying the ever growing bills, and rewarding staff with creative, forward-thinking incentives.
CE: What has been the role of luck in your success?
Frank L. Bennardo, P.E : Hurricanes of 2005, call it luck but they do happen (and 'unlucky' for the past 10+ years if you want to look at it that way). Those storms put us in business though with money for a big office, big staff, systems, marketing, etc.
CE: What's your productivity secret?
Frank L. Bennardo, P.E : Create a system and process for everything that walks through the door. If you can’t, it’s not a job for us.
CE: Thank you for your time. Any message for budding engineers?
Frank L. Bennardo, P.E : Work harder than expected, surprise your boss with something smart, don’t start as an intern walking around with headphones or staring at your phone all day, work through lunch or eat at your desk while working once in a while, stay late, come in early, and above all, for crying out loud, INNOVATE! You are an engineer!
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