Pride Enterprises Partners With Iraq War Veteran

A Strategic Alliance

Craig T. Williams, CEO and president of Pride Enterprises Inc. (right) and Iraq War veteran Richard Bennett (Photo by Rayon Richards)

By the time Bennett–who received several unit commendation awards and medals–was discharged from the Marine Corps, he ended up with traumatic brain injuries and a spinal injury that left him 80% disabled. When he’d met with Williams, Bennett was hoping to find a surgeon willing to attempt the high-risk surgery of fusing or replacing his spinal disks so he could return to duty. Williams, however, had other plans. “The good thing about me partnering off with Craig was he’s been helping me to hone my skills more on the business side,” says Bennett.

Both Williams and Bennett say the relationship is mutually beneficial. It gives Pride Enterprises restored access to a revenue stream while Fidelis (whose name hails from the U.S. Marine Corps motto, “Semper Fidelis”) benefits from the support and business experience of a more seasoned management team. “One of the keys to the relationship Craig and I have is a mutual respect for not just each other’s personality but for each other’s ideas,” says Bennett. “If we evaluate something and come up with two different results, we’ll pretty much sit and discuss it and figure out what happened, why we didn’t arrive at the same end result. From there the logical answer is clearer.”

With nine contracts completed, the largest of which was a $5.85 million renovation of the Philadelphia VA Medical Center, Fidelis is projecting $13 million in revenues for 2011. “My plan, as far as a relationship with Pride Enterprises, is to buy out Pride’s minority ownership interest and continue moving forward with them using them as a consultant, obviously maintaining the relationship and friendship I have with Craig as my mentor,” Bennett says.

Stimulus Projects
For Pride Enterprises, Williams sees slow but steady growth ahead. For 2008, the company generated $12.6 million, which dipped slightly to $12.3 million in 2009. Revenues for 2011 are expected to rise some 10% to $25 million. “Oddly enough, we’ve managed to grow in this environment, partly because of the stimulus dollars that the government spent,” says Williams. “We’ve also managed to evolve and stay in front of the money, if you will. With those strategies of diversifying within the niches of the federal government, we’ve managed to grow our business.”

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