Devon Henry accepted his award, smiled for the camera, and humbly walked back to his seat. Upon returning, his family and staff congratulated him on another accomplishment. Recently, Henry has been receiving his share of accolades. Although they are for his business, they really represent his role as a leader.
The credit goes to his mother for the support and developing his leadership skills from the very beginning.
“My mother deserves a great deal of recognition. She has shown me what hard work, determination and a will to succeed can get you in life. She taught me skills that have allowed me to succeed in all that I do,” said Henry. “She has always guided me and serve as my mentor. I hope to do the same for my children.”
Henry’s career has taken him from being in a corporate leadership program to owning his own business. He also volunteers his time to non-profit organizations.
Henry is the CEO and president of Team Henry Enterprises, LLC, a construction firm specializing in environmental, marine and emergency response services headquartered in Newport News with offices in Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Louisiana, New Jersey and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Its clients comprise of both the federal government and the commercial sector.
Since buying the company in 2006, revenue went from around $700,000 to now over $20 million. The company had only a bare minimum number of employees in 2006, but has grown to around 60 in 2014. Projects are scattered across the country from Virginia to Louisiana to the Virgin Islands.
Serving his community is something he has built into his life and business model. Team Henry Enterprises donates thousands of dollars to charities. Henry served on the Board of Directors for the Virginia March of Dimes and his efforts have helped raise over $250,000. Henry frequently speaks at colleges and high schools about Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics initiatives. He created an endowment at his alma mater, Norfolk State University, to provide scholarships for students majoring in STEM related subjects. He also serves on the Board of Directors for Richmond’s Metropolitan Business League, where he mentors other small minority businesses, helping them to write their business plans and strategic plans.
“Devon will always be successful no matter what he does. From coaching his kids to running a business,” said Oliver Singleton, director of the Metropolitan Business League. “He brings so much leadership to the community and his business.”
Although he has received accolades, it didn’t begin that way. Like most business owners there are many obstacles that make it challenging to own a business. Coming up with the money needed can be problematic. Henry solved this problem by dipping into his savings and mortgaging his home to provide collateral for the costs to purchase the business and sustain it during the Great Recession.
Another challenge Henry faced was the amount of bonding. Federal construction contracts require bonding for all work and can really limit the type of projects. Initially, he could only work on smaller projects as a subcontractor. Henry eventually went through the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Surety Guarantee Program and now has bonding up to $30 million. This opened the door to submit bids on larger projects as a prime contractor.
Even though Henry had some struggles, his efforts haven’t gone unnoticed. Recently, he was named SBA’s Small Business Person of the Year for 2014. Inc Magazine recognized Team Henry Enterprises as the 9th fastest growing African American owned company in the country in 2013. In 2013, Team Henry Enterprises was recognized in Fortune Magazine, ranking 13th on The IC100 List of fastest growing inner city companies in the country.
With all the recognitions and success, Henry doesn’t want to just stop there.
“Long term success is the goal. I do this not only to make a living but to provide jobs to those living in communities in which we serve. I have a lot of people counting on me and the continued success of Team Henry,” said Henry.
Henry’s success all began because his mother instilled the need for leadership and what it can achieve.