BE 100s Billion-Dollar Club: Lessons from Top-Earning Black Business

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Entrepreneur Ronald Hall, Sr. built his business to become one of the BE 100s revenue and employment leaders through partnership and providing unassailable service to the automotive industry. Developed through a joint venture with mammoth car components manufacturer Johnson Controls Inc., Detroit-based Bridgewater Interiors L.L.C. grew to a $1 billion-plus auto supplier by assembling thousands of seats for models such as the Cadillac DTS, Buick Lucerne and Ford Focus. Ironically, it reached $1.3 billion in gross sales on the industrial/service rankings in 2008, the year that auto industry crashed, financial services sector experience its meltdown and the Great Recession wrecked batteries of companies, large and small. However, Hall & Co. retooled for future growth and profitability by designing flexible operations and automating manufacturing using robotic machinery. Bridgewater - which never dipped below $1 billion in sales during these tough times - grossed $1.5 billion in 2013, currently holding the No. 3 spot among BE industrial/service companies. It's also one of the leading employers in black business with 1,500 workers.

Entrepreneur Ronald Hall, Sr. built his business to become one of the BE 100s revenue…