Motor City’s Man Of Steel

After a legendary career in the NBA, The Bing Group CEO David Bing has carved an impressive niche into the auto industry

better at what we do and stronger.”

Ask Bing if the company will eventually be passed down to one of his children, and at first he is noncommittal. “Maybe. They have to earn it,” he says. “My oldest daughter has earned the right to be vice president, and I think she is capable of running things here. It’s up to her whether she wants it.

She’ll have an opportunity. But only because she’s earned the right,” he says. “Blood line does not give you the right.”

The Small Business Administration and White House announcement earlier this year of a pact with the Big Three automakers was followed closely by Bing (see “In the Driver’s Seat,” Newspoints, this issue). While GM, Ford and Chrysler already spend an estimated $130 billion annually in purchases from minority firms, the agreement will boost by another $3 billion the subcontracting awards over the next three years.

Bing says the agreement was vital if minority manufacturing businesses were going to remain competitive. The agreement will allow minority firms selling stock to the public to retain their SBA classification as long as minorities own a controlling interest, run the day-to-day operations and hire at least one-quarter of their workers from disadvantaged communities.

This opens the door for firms like his to consider selling stock as a way to expand their businesses. “That’s something I was pushing for years ago,” he says. “We started telling the Big Three that we needed to change the rules where minority companies could retain their designation but go to the public marketplace to get recapitalized.”

Why is this so important? Bing says when he’s ready to build another plant that could easily run him $7-$8 million, he has to borrow most of that money. “If you’re a publicly held company, you just go out, have a stock subscription and raise the money to do what you need to do without killing your balance sheet,” he says.

But while the door is now open for Bing to do just that, he is still hesitant to go public himself. He realizes that as a lone entrepreneur he has no board of directors looking over his shoulder and no concerns about stockholder earnings. “Right now I answer to no one. I make a decision, study it and I get it done.” But he’s thinking about it. Bing realizes that if his firm is to become the billion-dollar global company he envisions, it would be nearly impossible without going the equity route.

Among his options is to take one of the five companies public and hold tight to the rest. Or he could form a holding company for all of his concerns and take it public. But for the time being, he says, acquisitions and joint ventures will remain his primary growth strategies. “It gives me growth and flexibility. But I maintain control.”

Not only shaping his own destiny, but also helping to enrich the lives of those around him has long been a critical component of Bing’s life. His goal is

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