About the Owners
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East Tennessee State University, MBA, 1996
He was born in Kingsport, TN and graduated from East Tennessee State University where he received full tuition scholarships and was recognized by the university as a member of the Dean’s List and Outstanding College Students of America.
Bennett has over twenty years experience in Manufacturing Management, Construction Management, and Contractor Services Management.
In 1991, after graduating from ETSU, Bennett began working in the Manufacturing Industry for Burlington Industries. While at Burlington, he was learned the importance of safety and training while assuming responsibility for managing two manufacturing processes. During his tenure with Burlington, Bennett enrolled in, attended, and completed Graduate School at East Tennessee State University, earning his MBA.
From 1999 to 2003, Bennett served as Executive Director of Friends In Need Health Center. Friends In Need is a non-profit organization providing on-site primary medical care and dental care for working uninsured residents of the region.
In 2003, Bennett joined A&L Industrial where he served as Vice President of Operations. While serving the organization, Bennett was responsible for all site operations, serving as a Corporate Officer and serving as a member of the Board of Directors.
In 2007, Brock Services, Ltd. purchased A&L Industrial and Bennett was hired by the new company. Shortly after the merger, Bennett was promoted to President – Region IV and became responsible for management and oversight of BSL’s operations in the Eastern United States. In addition to Bennett’s P&L responsibilities, he was also responsible for development and maintenance of the company’s most successful customer business model, marketing the business model to customers and potential customers across the U.S., developing and maintaining corporate relationships, negotiating contracts and customizing customer solutions, and developing and maintaining a safe and healthy business culture.
In 2012, the Bennett’s formed Elite Manufacturing and Professional Services to to compete with traditional staffing companies and larger contractors in the region. The opportunity to build their company from it’s foundation was a challenge the Bennett’s eagerly embraced and accepted. Bennett says, “I believe that we are a company capable of filling the void left by others in the region. We are locally owned, we have invested in our community, we know our customers personally, and my promise is that we will always do the right thing. It has been a blessing for us to put our handprints all over this organization and everything it stands for.” Elite is a provider of specialized labor services including staffing, outsourcing, training and consulting. We customize innovative solutions for our customers.
Throughout his career, Bennett has been intimately involved in a variety of community causes including (but not limited to):
- United Way of Greater Kingsport
- Church Activities
- Friends of Allendale
- Lynn View Community Center
- Kingsport Chamber of Commerce
- Rotary Club of Kingsport
Bennett has two children and three step-children. Every non-working moment is dedicated to his family.
Sonja Whitson Bennett
She was born in Kingsport, TN and graduated from East Tennessee State University.
Bennett has over twenty years’ experience in Human Resources Management and Staffing Industry Management.
In 1993, Bennett began her career in Human Resources by working as a Human Resource Assistant for Northeast Tennessee Rehabilitation Hospital and later, Down River Forrest Products, located in Louisville, KY.
In 1996, Bennett joined Staffmark Staffing Services. She was employed by Staffmark until 2008 and served in a variety of roles. Initially, Bennett was the Communications Manager; however, she had much higher aspirations. Later, she was promoted to Market Manager, Regional Manager, and Director of Sales. Bennett was fortunate to be involved with this company. She had the opportunity to be a part of a dynamic growing business and treasures her experiences with the organization. While at Staffmark, Bennett directed, managed and coordinated all operations and sales activities, and had primary P&L responsibilities and was responsible for performing ongoing market analysis and implementing market strategies for multiple companies within the region. Additionally, she customized hiring / recruiting / retention programs for a variety of customers while addressing the staffing challenges within the specific industry of each client. As an Executive, Bennett met with prospective client management teams, at all levels, to conduct thorough site analysis and develop customized staffing solutions to address the needs of her customers.
In 2009, Bennett joined Brock Services, Ltd. where she served as Regional Staffing / Project Manager. Bennett was primarily responsible for recruiting and staffing multi-craft and professional positions for BSL in the Eastern U.S. She traveled throughout the region directing job fairs and continually searching for qualified candidates with specialized craft skills. Bennett also secured drug testing facilities in multiple states and was instrumental in maintaining DISA drug testing compliance for the region. Bennett worked closely with the Regional Safety Manager to keep all sites up to date on safety training, craft certifications and to ensure that sites had the appropriate PPE to safely perform their jobs.
In 2012, the Bennett’s formed Elite Manufacturing and Professional Services to compete with traditional staffing companies and larger contractors in the region. The opportunity to build their company from its foundation was a challenge the Bennett’s eagerly embraced and accepted. Bennett says, “I love the challenge and responsibility of being a business owner and absolutely embrace the entrepreneurial spirit. I am so excited to have the opportunity to meet face to face with potential clients and employees and to manage this business on a personal level.” Elite is a provider of specialized labor services including staffing, outsourcing, training and consulting. We customize innovative solutions for our customers.
Bennett is involved in a variety of community activities and has numerous professional affiliations:
- Society for Human Resource Management, Member
- Dobyns Bennett Softball Booster Club
- Board of Directors
- Executive Committee
- Kingsport Office of Small Business Development and Entrepreneurship (KOSBE), Board of Directors 2009-2011
- Civitan Club, Rutherford County, TN
- Business Network International
Bennett has three children and two step-children and is a very involved working mother. She has traveled throughout the Eastern US supporting her family in the various events in which they participate.