It is the excitement and satisfaction of building a business that inspires Benny Lee as an entrepreneur. Lee has led several diverse enterprises, currently including Eliton, a folding cello company, and his larger venture, DuraComm Corp., “A Benny Lee Company,” an international manufacturer of AC-to-DC switch mode power supplies, commercial and industrial LED and induction lighting solutions, and solar energy.
Born in Taiwan, Lee graduated from the Tatung Institute of Technology with a major in electrical engineering. In 1972, he was employed by Taipei office of Midland International, a Kansas City-based company. In 1979, he founded Mitco, a Taipei-based trading company which sourced several high-profile products, including the Ginsu Knife and the Handy Stitch sewing machine. In 1995, he moved to the United States with his wife Edith and daughters and furthered expanded another business, Top Innovations, a highly successful marketer of SteamFast steamers and other products. He sold the business in 2008. He was major share holder of Duracomm in 1995, realizing the growth potential at DuraComm, Lee became the sole owner in 2008.
DuraComm and Lee have received recent acclaim for its growth, leadership, business culture and ingenuity. Most recently DuraComm has been selected by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for its Top 100 Blue Ribbon Small Business award.
In addition, Lee accepted the Missouri Governor’s Minority and Small Business Award and the Kansas City Manufacturer of the Year award in 2011. DuraComm was honored by Kansas City Business Magazine as 2012 Top Company honoree, and Lee was selected as a Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year--Central Midwest Regional Finalist. The US Small Business Administration recognized Lee with their Region VII 2011 Minority Business Champion designation for his support of minority and small business.
Believing in the importance of supporting organizations that aid in fueling community, charitable and business growth, Benny Lee has accepted leadership responsibilities in organizations that assist, educate and promote minority-owned businesses, small businesses and entrepreneurship. He served as president of the Kansas City Asian American Chamber of Commerce for two years, served as first vice-president of the International Relations Council of Kansas City, served on the Board of Directors of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and is an “Entrepreneur in Residence” and mentor at the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Benny emphasizes the need for greater business and cultural exchange to take advantage of the growing the economy.
Based on the belief that the United States is the most philanthropic country in the world, Benny Lee relishes the practice of giving back to the community. DuraComm gladly donates to Kansas City non-profit associations and charitable causes. A partial list of donations in the last two years includes the Children's Wish Foundation, Kansas City Hospice, National Federation of the Deaf, David Beaham Library Fund, United Breast Cancer Foundation, Police Benefit Association, Guadalupe Center, and the Missouri Wonderland Fund. We are very proud to be corporate citizens in Kansas City and to help make our city a better place to live for everyone.
Benny Lee formed a music club to bring music of the world to Kansas City. As a past Trustee of Park University, he continues to sponsor its growing music program. He has served on the board of the Executive Board of Tocqueville Society – United Way. He is a mayor founding donor of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts and patron of the Kansas City Symphony. He recently made a significant donation to Shawnee Mission Medical Center Birth Center, which is in the process of naming its atrium after Benny and Edith Lee.
Benny Lee was asked to join the KC Mayor’ Corp, a non-profit organization in which the goal is to have substantive conversations with civic leadership about how the Kansas City mayor’s office can support business and job creation–including making the city more efficient, creating safe communities, enhancing educational opportunities from pre-school to post-grad, and, of course, working to help grow our local businesses and attract new economic opportunities to our city. He is also current board member of FBI Citizen Academy- a non-profit organization helping promote FBI relation with business world and give help to those policemen who lost live in duty. He will serve in Crime committee working closely with police to reduce crime.
Awards and Honors--
2012 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year-Midwest Regional Finalist –DuraComm President Benny Lee was honored for his entrepreneurial success in creating innovation, growth, and profitability for his business.
2012 Top Company of the Year Award (KC Business Magazine)—DuraComm Corporation was selected for this award based on sustained growth, innovation, profitability, and dedication to the Kansas City business and non-profit communities.
2011 Missouri Governor’s Minority and Small Business Award--DuraComm Corporation was the recipient of this award which is presented to a business that has demonstrated outstanding success and innovation and has made a significant contribution to local and state economies. The award was presented to Benny Lee, CEO at the Governor’s Conference on Economic Development in September in Springfield, MO.
2011 U.S. Small Business Administration’s Region VII “Minority Business Champion Award--Benny Lee, Chairman and CEO of DuraComm Corp, was selected as the honoree based his dedication to furthering the success of minority-owned businesses, his participation in minority business and business organizations, and his sustained business leadership activities. Lee was selected for the award from nominees submitted in the four-state region of Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa.
50 Missourians You Should Know (Ingram’s magazine, 2011)
Manufacturer of the Year (Kansas City Minority Enterprise Development Committee, 2011)
Governor’s Minority & Small Business Award (Missouri Department of Economic Development, 2011)
Finalist – Lewis Shattuck Small Business Advocate Award (National Small Business Assoc., 2011)
President Award (Sister City Association of Kansas City, 2009)
25 Under 25 Small Business Award (Thinking Bigger Business Magazine, 2007)
Cornerstone Award (Economic Development Corporation, 2005)
International Business Award (International Relations Council, 2004) Pinnacle Award (North Kansas City Community Foundation, 2004)