B.E. Singleton & Sons wins ‘Business of the Year’

Published 12:18 am Monday, February 6, 2017

“Seamless.” That’s the word used to describe the change in ownership at B.E. Singleton & Sons.

When Charlie Manning and Bobby Hanna took over the site-contracting company in 2014, they saw the value of what the Singleton family built in the five decades before them.

The new owners saw eye to eye with Googie and Marshall Singleton, whose father founded the business, and although the area was just coming out of an economic recession at the time, it was clear B.E. Singleton & Sons wasn’t going anywhere.

“Bobby and I were really looking for a way to come back home and be a part of this community. Buying this business was our best way in,” Manning said. He and Hanna previously worked with S.T. Wooten Corp. out of Wilson. “It was a nice fit. We knew the people. We knew the reputation of the business. We knew that there was some good will in the name.”

Manning said acquiring the business was a leap of faith, but neither would do it differently. They enjoy spending more time in the Washington area and spending more time with their families here.

“A little bit of a risk, but it’s been one of the most rewarding things we’ve done in our career,” Manning said. “They had an acting general manager here, Bill Woolard, and they had good employees, so Bobby and I were able to step right in and start getting jobs and securing work. … The day-to- day business processes were already in place.”

Building off of the business model already in place, Manning and Hanna have worked to secure larger jobs for the company, and they’ve more than doubled the number of employees.

B.E. Singleton is also a longtime member of the Washington-Beaufort County Chamber of Commerce. It won the title of 2016 Business of the Year, announced in January as part of the annual Chamber Awards.

When the Singleton brothers passed the torch, they acted with the best interest of the company in mind and solidified the company’s future, according to William Taylor, of First Bank, and a Chamber board member.

With the support of the Singleton family before them, and a group of dedicated employees, B.E. Singleton & Sons is looking toward the future.

“As we, kind of, toot our horn and poke out our chest a little bit over this award, which we’re extremely proud of and grateful for and humbled by, we want to be respectful,” Manning said. “We’re proud of it, but we’re also proud of what our employees do. The story is not about two individuals. It’s about the company, and the company is made up of a lot of people that work hard every day, and frankly, have earned it.”