Robert Bennington shares with us how he discovered the power of viewing his successful family business as a ministry, and the powerful impact this view of his business has on his employees, his community, and his customers.
It all began as Robert was asking himself if he should sell his business to become a pastor or missionary so he could do more to serve God. He heard a pastor in a sermon on the radio recount how he counselled a parishioner who was asking the same questions.The answer he received: his business is his ministry.
Bennington Properties (BenningtonProperties.com) is truly a family business. The founders of the company, Gene and Penny, celebrated 41 years of marriage before Penny’s passing in 2016. Penny’s sister, Carolyn, was an instrumental part of the company from its beginning. Then in 2006, Gene and Penny’s son Robert joined the team.
Robert was born in Hawaii and has lived most of his life embodying the Hawaiian, “Aloha Spirit.”
The Hawaiian culture can be seen in his upbringing, as well as in the form of one of his many Hawaiian shirts. In 1841, Robert’s great, great, great grandparents immigrated to Hawaii from New England as a part of the large group of Christian missionaries sent to Hawaii between the years of 1820 and 1860.
Although he was born in Hawaii, Robert and his family moved to Oregon when he was just three and a half years old. He has many fond memories of visiting Hawaii, but Robert considers himself a full-blooded Oregonian. As a child, he cultivated a love for skiing and animals. In high school, Robert downhill ski raced on Mount Hood and Mount Bachelor.
Robert attended Oregon State University to study in their veterinary program and ended up with a degree in Zoology. He finds science and medicine absolutely fascinating and still has dreams of returning to school to pursue those areas as a second career path (when his children are all grown up). However, by the time he was a junior at OSU, Robert realized lifestyle and family were more important than the long hours and low pay of a veterinarian. So, he decided to pursue a different route. While at OSU, Robert met the love of his life, Holly, who was in the Spanish Masters Program at the University of Oregon.