At the age of 18, Ben Patel traveled from Madison, GA, to India, where he was born.
The extreme poverty he witnessed during his month in India changed the trajectory of his life, and in the process, the lives of many who live in the rural Georgia town he’s called home since he was seven years old.
“We’re bringing dreams to families who couldn’t ever envision this type of success,” says Ben, now a 33-year-old father of two. “There are certainly jobs in Madison, but many of those jobs have been taken for years. We’re creating new opportunities that make dreams come true.”
Ben credits his introduction to Georgia’s film and TV production industry — and his entrepreneurial spirit — to his long-time mentor, Paul Paschal, who owned a dry-cleaning business in Madison that employed Ben’s parents. As a teen, Ben also worked there, and witnessed the dry cleaner’s business boom with wardrobe cleaning for productions such as “Driving Miss Daisy,” “In the Heat of the Night,” and “We Are Marshall.”
It was while delivering wardrobe to EUE/Screen Gems Atlanta studio, then hosting “Hunger Games,” that Ben looked around and saw the opportunity for a transportation company serving productions. Today, his dry-cleaning days are behind him, and he’s staked his future on B.I. Productions. It’s a move that pushed his family out of poverty, and allowed him to more than triple his business income.
And it allowed him to hire even more residents of Madison.
“This small rural town is full of tradesman,” says Ben, who employees about 25 Madison residents. “I’m putting the vision on the table, and they are bringing the skills together to make it work.
“I took the idea of the America dream, and I made it possible for me. And I’m committed to making it real for others, too.”