Adrienne Bennett is America’s first African-American woman who is a licensed master plumber. Born in Chicago, her family moved to Detroit when she was nine. When she decided to start her own plumbing and mechanical contracting business in 2007, her son was off at college and her husband had his own career.

Today, her company, Benkari, has a full-time union staff of five. In the last year, they’ve landed a major contract with the Detroit Transportation Corporation to work on the plumbing and heating systems at a key maintenance facility. Beyond that, requests for bids are picking up for commercial renovations and buildouts in downtown Detroit.

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