Founder, CEO Social Impact, Entrepreneurship
In this week's feature I met up with Ron Stocknopf Ben-Zeev to find out who he is and how he defines The Orlando Life. His story's surprise victory in Social Entrepreneurship is not what you'll expect and his insight to staying curious and humble is just fantastic.
Ron is a well traveled social entrepreneur who’s curiosity and motivation has helped lead him to where he is now as the CEO of World Housing Solution and as a community leader here in Orlando.
Born in Israel, Ron has lived all over the world thanks to his father who was involved in international tourism and real estate development. He’s lived in West Africa, Asia, Europe and eventually, in the 80’s, moved to the U.S. when he was accepted to a Business School in Philadelphia.
With his parents here in Orlando, he eventually made his way to Florida and took a unique position with Siemens as an Advisor and Assistant to the CEO. This position opened many doors for Ron to explore various avenues to improve the company, and with direct access to the CEO, was able to implement them and find success.
His time at Siemens eventually came to a close when he decided to join his father in Real Estate Development. Building subdivisions and other projects around the world, he always had the inclination to be socially responsible in his work.
He saw an opportunity that was a clear slam dunk to help people in a major crisis by eliminating an outdated practice. He began putting his idea together, but soon found out that just because it's socially good, it doesn't guarantee success. On the brink of closing up shop, a random email appeared in his inbox. It came out of left field; it was about what he was doing, but it wasn't regarding his purpose for starting the company.
Ron shares the story behind the idea of World Housing Solution, how it was rejected, and how it transformed into what it is today
World Housing Solution has created a modular Rapidly Deployable Shelter that can be erected in hours without the need for power tools or lifting equipment. They provide shelter far more stable than a tent and can also be delivered with solar panels to generate power.
The structures themselves are incredibly light weight and durable. I had the chance to pick up one of the pre-cut panels and found I could lift it off the ground with one arm (although I used two assuming it was going to be heavier). I also had the opportunity to walk into one of the shelters that was put together. To my surprise an employee was taking his lunch break inside it as it was the perfect place to escape the heat and find some quiet. For reference, the interview you see in these videos is inside Ron's office, which is made of his deployable shelters!
Every Entrepreneur knows failure, but is there ever a time to throw in the towel? Ron dives into this and explains how curiosity and humility can go a long way to overcoming failure and finding the open door you were looking for.
Being recognized for the excellent work he's already done, Ron received an opportunity that was completely in his wheelhouse. This opportunity launched a new product coming out of World Housing Solution, called Clinics on Wheels. The name speaks clearly to what it is, but watch below to hear why and how his work is helping people in need.