Benjamin O. Yao, Chairman, President and CEO, SteelAsia Manufacturing Corporation

Benjamin Yao has always been driven by the desire for the Philippines to have a self-sufficient steel industry and to be the equal of its industrial neighbors. He worked for SteelAsia, the company his father founded in 1965, while attending university in the evenings. At the time, production costs were high, and a lot of the steel needed for construction was imported. Benjamin’s goal when he took over was to modernize the company and update inefficient machinery.

After securing a partnership with National Steel in Singapore in 1996, Benjamin built the country’s first modern mill for reinforcing bars, or rebars, and construction steel. He pioneered new technology and modern equipment so SteelAsia could reduce costs and scale up its operations.

In the past 12 years, SteelAsia has expanded to five factory locations and is now one of the largest rebar manufacturers in Asia. Benjamin is proud to have provided jobs for nearly 3,000 people who might not otherwise have found work.