Session: New Beginnings

A pioneer in the eCommerce industry, Ben was integral to the evolution of eCommerce. Throughout his career, he has worked with clients in all markets. From Fortune 500 companies to local start-ups, Ben has left his mark on the eCommerce presence of organizations like Ford, Bowers & Wilkins, Pentair, 1800Flowers, Guardian Industries, VW/Audi, Domino's Pizza, and many others. “Some of the sites we worked on literally put a stake in the ground for how eCommerce was to be done, even to this day,” said Ben. “Imagine making a shopping cart from scratch, load balancing servers, or simply showing available inventory. These things we take for granted today took hundreds or thousands of hours to complete, and are now available with little effort.”

But his passion in eCommerce isn’t in innovation alone. Ben is, and always has been, driven by the goal of making eCommerce approachable and accessible—for consumers and business owners alike. With this principle in mind, Ben and fellow musician Jason Magee founded Human Element in 2004. They swore they’d never hire an employee. Almost two decades later, Human Element is composed of nearly 50 employees and enjoys exponential growth as one of the fastest growing companies in Michigan, thrice making the Inc 5000 list and receiving the FastTrack award for continued growth seven years in a row.

“I’m inspired each day by the team we’ve assembled. They are creative problem solvers and I learn something new from the team each day,” boasts Ben. “It’s like sitting in with a great Jazz ensemble; each member plays their part to perfection and we leave room for each other to stand out, and sometimes sit back and listen. We learn from each other's performances and build on our own. I guess I kinda view it like a band that riffs off each other.”

Outside of the proverbial doors of Human Element, Ben is happiest spending time with his family, riding his mountain bike through the endless trails of Michigan’s wilds, and playing and creating music. Both talented musicians, Ben and Jason have toured the tri-state area with various bandmates as Restroom Poets, October Babies, Sixteen More Miles, The Crossed Lines, and other projects, enjoying local fame and consistently selling out the iconic venue Blind Pig, and opening for national acts.

In 2017, Ben and Jason restored a 19th-century church and farmhouse that is now Willis Sound, a studio and recording experience that is part creative playground and part sleepaway camp. Looking for a reason to chat it up with Ben? Ask him about the Gary Coleman tribute once on display at Willis!