Building a legacy

w bernard white 2_optW. Bernard White, P.E., founder and president of White Construction, refuses to be outworked and outperformed by competitors. Since the inception of his Detroit-headquartered company on July 31, 1989, White has led one of the region’s most progressive construction entities, which specializing in pre-construction, construction management, general contracting and design build services.
A partial listing of the company’s metro Detroit projects includes Campus Martius, Coleman A. Young Municipal Center’s 13th Floor Auditorium, Comerica Park, Detroit-Wayne County Port Authority, Detroit Lions Training Facility, many Detroit Zoo Projects, Youthville, Greater Newmont Moriah Missionary Baptist Church and the new Mumford High School, to name a few.
Additionally, White Construction is one of three construction companies selected to build the new downtown hockey arena that will serve as home ice for the National Hockey League’s Detroit Red Wings. The company was also selected as a subcontractor to build the 20 stations for the M-1 Rail Transit System that will connect downtown Detroit to the city’s Midtown area.
On July 31, 2014, White Construction celebrated its 25th anniversary at N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Arts in Midtown, where more than 200 friends, family, past and present clients, as well as local, regional, state, and national elected and appointed officials came out to congratulate White, who has stayed true to the company’s motto, “Constructing your Vision…Since 1989.”
“It’s always about working much harder than my counterparts, and trying to incorporate some smarts as I get better,” said White. “One of the major keys to my success is that I’m strictly organized in everything that I do, both in my professional and personal lives.”
A product of the city’s west side, White and three siblings were raised by a single mother, where they learned the value of hard work and discipline needed to succeed. White especially recalled how his grandmother, Rosa Smith, made a big impact on shaping his young life: “She was a great inspiration to me as an adolescent, She would make breakfast every morning before I went to school, tell me about her life growing up in the South, and really encouraged me to get the best education possible.”
After graduating from Chadsey High School, White attended Lawrence Technological University where in 1980 he earned a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering. He graduated cum laude, even though he worked fulltime as a draftsman for the Detroit Water & Sewerage Department by day and attended Lawrence Tech at night. Subsequently, he began working for a well-known local construction management firm where he honed his skills for eight years before stepping out on faith to start White Construction.
In an effort to help the younger generation, White makes time to connect and talk with young African American boys and young men attending Detroit Public Schools about making good life and career choices.
“I love to offer myself as an example,” said White, the father of three grown children and grandfather of two. I came from a single-parent home, went through the Detroit Public Schools system, and lived in Detroit’s inner city just like many of the young people I talk to. I try to encourage them to persevere with their education and things can happen for them.”
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