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W. Bernard White Talks New Red Wings Arena, M-1 Railway

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(credit: Vickie Thomas/WWJ)

(credit: Vickie Thomas/WWJ)

DETROIT (WWJ) — W. Bernard White, founder of Detroit-based White Construction, is on a mission.

As head of one of the nation’s largest African-American-owned companies, White has led his company to the forefront of pre-construction services, construction management, general contracting and design build in such sectors as public/municipal, education, industrial, healthcare, religious and residential.

White said that he started his company 25 years ago this month.

“I didn’t want to wake up and be 60-years-old and say ‘I wish I would have given it a shot,'” White said. “In 1989, the economy was somewhat down, but one thing I will give credit to was the Coleman Young administration, who had — at that time — what was called a ‘Sheltered Market’ program,”

White Construction is one of three companies selected to begin work on the new Detroit Red Wings arena in downtown Detroit.

“We worked on Comerica Park, we worked on Ford Field and now we are slated to work on the hockey arena,” White said. “We’ve achieved the hat trick.”

White’s company is even lined up to build the 20 stations planned for the M-1 rail project in Detroit.

“The shovel is not in the dirt, but it will definitely be going in the dirt. That’s going to be one of the nicest hockey arenas, if not the nicest arena in the United States in my opinion,” White said. “I’m so excited to be working on that.”

Black Enterprise Magazine’s Top 100 List of the largest African-American companies ranked White Construction 87th in 2012 and 79th in 2013.

White had a word of advice for the flood of entrepreneurs making their way to Detroit.

“It’s the same thing my grandmother gave me and that’s number one — get you education,” White said.

Some of the company’s other projects have included work on Campus Martius, Detroit Riverwalk, the new Mumford High School, Detroit Public Safety Headquarters, Michigan Crime Lab, United States Citizenship Immigration Building, Detroit Wayne County Port Authority and the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center Auditorium.

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