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SPOTLIGHT: Isiah White, Project Engineer, Detroiter

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Detroit native, Isiah White, is working to revitalize Detroit just a few blocks away from where he honed his love for math and problem solving: Cass Tech High School.

White, a project engineer with Detroit-based Christman-Brinker, is currently putting his skills to work at the new Wayne State University Mike Ilitch School of Business, which is currently under construction on Woodward Avenue. 

Located next to the new Little Caesars Arena and not far from his high school alma mater, the new, state-of-the-art business school will open in spring 2018. The new building—made possible by a $40-million donation from Mike and Marian Ilitch— will feature an adjacent parking deck, a rooftop terrace and a 260+ seat auditorium. 

White is helping to ensure all elements of the project flow correctly. 

His job involves reviewing plans and the accompanying changes, writing minutes, distributing information, attending meetings, assisting with and managing costs, testing materials and ensuring everyone on the job site is safe. 

After graduating from Cass Tech in 2006, White moved to Virginia to attend college. During his time away, the nation experienced an economic downturn. White watched Detroit on a rapid decline.

“I wanted to change that,” White said. “I wanted to bring my skills and knowledge back to the city, and be part of its renaissance.”

White, a self-described “math whiz,” graduated with a master’s degree in architecture. He said his interest in architecture emerged after taking an AutoCAD class in a joint program between Cass Tech and the Randolph Career and Technical Center in Detroit. His years of participation in Detroit Public Schools’ Academic Games program intensified his love for problem-solving and math.

White said he joined Academic Games in fourth grade and stuck with it at Cass Tech.

“I only joined it to get out of class for an hour, but then it became something I enjoyed,” White said.

Today, White continues to use many of the skills he learned in school. The most challenging elements of his job, he said, are also the most rewarding. 

Those include interacting with many different individuals and companies and ensuring RFIs and submittals are transmitted correctly and on time. 
Outside of work, White enjoys renovating his East Side home, engaging in community service with his fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha, and volunteering with Cass Tech’s Academic Games program. 

Ultimately, he’d like to become a project manager, which would give him more responsibilities.

Larry Brinker Jr., president of Detroit-based L.S. Brinker Co., said White continuously proves he has the skills that would allow him to continue to excel in his career goals.

“He’s very thoughtful about his work, and he is very reliable,” said Brinker. “He’s established and maintained relationships with subcontractors, which is crucial for major projects like the Mike Ilitch School of Business. He’s also a Detroit-native playing a huge part in the revitalization of Detroit. It means a lot, and it’s truly special.”

White agrees. 

“To me, it’s amazing to see how things have transformed over the years. To see how things just come along. It’s amazing to be a part of it and not just sitting from the sideline,” White said.

About The District Detroit

The District Detroit is one of the largest sports and entertainment developments in the country. Located in the heart of Detroit, this 50-block, mixed-use development led by the Ilitch organization unites eight world-class theaters, five neighborhoods and three professional sports venues in one vibrant, walkable destination for people who want to live, work and play in an exciting urban environment. Home to the Detroit Tigers, Detroit Red Wings, Detroit Pistons and Detroit Lions — The District Detroit represents the greatest density of professional sports teams in one downtown core in the country.