Black Builders Honored for Work on Detroit Landmarks

On Oct. 6, the Pioneer Titan Awards will commemorate and celebrate the builders who helped shaped the city’s culture and history through outstanding contributions to historic projects.

(Top to bottom) Little Caesars Arena, Fox Theatre and Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History

Thirty Black builders will be honored for their contributions to creating the many historic icons and landmarks of Detroit. The Pioneer Titan Awards, which will be held this Thursday, Oct. 6, will commemorate and celebrate the builders who helped shaped the city’s culture and history and who have made outstanding contributions to historic projects in Detroit.

While architects and sometimes engineers typically get recognition for their beautiful and grand structures, The Pioneer Titan Awards also hopes to honor those integral into turning ideas into a physical wonder. “Lifetime Achievement” honor will be received by those who continue to create and work to shape Detroit’s cityscape. Meanwhile, the “Legends” will be given recognition posthumously. These builders have worked on Detroit icons like the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, Little Caesars Arena, and the Fox Theatre.

Some of the posthumous awardees include:

  • Joseph Gough Jr., Gough-Johnson & Sons Construction
  • Julian C. Madison, Madison International
  • Howard F. Sims, SDG Associates
  • Cornelius A. Steward, Steward Development Group
  • Harold R. Varner, Varner & Associates
  • Glenn Wash, G.E. Wash & Associates
  • Eddie C. Williams, Sr., Williams & Richardson Company Inc.

The builders who will receive the “Lifetime Achievement” award include:

  • Larry Brinker, CEO of Brinker Group  
  • Dave Burnley, president and CEO ofDevon Industrial Group
  • J.L. Dumas, president of Dumas Concepts
  • Mark English, senior architect of Mark English & Associates
  • Rainy Hamilton, Jr., Principal, Hamilton Anderson & Associates
  • Beverly Hannah, CEO of Hannah & Associates, Inc. 
  • Kent Jackson, vice president for the Detroit region of Rockford Construction Company
  • Paul Jenkins, CEO of MIG Construction
  • Bernard White, Founder of White Construction
  • Jim Jenkins, Jenkins Construction, Inc. 
  • Bobby Johnson, L.J. & Sons Construction 
  • Wilfred Moore, Joy Construction 
  • Duane Perry, Perry Construction Services 
  • Charles Scales, Scales & Associates 
  • Ray Shull, Ekklesia Building Corporation 
  • Gayl Turk, Blaze Contracting 
  • Linda Turner, W3 Construction 
  • Joe Walker, Sr., Original Construction 
  • Isaac Washington, Ben Washington & Sons 
  • Walt Watson, W3 Construction (honored posthumously) 
  • Ernie Williams, Carlette Construction 
  • Jerome Williams, Detroit Ceilings & Partitions 

Other Detroit-defining structures these builders have been instrumental in building include:

  • The original Cobo Hall Expansion,
  • The Detroit People Mover,
  • Cass Technical High School,
  • IRS Detroit Computing Center,
  • MGM Grand Detroit,
  • Greektown and Motor City Casinos, and
  • The Riverfront Apartments

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