Remembering community leader Wallace White

June 23, 2022

Born ~ May 28, 1933 • Departed ~ June 11, 2022

Wallace White

Wallace White, a long-standing community leader, passed away on Saturday, June 11, 2022, after a long illness. He was born on May 28, 1933, to George Cornelius White and Janet White in Chicago, IL. Wallace spent his childhood in Chicago and later went on to further his education earning a BA in social psychology from Roosevelt University in Chicago and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Southern California.

He was a proud American and served in the United States Army. He often wore a lapel pin of the United States flag. He told stories of how he had to fight his way up the ranks even there.

He began his early career as a sociologist, working as a community organizer in the city of Chicago and specializing in inner-city youth and gang violence reduction. He continued his work with the community as the Executive Director of the Concentrated Employment Program (CEP) in Gary, IN, where he worked as a cabinet member for Mayor Richard Hatcher developing programs for underserved communities. He was also instrumental in securing federal funding to run those programs. White went on to serve as a cabinet member for other mayoral administrations and was a key part of several mayoral election campaigns. His positions included Chief Administrative Officer for Mayor Kenneth A. Gibson in Newark, NJ, and Director of the Department of Public Works for Mayor Marion Barry in Washington, D.C. After his work in Washington, D.C., White was sought after internationally, from as far away as Japan, for his knowledge of then state-of-the-art wastewater treatment plant management. It was then that White moved to Milwaukee, where he became the first African American Director of the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) and later served as MMSD Commissioner and Chairman. In each of his leadership roles, he supported the inclusion of local and minority owned businesses, helping to provide opportunities for workforce and small business development.

White spent the remainder of his career in the private sector. He was Vice President of Jacobs Engineering Group (formerly Sverdrup), one of the world’s largest and most successful scientific, technical, engineering and construction management and consulting firms. After his career as a senior-level public administrator and corporate executive, White used his entrepreneurial spirit to launch and run two local businesses. He acquired and managed Vaporized Coatings, an industrial powder coating service, and founded W2 Excel, LLC, a business administration consulting firm, and served as its CEO.

White lived in Milwaukee for more than three decades and was a servant leader in the truest sense. He led with integrity, excellence, and compassion, always giving of himself to better the lives of others¬—particularly the underserved in the African American community. During his 33 years in Milwaukee, White served as Board Member and Program Chair for the Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board (MAWIC), Chairman of the African American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Milwaukee, a member of the Executive Committee of the Community Brainstorming Conference, Captain of the Bradley Estates Neighborhood Organization, a member of the Bayshore Town Center Community Advisory Board, and was an adjunct professor at Cardinal Stritch University.

White leaves behind his loving wife: Sandra (Robinson) White, his children: Marc White (Carla), Alissa Waters (Devagus), Camille Williams (Damone), Toni Jackson (Willie), Darryl White (Carolyn), Gary White (Sonya), Terry White (Deborah), Ramon Robinson; his 24 loving grandchildren, twenty-nine great-grandchildren and a host of other relatives and friends.

A memorial service for Wallace White will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, July 9th at New Testament Church located at 10201 West Bradley Road, Milwaukee, WI 53224, where White was a member.

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