Building a legacy one project at a time

Building a legacy one project at a time
January 18
13:11 2018

Construction runs in the family for William Cockerham Jr.

His grandfather, Paul “Cliff” Cockerham, was the first African American business owner in segregated Davie County in 1959. At a young age, Cockerham worked on construction sites under both his grandfather and father, William Cockerham Sr. They specialized in concrete work, but Cockerham said he also got the chance to do drywall and framing.

“It was something that our grandfather always instilled in us at a young age, ‘You guys need to learn a trade so you can provide for your family,’” said Cockerham.

He ended up wanting to do more than just concrete. He wanted to be a general contractor who oversees construction from beginning to end, ensuring the quality of subcontractor work and that it meets the project’s deadlines.

In 2006, at the age of 24, he started WC Construction Company, LLC. His grandfather got to see him get his general contractor’s license before he passed away in 2007. His father actually worked for WC Construction before he passed away from cancer in 2010. Neither got to see the business grow into what it is today, which Cockerham said his father and grandfather would’ve been proud of.

“The torch has kind of been passed on to me to continuously carry out the legacy that grandfather and father left around,” said Cockerham.

WC Construction is located in Winston-Salem and has done work in North and South Carolina. Some of its local projects includes the newly completed $2.09 million Fire Station 8 on Reynolda Road and the $1.28 million Sedge Garden Recreation Center gymnasium, which were 2014 city bond projects. The company also did the Deese Clock Tower at N.C. A&T State University, which won it a Pinnacle Award from Carolinas AGC, a trade association made of contractors and construction-related firms. WC Construction did sub-contracting work on the Donald Julian Reeves Student Activity Center at Winston-Salem State University and the railroad pedestrian underpass at UNC Greensboro, both of which won Star Awards from the Construction Professionals Network (CPN) of North Carolina.

Cockerham said his company often does general contracting for local governments and public universities. This means he ends up going through a bidding processing and having to meet Minority/Woman Business Enterprise (M/WBE) goals for sub-contractor participation. He said it isn’t easy meeting the goals, but said he’s glad they’re there.

“I speak for myself, we done a lot of subcontracting work early on the front end, just to kind of get exposure, and us being able to get on those projects as participation level allowed us to be able to get a lot more exposure and experience at the same time to be able to grow our company,” he said about his company.

Cockerham is a married father of two children and his wife, Alesia, is vice president and CFO of WC Construction. He said he sees his company, which currently has 15 employees, continuing to expand and grow so he can leave a legacy of his own behind.

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Todd Luck

Todd Luck

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