Q & A with alumnus George White Jr.
Get to know our alumni, and you’ll discover what UMKC is all about.
George White Jr., ’13
Job title: Proposal Manager, Black & Veatch Power Generation Services Group
Program: Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering
School: School of Computing and Engineering
Hometown: Kansas City, Missouri
What was your favorite thing about UMKC?
I was able to go to school right where the internships and jobs were. If you go to networking functions as a student, you’re going to meet people who could potentially give you a job – that was huge for me.
How did you choose engineering?
I have always enjoyed science. I am naturally curious about how things work. Engineering provides a great quality of life and a vast amount of work opportunities.
Were you the first person in your family to attend college?
Yes. My parents didn’t know anything about FAFSA or financial aid. They were there, but I had to figure a lot of that stuff out on my own. Now I can help my cousins and other people coming behind me. I hope I started a trend – my younger brother graduated college after me and my older sister is in classes right now.
What did you learn about yourself at UMKC?
I learned quite a bit about leadership at UMKC. A lot of my blood, sweat and tears went into the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). I got to build a program for area middle and high school students where they could learn about engineering. The next year I stepped up into the role of vice president, participated in setting the strategic plan and mentored our younger members.
What is your favorite memory of UMKC?
It wasn’t necessarily fun at the time, but I always remember the group of folks that would get together and study for finals. We were pretty close and we all came from different places. I see UMKC as a little non-traditional, in that there are a lot of older students and it’s in the middle of a city. People from all different backgrounds made for a really good blend.
Do you have any advice for students entering UMKC?
Get involved and enjoy your time as a student. I thought a lot about graduating and getting a job and all that kind of stuff. That’s great, obviously – a paycheck and doing what you went to school for – but try to enjoy the small moments with your peers or in student clubs or in class. That’s what you look back on and treasure.
Tell us about your current position.
I’m in proposals management at Black & Veatch. I work internally with project managers, our sales team and subject-matter experts to respond to clients and bring in business.
How does your UMKC education help you in your day-to-day work?
The classes at UMKC were excellent in building a foundation in the engineering world, but I think the student organizations were the most influential thing. For students just getting to campus, I’d say definitely get involved, and get really involved. You get out of it what you put into it.
What is one word that best describes you and why?
Ambitious. I do my best to utilize all of the time that I am given here on this earth. I occupy my time by working for Black & Veatch, mentoring my little brother with the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, serving as a member of the Centurions Leadership Program, helping lead the Black & Veatch Christmas in October volunteer program, running a plumbing company and being the best husband, son, brother, uncle and friend I can be.
What are your goals for the future?
I’d like to get my professional engineering license within the next couple years. Only a professional engineer can stamp, seal and approve a blueprint for a building. You become a professional engineer by sitting through an exam after you’ve worked as an engineer-in-training for four years.
Do you have a motto you live by?
Push yourself to be uncomfortable, because that’s when you grow. It’s not fun all the time, but it’s true.