David Steward: A Man of Faith and Success
People of color have long been an integral component of this country’s history, having helped built it from the foundation all the way to the top. Whether they helped build the infrastructure we use today, like roads, railways, or office buildings, or whether they helped create billion dollar businesses that supply us with technology and other important products, people of color have been crucial to the success of this country as a whole.
Often times, however, we rarely hear about the achievements of people of color, especially the achievements of African Americans. While it is understandable that media outlets and other news agencies avoid “politicizing” the issue by referring to entrepreneurs as “black” or “white,” given the unique history of African Americans in the United States, perhaps, we should single out them out for the intrinsic value that they have brought to this country.
For example, people like David Steward, one of the co-founders of World Wide Technology, Inc., are the exact type of role models young people of color need today in the media. David Steward, growing up in a tumultuous time in American history, had to face a variety of obstacles in his life to reach the stage where he is at today, managing a multibillion-dollar business. Faced with constant racism in his younger years, David Steward persevered and took it upon himself to recognize the potential that he could bring to the world irrespective of the many impediments that were in front of him.
After graduating from Central Missouri State University, Mr. Steward worked with a variety of companies, largely dealing with the transportation industry. After becoming an account executive at a business called “Federal Express,” Mr. Steward acquired a consulting firm called Transportation Business Services which mainly dealt with rate auditing. As time passed on, however, Steward felt as though he had to ensure his business would stay competitive in a cut-throat marketplace. Steward had realized that his problem wasn’t uniquely exclusive to his business, though, instead he realized that “if companies were going to be competitive, they needed someone to show them the integrated technical solutions to their problems.” This eventually led Steward to create World Wide Technology in an attempt to not only keep his business growth potential high but to provide a much-needed service to a fast growing market.
Filling in the void, Steward has provided technological services to the public with the creation of World Wide Technology. Employing over 3,000 people, World Wide Technology has become a prominent game-changer in the technology market raking in over $7.4 billion each year. More specifically, WWT offers businesses technology solutions such as e-business assistance, ERP and Java expertise, document conversion and management services, and system networking for both commercial and government corporations. Some of the major clients that Mr. Steward has dealt with include Eastman Kodak, Ford, Bell Atlantic, Boeing, Southwestern Bell, Mercantile Bank, GTE, and Genelco, as well as the U.S. government.
Besides offering technology solutions to companies, World Wide Technology is also active in many American communities, investing in organizations that help families and children like the United Way, Minority Scholarship Foundation, and the American Red Cross. Mr. Steward is a man of the Christian faith and this has led him to take a leading role in shaping and developing the communities in which we live in today. Combined with his entrepreneurial spirit, his philanthropic work really defines what type of individual he is.
Since its inception in 1990, World Wide Technology has seen some explosive growth. After becoming officially certified in 1992 to take part in the SBA 8(a) program, WWT went from earning $8 million in revenues per year to $135 million in 1997 and then $400 million when Mr. Steward’s firm graduated from the 8(a) program in 1999. His company has seen incredible growth and is expected to maintain this pace for the time being, given that his services are in demand from mega corporations in the United States and the fact that the economic marketplace is becoming highly integrated with technology, something his firm specializes in.
Individuals like David Steward remind us that there are still great people that exist. Creating one of the most successful businesses, not to mention fostering one of the best workplace environments, Mr. Steward stands as a beacon of hope for people of color across America. His story sends a message that perseverance and dedication can take you as far as you let it, just as long as you take the first step in the journey. Because of this attitude that was instilled in him at a young age, despite facing incredible circumstances in his past, Steward is truly living the American Dream.