Black entrepreneurs Justin Turk and Andre Davis are in the national spotlight after they were named as winners of Pharrell Williams’ Black Ambition prize competition. The duo, who are founders of Livegistics, took home $1 million as prize money.
The initiative by the ‘Happy’ singer seeks to provide a bridge to success for Black and Latinx entrepreneurs who are launching tech, design, healthcare, and consumer products/services start-ups. According to Williams, the inspiration behind the initiative is to give voice to underserved communities. Also, the long-term goal of the initiative is to make entrepreneurship a norm in underserved communities.
Turk and Davis founded Livegistics in 2017 and have since become a major disruptor in the tech space. They founded Livegistics, a cloud-based management firm, to eliminate paper works in heavy civil construction and demolition as well as provide data and metrics construction firms can depend on for efficiency.
“We knew we had something special, but you don’t go in thinking you will walk away with $1 million. But when it happens you are like, ‘Wow, we just won $1 million,'” Turk told CNN.
Turk, who runs the firm as its CEO, has over 20 years of experience in civil engineering and construction management. Turk entered the Black Ambition prize competition to take advantage of every opportunity to grow the business, his intellect, and his resources.
“Winning this competition is bigger than just the prize money. When we first entered the tech start-up world as two Black entrepreneurs, we had no idea how to navigate in this space. Now, we are not only being taught how to navigate, but also to dominate in an industry that just recently decided to grant access to people of color,” Turk said.
“The information, skills, and tools we are being taught will not only help us thrive in our business, but it will break open doors that we never even knew existed. We don’t just want an invite, we want to create the guest list.”
Turk and Davis first met decades ago in elementary school when they were just first years old. They became college roommates at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. Davis later became an accountant. He serves as the CFO of Livegistics. As the co-founder, he has helped structure, develop and position the organization for accelerated exponential growth, according to the company’s website.
Davis grew up as one of the eight children in a single-parent home. He started his career at Ernst & Young LLP before starting his own accounting and financial practice firm to help small businesses thrive. He has a Master’s Degree in Accounting. Davis is married with two children.
Turk, on the other hand, held a role as Vice President and Chief Estimator at one of the largest heavy civil (Minority-Owned) construction companies in Michigan prior to co-founding Livegistics. With Livegistics, Turk is following the footsteps of his father and grandfather who once built the largest minority-owned asphalt paving company in Michigan.
He has a background in both computer science and civil engineering. Turk is married with five children.