William Winiarski

William Winiarski
  • BS Civil Engineering 1973
William Winiarski came to Michigan Tech because of "its singularity of purpose" - engineering. When he left Tech, he became a singular success, but he never envisioned the accomplishments he achieved.

A native of Chesaning, Michigan, Winiarski graduated from Michigan Tech in 1973 with a bachelor's in civil engineering. College was "tough sledding," he says, but his Tech education prepared him "very well" for the workaday world. "A firm grounding," he points out. "You could take right off." Not long after graduation, he was licensed as a professional engineer and a professional surveyor.

Winiarski started his career at the bottom: working for contractors building expressway projects for the Michigan Department of Transportation. He got to know the world of shovels, jackhammers, and chain saws and worked two shifts a day. "I have an appreciation for physical labor," he says.

He spent the rest of his career at Rowe, Inc., in Flint, a consulting engineering company. He went from manual labor to surveying, worked up the ranks, and ended up the owner and CEO. Under his stewardship, the firm grew from fifty to 125 employees and gained stature. Winiarski's company has been cited twice as "firm of the year" by the American Council of Engineering Companies of Michigan.

While earning those honors, Winiarski loved working with small communities on water and wastewater systems, storm drainage, parks, roads, bridges, and municipal buildings. The road to the boardroom was paved with good quality and earnest solicitude, and Winiarski attributes his success to his involvement in the communities he worked with. He went to council meetings and town festivals. "You can build better projects when you know the businessmen, the leaders, and the community," he says. His abiding guideline, then, was simple and straightforward: "Build good projects in order to get the next job."

Winiarski stepped down as CEO of Rowe, Inc. in 2001 and retired completely in 2007. He is now a marketing principal and consultant.

In his success, he has always remembered his roots, including Tech. He says, "I always went back." He's on the advisory board for the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and a member of the Tech Fund's Board of Trustees.

He and his wife, Anne, also support Tech financially. "I had an enriched life because of Tech," he says. He likes to be involved in "something important - something going in the right direction."

Tech, it appears, must be doing something right, indeed. Winiarski says he hired thirty-five Tech alumni to work at Rowe.

Excerpted from Trustee Link, Michigan Tech Fund/Spring 2008