William “Bill” G. Yates, Jr., chairman of The Yates Cos. Inc., has been named the recipient of ENR Texas & Louisiana’s fourth annual Legacy Award.

This program was added to our annual awards line up in order to recognize industry veterans with many years of experience and long lists of contributions to their profession and community. In choosing this year’s recipients, ENR’s editors weighed several criteria, including each nominee’s history of innovation, outstanding career highlights and an engagement within the industry and the surrounding community.

Yates’ father founded The Yates Cos. in the 1960s, with the younger Yates managing some of the firm’s earliest projects while obtaining his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 1963 and then his juris doctorate degree in 1965. During this time, Yates was also a ROTC cadet and received a commission upon completion of his undergraduate studies. He later became a registered professional engineer and member of the Mississippi Bar.

After serving with the U.S. Army in Europe where he received the Army Commendation Award for outstanding performance and earned the rank of captain, Yates returned in 1967 to become the chief operating officer of W. G. Yates & Sons Construction Co. The Yates father-son construction team was born and continues to this day with Yates serving as Chairman and his son, William G. Yates, III, as president and CEO.

Some of the major projects that The Yates Cos. has completed include the Volvo Manufacturing Facility in Charleston, South Carolina, a 450,000-sq-ft hospital expansion for West Virginia University Healthcare, Beau Rivage Resort and Casino in Biloxi, Miss., and the IP Casino Graving Dock in Biloxi (which was recognized as the 2015 ENR Texas & Louisiana Best Project of the Year).

Beyond the workplace, Yates has taken on a series of voluntary roles in the industry and community, such as the president of the Mississippi chapter of the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), chairman of the University of Mississippi Foundation and president of the Mississippi World Trade Center. He has also mentored numerous individuals within Yates Construction with the mindset that their growth will help continue the positive contributions the company has made to the industry for years to come.

In 1991, Yates was selected as the Mississippi ABC’s Construction Man of the Year, and in 2000, he was inducted into the Ole Miss Alumni Hall of Fame. Yates is also an honorary lifetime board member of The United Methodist Hour.

Yates’ personal mantra, “bigger than me,” has driven the company beyond its regional roots, and over the course of three generations has propelled the firm to become the top ranked contractor in Mississippi, according to ENR Texas & Louisiana’s 2017 Top Contractors ranking.

Join us in honoring Yates at ENR Texas & Louisiana’s 2017 Best Projects luncheon in Houston on October 18. Also, look for an in-depth profile highlighting his career and achievements that will be included in the February 12, 2017 issue of ENR Texas & Louisiana.