Separate water fountains for blacks were common in the South in the 1950s. Marshall Isler III grew up in the Jim Crow South. Despite the social pressure for him to stay in his “place,” Isler forged ahead by obtaining a degree in engineering from Howard University and becoming one of few black officers in the navy at that time. Little did he know, these were just his first steps toward becoming An Unwitting Pioneer. After forgoing a civil service super-grade at 38, Isler joined Parametric, the largest black construction management firm in the country, where he orchestrated a 17 million dollar parking garage development deal with the city of Philadelphia. From there, he entered the world of entrepreneurship, only to find that others expected him to stay in his “place” in business as well. He has spent the last 45 years as a real estate developer of affordable housing pioneering public/private financing. Follow Isler as he breaks boundaries, blazes trails as a black businessman, and finds God in An Unwitting Pioneer.
Marshall Isler III and his wife, Verna, reside in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Marshall is a retired navy commander. He holds a BS in Engineering from Howard University and a master’s degree from George Washington University. He is also a graduate of the Program for Management Development at the Harvard Business School. He has been a Congressional Fellow and a HUD Community Builder Fellow.