New Ferndale structural engineering firm got start in Afghanistan

Joseph LaVere has long harbored ambitions of being his own boss, so the Metro Detroiter went to Afghanistan last year to develop his own structural engineering business, LaVere Structural Consulting, then returned to Ferndale this year.

LaVere, 29, worked for a number of engineering firms around town before seeing an advertisement in a trade publication seeking structural engineers to work as independent contractors in Afghanistan. The young man jumped at the opportunity to assess the structural integrity of schools and other government buildings against potential earthquakes in a U.S.-designated war zone.

“This was an opportunity to do something interesting for a little while,” LaVere says. “It also gave me the seed money to go out on my own.”

He opened his one-man operation, LaVere Structural Consulting, in February. It specializes in a broad range of structural engineering work for everyone from construction project managers to architects doing both renovation work and new building.

LaVere plans to spend his first year establishing the company and building a customer base. He hopes it will play a part in Metro Detroit’s rebounding economy.

“I know things are bad, but I don’t expect them to stay bad,” LaVere says.

Source: Joseph LaVere, principal of LaVere Structural Consulting
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit’s growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.

A version of this story previously appeared in Metromode.