Breaking Barriers

A black electrician in the making, Khaleel Grandberry is chasing his dreams to the fullest. 

Khaleel became interested in trade because of his older brother, William Patrick, who has his own business. His brother showed Khaleel he too could be an electrician.

Khaleel finally found his calling and it wasn't in Milwaukee.

"Regular school isn't for everybody."

He decided to move to Texas because it "was a growing state" and also because his best friend Chartell Brown, since the third grade, was living there. She had an internship in Texas and was willing to let Khaleel live with her. It was weird at first, but they had a great time together, according to him.

Khaleel took a big risk by moving. For 20 years, he had been living with his parents.

He decided this was the best move for him because Milwaukee didn't have anything to offer him. 

Once Khaleel's mother, Deborah Gordon, found out he wasn't going to school she stopped paying his phone bill. From that point on, Khaleel knew he had to fight for his dream, whether he had support or not.

"People didn't think I could do it," said Khaleel. "They thought I was spoiled."

Khaleel got accepted into a five-year apprenticeship program for engineering and he's loving every second of it. 

Khaleel keeps a close eye on his younger brother, Justin Gordon, and his nieces because he knows they need him in their lives. His father, Joel Gordon, told him "if anything was to happen you're the man of the house," and Khaleel takes that with great pride.

In ten years, Khaleel sees himself owning at least three businesses, not working for anyone, with two kids and maybe married. 

Khaleel is a firm believer in trades because you can never forget how to do a trade. It's not for everybody, but he does want people to at least give it a chance. 

"Nobody ever promotes trade," said Khaleel. "I want to shed light on it."

When Khaleel needs advice he goes to Daniel Byrd, Alex Byrd and Chadrick York--they've been down for Khaleel since his younger days. 

Aside from being an electrician, Khaleel is a hustler. He wants to get into the real estate industry because "a house is always a good investment."

His father taught him the importance of owning land and now that's all he thinks about.

"I've always wanted to own a lot of real estate."

He does struggle from time to time, but he did it. He paid for his own car--with no car note, has his own apartment and he's knee deep into his career.

Khaleel's first engineering project was working at the Facebook Data Center in Forth Worth, TX. 

"I can go pass this building with my kids."

Although he might not have kids now, Khaleel is always thinking of the future. He hopes to pass down a business or trade to his kids, so they won't have to work as hard as him.

Khaleel's not an official electrician yet, but don't doubt him. 

"I definitely proved everyone wrong."