Proving Ground is one of the most inspiring stories of hope, determination, and achievement we have ever read. David Tarver’s amazing journey epitomizes the American Dream. His story is full of wisdom and inspiration, and is a must read for anyone thinking of starting a business.”

Beatrice Mitchell and Paul Sperry, co-founders, Sperry Mitchell and Company Investment Bankers, and co-authors, The Complete Guide to Selling Your Business


David Tarver’s Proving Ground is at once a great American success story and a surprisingly revealing exploration of the subtle—and not so subtle—challenges faced by a black man determined to succeed in the largely white, never color-blind, corporate world…That Tarver—an electrical engineer, inventor and founder CEO of a breakthrough engineering firm—prevails and ultimately builds a flourishing company is a tribute to his intelligence, focus, drive, and determination to solve all kinds of problems as they arise. More than a primer for would-be entrepreneurs, or a rousing Horatio Alger yarn—although it is both—Proving Ground offers a memorable ride around a corporate track whose curves and bumps demonstrate how racism can undermine even the most talented among us. It’s a riveting read for any American with a dream to succeed or an interest in better understanding the nuances of inequal opportunity in post-civil rights era America.”

Laura Berman, Detroit News columnist


I found [Proving Ground] captivating. This book is about pursuing a dream. It offers a remarkably personal account of David Tarver, beginning with a family history rooted in slavery and a migration from Georgia to Michigan. David’s success is a reminder that, even in an imperfect America, education and perseverance trump all.”

David C. Munson Jr., PhD, Robert J. Vlasic Dean of Engineering, University of Michigan


In a world deplete of adequate role models, W. David Tarver’s book Proving Ground provides an inescapable, exciting journey into the world of the relatively young entrepreneur…Indeed, this memoir serves as a revolutionary catalyst for hope and change in a society boasting freedom and justice for all. The sheer magic of details, events, near catastrophes and final, positive accomplishments will keep the reader glued to every page.”

Dr. Donald D. Warner, former Chief Schools Administrator, Red Bank (NJ) Regional Public Schools


I have never read a book that better describes entrepreneurship in the context of race, cultural and market forces that shape lives in often unpredictable fashion.”

Thomas H. Zurbuchen, PhD, Associate Dean for Entrepreneurial Programs, College of Engineering, University of Michigan


In his remarkable career, David Tarver has achieved successes as an engineer, creative thinker, and businessman. Along the way, he confronted—and surmounted—obstacles that would have derailed a person without his drive, resilience, and integrity. To his many accomplishments, David Tarver now adds the legacy of his memoir, Proving Ground, a wise, inspiring story told with candor and poignancy, the story of a man who simply would not be denied.”

Bill Haney, Founder, Momentum Books, and former Associate Director and Managing Editor, University of Michigan Press


What amazes me is the author’s ability to pick himself up, dust himself off and, when necessary, start all over again. This memoir is filled with hope and forgiveness, both for others and ultimately for the author himself.”

Marion Landew, New York University School of Continuing and Professional Studies


“[Proving Ground] is a thrilling endorsement of the America that I believe in.”

Dr. Robert M. Rechnitz, Founder / Executive Producer, Two River Theater Company