Innovative Black Entrepreneur Converts Containers Into Houses and Businesses

Black entrepreneur and innovator, John Bradley converts steel shipping containers into homes and other applications. The Stem Files Tariq Cardiac and Jabrilliant Engineer of Original Man Scientific recently interviewed him. “Because I work with my hands, I live in a house that I built” said Bradley. After reading Booker T. Washington’s  book “Working With The Hands” he was motivated to do just that, and it changed his life. 

Bradley worked with people who had skills and he learned how to be a carpenter, electrician, and truck driver.  He read books and educated himself. “No one can stop you from educating youself” he said. Bradley spent 5 years researching shipping containers, taking classes and tests.  After gaining a good understanding of processes, codes and requirements he started teaching others how to cut, weld and convert shipping containers from start to finish.  

Bradley is currently working with architects at Tuskegee Institute to create designs for a 150 acre container community.  Owning land will be key to creating our homes and community. Bradley feels converting existing shipping containers is more cost effective and environmentally friendly.  Steel shipping containers are more durable material than wood framed construction. While a wood framed structure shell might last 20  or 30 years, ” a container house made from durable steel will last 100 years, and with painting and sanding, it could last 200 years”. 

Bradley has completed various shipping container conversions including a quail house processing 200 birds, a cabin with solar and rain-catching system, and a residential hybrid made of both shipping container and conventional house.  Bradley admits there are issues of ventilation and insullation that need to be addressed because the container is an airtight structure.  John Bradley’s advise is to have skills people need. “Meet people with the skills and knowledge you want to acquire and offer your time”.  For more information go to


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