The Story Behind Bestselling Author and Construction Project Executive William Licea

How this Ex-Convict Beat The Statistics: The Story Behind Bestselling Author and Construction Project Executive William Licea

Two Million. That’s how many individuals the U.S. prison system houses. With nearly 66% of prisoners re-entering the system within three years of release, 15% serving life sentences, and the loss of basic rights upon release – being sentenced to a federal penitentiary is almost the equivalent of receiving a death sentence. Despite these statistics and facing nearly twenty years in supermax prisons and federal penitentiaries throughout New York, William Licea is proof that statistics can be broken. After nineteen years in prison, William Licea had a second chance at life. A gift that he has made the most of. Now, as a highly successful executive in the commercial construction industry and a bestselling author of his newly released book, From Burning Blocks to Building Blocks, William Licea is determined to share his story which is thoroughly engaging, thought-provoking, and inspiring. Here’s a snapshot of his incredible story.  

Not All Opportunities Are Good 

Growing up in the South Bronx, William’s story started like many others. Raised in poverty, there weren’t a lot of options for him to find his way “out of the gutter.” “I was raised in the gutters… the first opportunity I was handed was a gun and drugs to sell.” Determined to change his circumstances, he took the opportunity. He quickly established himself as a legitimate player in a criminal world, but that kind of success was doomed from the start. In 1992, at the age of eighteen, William Licea found himself serving the beginning of a nineteen-year sentence. Despite the harsh conditions of prison and the bleak outlook on life, William always kept the hope of a brighter future. “I was mentally strong; I also wasn’t afraid to fight.” With this warrior mentality, he was able to survive the entirety of his sentence and earn respect along the way. In addition to his warrior spirit, he gives credit to his mother. “No matter where I found myself, she visited me every chance she could. She never left me.” 

Starting Life at 38 Years Old 

During his time in prison, William Licea had held on to an inward desire to write. At the time, he thought he would write a fictional story about his time in prison, but a desire to accomplish something great kept him from writing down his story. “I always wanted to write, but I felt like needed to accomplish something first… so I kept putting it off.” Although he delayed writing his story, he wasted no time in living it. Immediately following his release from prison, he went right to work. “In 2011, I got a job working in construction earning fifteen dollars an hour.” The job was back-breaking both physically and emotionally, but he kept pushing forward. “You know, I had to swallow my pride and be okay taking orders from some twenty-year-old kid… That was definitely hard to do.” However, swallowing that pill for eight hours beat the alternative – returning to a life in crime. “I had to accept that I was behind in life, but I wasn’t going to stay there.” For the next 12 years, William Licea continued to work his way to the top of his company. Now, as a leading player in New York City skyscraper construction, he is looking to give back to others. 

Give Yourself A Chance 

Since turning his tenacity and warrior spirit from a life in crime to an intense focus on climbing the corporate ladder, William Licea has committed to helping others do the same. William Licea is personally responsible for giving over two hundred individuals a second chance at life. Many of them grew up below the poverty line, are minorities, or former convicts. For him, this is all part of his purpose. “I’ve been blessed and I want to give back.” This is the primary reason that he wrote his now best-selling book. “If I can inspire just one person through my book to not give up and to change their life – it’s worth it.”  

Of course, based on his early success, he is on track to do much more than just inspire one person. With thousands of copies sold (in both English and Spanish) since its release on April 11th, 2023, his book is proving to be something truly special. To all those that are struggling, whether due to bad choices, hard circumstances, or just down on their luck, William’s message is simple. “Be real, stay strong and most importantly, give yourself a chance.” 

In Summary 

William Licea is a construction project executive based in New York. His story is one of extremes. After serving nearly twenty years in federal prison, he rebuilt his life from scratch. Formerly responsible for setting buildings on fire and committing other crimes, he now builds skyscrapers in New York and is passionate about helping others create their success. Whether offering career opportunities to those who need them or inspiring others through his best-selling books “From Burning Blocks to Building Blocks and “Del Ardiente Fuego Al Paraiso,” William Licea is committed to giving back to others. You can view his book on all major retail stores or buy it directly from him on hiswebsite. 


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