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Arthur H. Harper

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Information about Arthur H. Harper

Profile image of Arthur H. Harper

Profession

Category:
BusinessMakers
Occupation(s):
Corporate Chief Executive

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Black
Favorite Food:
Steak
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Maui, Hawaii
Favorite Quote:
Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You.

Birthplace

Born:
12/3/1955
Birth Location:
Trenton, New Jersey

Profession

Category:
BusinessMakers
Occupation(s):
Corporate Chief Executive

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Black
Favorite Food:
Steak
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Maui, Hawaii
Favorite Quote:
Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You.

Birthplace

Born:
12/3/1955
Birth Location:
Trenton
See how Arthur H. Harper is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Arthur Henry "Art" Harper, President and CEO of General Electric (GE) Equipment Services, based in Stamford, Connecticut, was born in Trenton, New Jersey on December 3, 1955 to Eleanor Graham Harper from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a maid, and Joseph Harper from Harlem, New York. Harper received his B.A. degree in chemical engineering from the Stevens Institute of Technology in 1978.

For four years following graduation, Harper worked as a technical sales representative in the Chemical Division of Conoco, Incorporated in Houston, Texas. In 1983, he became a marketing representative for the Polymer Products Department of the DuPont Corporation. Harper joined GE Plastics in 1984 as a market development and aerospace specialist and as the aircraft application program manager. He was appointed to the position of district sales manager for GE Silicones in Brea, California in 1987, and was named as manager of the Plastics plant in Oxnard in 1991. In 1992, Harper was put in charge of crystalline materials in Pittsfield, Massachusetts and in 1994, became head of the LEXAN® (polycarbonate resin, a high performance plastic) business. In 1996, he served as president of GE Plastics of Greater China. Harper was then appointed Vice President of Global Manufacturing for GE Plastics in Bergen Op Zoom, the Netherlands in 1998. In May 2000, he became President and Senior Managing Director for GE Plastics Europe.

At GE Equipment Services, Harper headed one of four separate divisions formed when GE Capital split into four different corporate units in 2002. Harper oversaw GE Plastics Europe, Middle East, India, and Africa and GE’s SeaCo, a venture with Sea Containers, an international marine containers dealer. Additionally, Harper was a member of GE's Corporate Executive Council. In December of 2005, Harper retired from GE and started his own private equity firm called NexGen Capital Partners.

Harper received the Black Achievers in Industry Award in 1994 and the Career Achievement Award at Stevens Institute of Technology in 1998. He received the Social Justice Hero Award from the Fairfield County Region National Conference for Community and Justice, and the Whitney M. Young, Jr. Service Award from the Boy Scouts of America Greater New York Councils in 2004. Additionally, he is a member of the Executive Committee of GE's African American Forum and serves as Chair of the Stamford Commission on Education Achievement. He is also a board member of the Yerwood Center, a non-profit community center in Stamford, Connecticut.

Harper passed away on September 19, 2017, at age 61.

See how Arthur H. Harper is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Arthur H. Harper's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Arthur H. Harper lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Arthur H. Harper describes his maternal family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Arthur H. Harper describes her paternal family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Arthur H. Harper talks about his father's experiences with discrimination in the U.S. Navy
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Arthur H. Harper describes his first childhood memory
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Arthur H. Harper recalls his first experiences with racism and bullying
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Arthur H. Harper describes his childhood neighborhood in Pleasantville, New Jersey
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Arthur H. Harper describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood in Pleasantville, New Jersey
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Arthur H. Harper remembers his principal from Farmington Elementary School in Pleasantville, New Jersey
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Arthur H. Harper describes his childhood personality and activities
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Arthur H. Harper describes his younger brother
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Arthur H. Harper remembers childhood road trips to see his grandmother in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Arthur H. Harper describes his relationship with his brother growing up
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Arthur H. Harper remembers Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s death
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Arthur H. Harper talks about attending predominately African American junior high and high schools in Pleasantville, New Jersey
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Arthur H. Harper recalls his growing awareness of racism and discrimination as a youth
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Arthur H. Harper describes his childhood community in Pleasantville, New Jersey
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Arthur H. Harper talks about being raised in the Muslim faith
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Arthur H. Harper describes his parents' conversion to the Nation of Islam and its impact on him
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Arthur H. Harper explains why he left the Nation of Islam
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Arthur H. Harper talks about misperceptions of the Muslim faith
  • Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Arthur H. Harper describes what he admired about Muslim leaders Elijah Muhammad and Malcolm X
  • Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Arthur H. Harper describes his high school experiences
  • Tape: 2 Story: 14 - Arthur H. Harper reflects upon the source of his anger growing up
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Arthur H. Harper talks about adjusting to integration at his overcrowded high school
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Arthur H. Harper talks about the kind of student he was at Absegami High School in Galloway, New Jersey
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Arthur H. Harper talks about his sports activities in high school
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Arthur H. Harper talks about his journey of self-discovery as a teenager
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Arthur H. Harper remembers his motivations in high school
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Arthur H. Harper recalls meeting a chemical engineer from The Boeing Company as a teenager
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Arthur H. Harper talks about his decision to attend Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Arthur H. Harper recalls getting into a fight on his first day at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Arthur H. Harper talks about how college transformed his outlook
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Arthur H. Harper talks about the lack of diversity at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey
  • Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Arthur H. Harper talks about how working as a chemical engineer at a plant in Monaca, Pennsylvania inspired his interest in business
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Arthur H. Harper explains how his activities at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey helped his career
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Arthur H. Harper shares an anecdote about a job rejection
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Arthur H. Harper talks about his decision to work for Continental Oil Company in Southern California
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Arthur H. Harper remembers lessons from his mentor at Continental Oil Company
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Arthur H. Harper shares lessons he learned about quality customer service
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Arthur H. Harper talks about selling specialty chemicals to top car companies in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Arthur H. Harper talks about leaving Continental Oil Company after E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company's acquisition of it
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Arthur H. Harper talks about his transition to working in sales at GE Plastics
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Arthur H. Harper recalls his first impressions of General Electric
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Arthur H. Harper describes his impressions of Jack Welch and Lee Iacocca
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Arthur H. Harper talks about learning to navigate through corporate America as an African American
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Arthur H. Harper talks about the beginning of the African American Forum at General Electric
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Arthur H. Harper talks about the why Jack Welch started the diversity meetings and African American Forum at General Electric
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Arthur H. Harper talks about his promotion to district sales manager at General Electric in 1987
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Arthur H. Harper talks about his strategies to advance in his career
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Arthur H. Harper talks about the importance of networking and exceeding expectations
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Arthur H. Harper shares his management philosophy
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Arthur H. Harper details his approach to managing
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Arthur H. Harper explains his business philosophy of rhythm and rigor
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Arthur H. Harper shares his thoughts about operating a business effectively
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Arthur H. Harper talks about working with Jeffrey R. Immelt at General Electric
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Arthur H. Harper talks about the history of specialized plastics development at General Electric
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Arthur H. Harper talks about accepting jobs at General Electric that helped him grow his desired skills
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Arthur H. Harper recalls a period of transition and growth for plastics at General Electric
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Arthur H. Harper talks about encountering existing racial and community tensions at the Lexan manufacturing plant in Burkville, Alabama
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Arthur H. Harper talks about his community outreach with General Electric in Burkville, Alabama
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Arthur H. Harper talks about his promotion to president of GE Plastics Greater China
  • Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Arthur H. Harper talks about giving back to the community with his wife
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Arthur H. Harper reflects on becoming president of GE Plastics Greater China
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Arthur H. Harper talks about General Electric's history and growth in China
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Arthur H. Harper talks about learning to adapt his management and communication style in China
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Arthur H. Harper explains the cultural differences in business settings between the United States, Asia and Europe
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Arthur L. Harper talks about cross-cultural exchanges while president of GE Plastics Greater China
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Arthur H. Harper talks about his business mentorship philosophy
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Arthur H. Harper talks about becoming vice president of global manufacturing of GE Plastics in the Netherlands
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Arthur H. Harper remembers obstacles with opening a new plant for GE Plastics in Cartagena, Spain.
  • Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Arthur H. Harper remembers receiving encouragement from Jack Welch to solve a problem at General Electric's plant in Cartagena, Spain
  • Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Arthur H. Harper talks about leadership lessons learned from the General Electric plant crisis in Cartagena, Spain, pt. 1
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Arthur H. Harper talks about leadership lessons learned from the General Electric plant crisis in Cartagena, Spain, pt. 2
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Arthur H. Harper talks about becoming president and senior managing director for GE Plastics in Europe in 2000
  • Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Arthur H. Harper remembers preparing for Y2K and advancing at General Electric
  • Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Arthur H. Harper talks about the importance of staying in contact with General Electric's United States headquarters while working overseas
  • Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Arthur H. Harper talks about becoming CEO and president of equipment management for General Electric
  • Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Arthur H. Harper talks about the diverse businesses of General Electric
  • Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Arthur H. Harper explains his responsibilities as president and CEO of General Electric Equipment Services
  • Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Arthur H. Harper talks about staying competitive in the business market
  • Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Arthur H. Harper talks about his accomplishments as CEO and president of General Electric Equipment Management
  • Tape: 8 Story: 10 - Arthur H. Harper describes former CEO of General Electric, Jack Welch
  • Tape: 8 Story: 11 - Arthur H. Harper talks about Jeffrey R. Immelt taking over as CEO at General Electric
  • Tape: 8 Story: 12 - Arthur H. Harper reflects upon advances and continuing challenges for African Americans in corporate America
  • Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Arthur H. Harper talks about the place of African Americans in a global context, pt. 1
  • Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Arthur H. Harper talks about the place of African Americans in a global context, pt. 2
  • Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Arthur H. Harper describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Arthur H. Harper shares his advice for young African Americans pursuing a career in business
  • Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Arthur H. Harper talks about his future plans
  • Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Arthur H. Harper talks about his parents
  • Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Arthur H. Harper reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Arthur H. Harper narrates his photograph