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Cordell Reed

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Information about Cordell Reed

Profile image of Cordell Reed

Profession

Category:
BusinessMakers
Occupation(s):
Energy Executive

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Red
Favorite Food:
Pizza
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Orlando, Florida
Favorite Quote:
God Is Good.

Birthplace

Born:
3/26/1938
Birth Location:
Chicago, Illinois

Profession

Category:
BusinessMakers
Occupation(s):
Energy Executive

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Red
Favorite Food:
Pizza
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Orlando, Florida
Favorite Quote:
God Is Good.

Birthplace

Born:
3/26/1938
Birth Location:
Chicago
See how Cordell Reed is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Energy expert Cordell Reed was born on March 26, 1938 in Chicago, Illinois to Carrie Bell and Clevon Reed. He grew up in a south side housing project and moved on to a remarkable career in Chicago's corporate and civic communities.

Earning a B.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in 1960, Reed became the third African American with that degree from UIUC. He went to work for Illinois electric company Commonwealth Edison (ComEd). He worked his way up through the ranks and became an executive in 1975, acting as a public spokesman for nuclear power as well as a department manager. Reed was promoted to senior vice president, serving in three separate departments. In 1994, he became ComEd's ethics officer and the chief diversity officer in addition to maintaining responsibility for purchasing materials for the corporation's 10 fossil fuel-fired energy-generating plants. Reed represented ComEd in a 1995 trade mission to South Africa before retiring in 1997.

The Black Engineer of the Year Awards honored Reed with a "Lifetime Achievement" award in 1988 and the American Nuclear Society bestowed the Tommy Thompson Award on him in 1993. He has also been active in corporate America, serving on the board of directors for LaSalle Bank, the Walgreen Company, Underwriters Laboratories and Washington Group International. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, engineering honor society Tau Beta Pi, the National Technical Association and the Urban Financial Service Association as well as a fellow of the American Nuclear Society. Other civic organizations that have benefited from his leadership include the John G. Shedd Aquarium, the Illinois Academic Decathlon Association, Cal-Met Village Senior Citizen Housing, the Development Fund for Black Students and the Metropolitan Family Services Advisory Board. Reed and his wife Bernice have five adult children: Derrick, Brian, Steven, Michael and Barry.

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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Cordell Reed's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Cordell Reed lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Cordell Reed describes his father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Cordell Reed describes his father
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Cordell Reed describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Cordell Reed describes his parents' relationship
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Cordell Reed describes how his parents met
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Cordell Reed describes growing up in the Ida B. Wells Homes in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Cordell Reed describes the sights and sounds of his childhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Cordell Reed describes the smells of his childhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Cordell Reed recalls taking family trips as a youth
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Cordell Reed describes growing up with his older brother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Cordell Reed talks about the elementary school teachers that influenced him
  • Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Cordell Reed talks about attempts made to cure his childhood asthma
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Cordell Reed talks about having asthma as a child
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Cordell Reed describes the times of his asthma attacks
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Cordell Reed describes his childhood personality
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Cordell Reed describes his childhood interests and activities
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Cordell Reed describes how he learned of Tilden Technical High School
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Cordell Reed talks about his high school friends
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Cordell Reed describes attending Tilden Technical High School
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Cordell Reed describes how Tilden Technical High School changed over time
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Cordell Reed describes why he attended Metropolitan Community Church as a youth
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Cordell Reed describes the role of Metropolitan Community Church in his youth
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Cordell Reed describes his contributions to Metropolitan Community Church
  • Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Cordell Reed describes Metropolitan Community Church
  • Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Cordell Reed describes his motivation to attend college
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Cordell Reed describes attending the University of Illinois-Chicago
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Cordell Reed describes what shaped his work ethic
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Cordell Reed describes what motivated him to study engineering
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Cordell Reed describes how he was hired to work for Commonwealth Edison in 1960
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Cordell Reed describes his first year working for Commonwealth Edison
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Cordell Reed talks about how he lived in two worlds throughout his career
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Cordell Reed talks about the first black engineers to work for Commonwealth Edison
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Cordell Reed describes his experiences working as a black engineer for Commonwealth Edison during the 1960s
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Cordell Reed considers why his white colleagues supported him during the 1960s
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Cordell Reed describes how his technical engineering work prepared him for his corporate career, pt. 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Cordell Reed describes how his technical engineering work prepared him for his corporate career, pt. 2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Cordell Reed talks about being a spokesperson during the developmental years of the nuclear power industry
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Cordell Reed describes how Commonwealth Edison became involved in the nuclear power industry
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Cordell Reed compares nuclear power to alternate energy sources
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Cordell Reed describes how the nuclear power industry lost its credibility
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Cordell Reed describes how nuclear waste is disposed
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Cordell Reed comments on the safety of nuclear power
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Cordell Reed talks about the viability of nuclear power
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Cordell Reed describes how being involved in the controversy surrounding nuclear power shaped his corporate success
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Cordell Reed describes what leads to success in the field of nuclear engineering
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Cordell Reed describes his growth at Commonwealth Edison in the 1970s
  • Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Cordell Reed describes how he became Vice President and Chief Nuclear Officer of Commonwealth Edison
  • Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Cordell Reed reflects upon his corporate success
  • Tape: 4 Story: 13 - Cordell Reed comments on the challenges of upward mobility in Corporate America
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Cordell Reed describes how the oil embargo of 1974 affected the electric and nuclear energy industries
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Cordell Reed describes how Commonwealth Edison's criteria for selecting leaders has evolved from the 1960s to the 1990s
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Cordell Reed describes how his race shaped his success at Commonwealth Edison
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Cordell Reed describes what he learned as Chief Diversity Officer at Commonwealth Edison
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Cordell Reed talks about his civic involvement
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Cordell Reed talks about serving on corporate boards of directors
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Cordell Reed describes how his community ties prevented him from moving to the suburbs
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Cordell Reed describes the programs and services offered by Metropolitan Community Church
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Cordell Reed talks about the significance of his black identity
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Cordell Reed shares his hopes and concerns for the African American community, pt.1
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Cordell Reed shares his hopes and concerns for the African American community, pt. 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Cordell Reed comments on the contemporary challenges for blacks in Corporate America
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Cordell Reed shares his concerns for the future of the power industry
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Cordell Reed comments on corporate responsibility
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Cordell Reed talks about his legacy
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Cordell Reed comments on his decision to retire as Vice President of Commonwealth Edison in 1997
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Cordell Reed talks about embracing life
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Cordell Reed narrates his photographs