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Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr.

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Information about Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr.

Profile image of Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr.

Profession

Category:
MediaMakers
Occupation(s):
Investment Chief Executive

Favorites

Favorite Color:
None
Favorite Food:
Chicken
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Charleston, South Carolina
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
1/9/1942
Birth Location:
Boston, Massachusetts

Profession

Category:
MediaMakers
Occupation(s):
Investment Chief Executive

Favorites

Favorite Color:
None
Favorite Food:
Chicken
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Charleston, South Carolina
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
1/9/1942
Birth Location:
Boston
See how Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

While other investors cursed the dot-com bust in the late 1990s, business executive Herb Wilkins amassed a fortune. Born to Katherine and William Wilkins in Boston on January 9, 1942, Wilkins has accumulated his riches by tapping into minority businesses in the communication industry as managing general partner of Syncom Capital Corporation.

Wilkins attended public school in his hometown of Boston. After receiving his bachelor's degree from Boston University in 1965, Wilkins graduated from the Harvard School of Business in 1970 and began a long, successful career in finance and management consulting. Wilkins operated his own consulting company, Wilkins & Company, from 1975 to 1977, before taking over as president of Syndicated Communications in Washington, D.C. He served in that capacity through 1989 before taking posts as managing general partner of Syncom Capital and president of Syncom Management Company.

With Syncom, Wilkins developed a profitable strategy of investing in communications companies that targeted inner-city neighborhoods. The corporation's long-term investment in Radio One, a black company that was the fastest-growing radio broadcasting company in 2000, paid tremendous dividends when the corporate stock went public in 1999. Syncom's assets reached $150 million and Wilkins' net worth topped the $75 million mark. Wilkins also served as director of BET Holdings, the parent company of Black Entertainment Television.

In addition to his business positions, Wilkins has served on the boards of several companies and organizations geared toward minority broadcasting and communication. He worked as director of the National Association of Minorities in Cable TV and also was head of Chicago Cable Television. For his efforts to support rising minority communication companies, Wilkins has received several honors and awards and was named to the FCC's Advance Committee on Minority Ownership in 1984. Wilkins is married to Sheran R. Wlikins and has three children.

Herbert Wilkins, Sr. passed away on December 3, 2013.

See how Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr.'s interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. talks about his maternal grandmother and the summer camp she ran in New Hampshire
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. talks about his mother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. talks about his father
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. talks about having an enlarged heart as a child
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up and moving to the Mission Hill projects in Boston, Massachusetts
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. talks about getting beat up and the gang wars in the Mission Hill projects in Boston, Massachusetts
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. talks about the local black gang, the Emperors, from the South End neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. talks about his favorite teachers in grade school
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. talks about his experience at Boston Technical High School in Boston, Massachusetts
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. talks about working as a machinist after graduating from Boston Technical High School
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. talks his experience at Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. talks about returning to Boston, Massachusetts and graduating from Boston University
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. describes his interview for Harvard Business School in Boston, Massachusetts
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. talks about the rigor and intensity of Harvard Business School in Boston, Massachusetts
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. talks about graduating from Harvard Business School in Boston, Massachusetts
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. talks about entering the venture capital sphere
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. talks about the black middle-class' aversion to financial risk
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. describes the type of people he wants to finance
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. gives an example of a successful and an unsuccessful businessperson he worked with during his career
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. describes Syncom's investment strategy and the firm's return on investment
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. lists some of Syncom's successful ventures and describes Syncom's largest investment, Iridium Satellite
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. details the amount of money he made on his best investment
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. talks about the process of making money, when to exit a deal, and shares his advice for young people entering the venture capital sphere
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. talks about his hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. describes how he would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. talks about changes in Federal Communications Commission regulations and Motorola's failed Iridium Satellite business
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Slating of Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr.'s interview, session two
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. reconsiders his favorites
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. describes his mother's values
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. lists his siblings, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. lists his siblings, pt. 2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. talks about working at a hotel in Boston, Massachusetts during high school
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. talks about moving to the Mission Hills projects and working as a jump boy on a news truck
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. talks about learning to be a master painter from his father
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. states that he never attended the camp his grandmother ran
  • Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. describes his earliest memories of his grade school years
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. talks about his activities and his academic interests at Boston Technical High School in Boston, Massachusetts
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. talks about the death of his best friend in high school
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. talks about his experience at Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. talks about pledging Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity in Boston, Massachusetts
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. lists the jobs he held between graduating from college in 1965 and entering business school in 1968
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. describes his experience at Harvard Business School in Boston, Massachusetts
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. talks about entering the venture capital sphere and joining Urban National Corporation
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. describes the type of deals and investments that he worked on at Urban National Corporation
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. describes the differences between his investment strategy and Urban National Corporation's investment strategy
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. talks about working for Lucas, Tucker & Company and operating his own consulting firm, Wilkins & Company
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. explains how he was recruited to manage Syncom, a venture capital firm investing in minority telecommunication businesses
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. talks about Syncom's initial investment strategy for FM radio stations
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. talks about the process of licensing FM and AM radio stations
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. talks about some of Syncom's early FM radio station deals
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. talks about an unsuccessful investment in a radio station in Phoenix, Arizona
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. talks about financing HistoryMakers Cathy Hughes' purchase of WOL-AM in 1980 and WMMJ-FM in 1987
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. talks about advising HistoryMaker Cathy Hughes and the business savvy of HistoryMaker Alfred Liggins
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. talks about Radio One's initial public offering in 1999
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. talks about Jimmy Miller and Syncom's investment in Miller's radio station in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. talks about African American-owned cable franchises in 1980s
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. talks about Syncom's successful investment in a cable company in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. talks about the politics involved in cable franchises and winning the franchise for a cable system in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. talks about the HistoryMaker Terry Jones and Duane McKnight, who form the core management team of Syncom
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. considers Syncom's success focusing its investment in the telecommunications industry
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. talks about the formation of NAMIC and differing philosophies between minority cable entrepreneurs
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. talks about Robert L. Johnson's idea for BET, Black Entertainment Television
  • Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. talks about HistoryMaker Pluria Marshall, Sr.
  • Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. talks about other minority venture capital firms, known as MESBICs, Minority Enterprise Small Business Investment Companies
  • Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. describes how he raised money for Syncom and formed Syndicated Communications Partners
  • Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. talks about investing in Buenavision Telecommunications
  • Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. recalls one of Robert L. "Bob" Johnson's meetings with J.C. Sparkman
  • Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. talks about his investment in the unsuccessful magazine Emerge
  • Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. mentions John C. Malone and Peter R. Barton
  • Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. talks about a cable system deal he mismanaged
  • Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. describes how Syncom financed World Space, which became XM Satellite Radio
  • Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. talks about investing in Iridium Satellite phones
  • Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. talks about his profitable investment in Private Networks
  • Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. talks about the areas of growth in radio and cable and where the telecommunications industry is going next
  • Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. reflects upon Syncom's role in growing the minority communications sector
  • Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. talks about arranging capital to finance Iridium and fighting with the Small Business Administration
  • Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. talks about getting the last investor for his fund, Syncom II
  • Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. talks about Minority Enterprise Small Business Investment Companies (MESBICs) and the Small Business Administration, pt. 1
  • Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. talks about Minority Enterprise Small Business Investment Companies (MESBICs) and the Small Business Administration pt. 2
  • Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. explains his decision to retire
  • Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr. talks about his hopes for his family