The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral History Collection Mobile search icon Mobile close search icon
Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon

Rodney Adkins

Share on Social Media

Information about Rodney Adkins

Profile image of Rodney Adkins

Profession

Category:
ScienceMakers
Occupation(s):
Electrical Engineer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Green
Favorite Food:
Seafood, Clams
Favorite Time of Year:
Christmas, New Years
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Miami Beach, Florida
Favorite Quote:
We're Moving Forward And We're Moving Fast.

Birthplace

Born:
8/23/1958
Birth Location:
Louisville, Georgia

Profession

Category:
ScienceMakers
Occupation(s):
Electrical Engineer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Green
Favorite Food:
Seafood, Clams
Favorite Time of Year:
Christmas, New Years
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Miami Beach, Florida
Favorite Quote:
We're Moving Forward And We're Moving Fast.

Birthplace

Born:
8/23/1958
Birth Location:
Louisville
See how Rodney Adkins is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Corporate executive and computer engineer Rodney Adkins was born on August 23, 1958, in Miami, Florida, to Archie and Wauneta Adkins. He attended Miami Jackson High School where he graduated in 1976 as valedictorian. In 1981, Adkins graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology with his B.S. degree in electrical engineering. He then received his B.A. degree in physics from Rollins College in 1982, and an M.S. degree in electrical engineering in 1983 from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Adkins began working at International Business Machines (IBM) in 1981 as a test engineer. In 1986, he was promoted to manager of special component engineering. In the early 1990s, Adkins helped to develop the IBM ThinkPad, one of the first laptop computers, and a frequent winner of design awards following its launch in 1992. In 1993, he attended Harvard Business School’s Program for Management Development. A promotion to vice president of commercial desktop systems followed in 1995. Within three years, Adkins became the general manager of the UNIX server division, which he revitalized. In 1998, IBM named him to its Worldwide Management Council which consisted of forty-five of IBM’s top executives. In 2002, Adkins was promoted to vice president of development for IBM’s systems and technology group, and he remained in that position until 2007 when he was named an IBM corporate officer and senior vice president of development and manufacturing for the systems and technology group. Adkins became the first African American to attain that position in the history of IBM. In 2009, he was named the senior vice president and group executive of IBM’s systems and technology group. Adkins was named senior vice president of IBM’s corporate strategy in 2013.

Adkins has received numerous awards including the 1996 award for Black Engineer of the Year, the 2007 Black Engineer of the Year, and Black Enterprise magazine’s Corporate Executive of the Year in 2011. Fortune magazine has also named Adkins one of the 50 Most Powerful Black Executives in America in 2002, and, in 2001, the National Society of Black Engineers awarded him the Golden Torch Award for Lifetime Achievement in Industry. In 2011, Adkins was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Science degree from the University of Maryland Baltimore County. Adkins is married to Michelle Collier, and they have two sons, Rodney and Ryan.

Rodney Adkins was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 9, 2013.

See how Rodney Adkins is related to other HistoryMakers
Loading...
Click Here To Explore The Archive Today!
  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Rodney Adkins' interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Rodney Adkins lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Rodney Adkins describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Rodney Adkins describes his mother's education and occupation as a nurse
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Rodney Adkins describes his father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Rodney Adkins talks about his parents
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Rodney Adkins describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Rodney Adkins talks about his father's job as a custodian
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Rodney Adkins talks about your siblings
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Rodney Adkins describes his earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Rodney Adkins talks about growing up in Miami, Florida
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Rodney Adkins talks about the Allapattah neighborhood in Miami, Florida
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Rodney Adkins describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Rodney Adkins talks about reading comic books as a child
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Rodney Adkins talks about taking things apart as a child
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Rodney Adkins talks about his childhood experiments with radios and becoming interested in systems
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Rodney Adkins talks about the influence of the Space Program when he was a child
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Rodney Adkins talks about his schools
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Rodney Adkins talks about his mentor Mrs. Johnson and the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Rodney Adkins describes how he became involved in the martial art Nisei Goju Ryu
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Rodney Adkins describes his involvement in the martial art Nisei Goju Ryu
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Rodney Adkins talks about his middle and high schools
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Rodney Adkins describes his high school activities
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Rodney Adkins describes his time in the dual-degree program at Rollins College and the Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Rodney Adkins talks about African American student organizations at Rollins College and the Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Rodney Adkins describes how he was recruited by IBM
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Rodney Adkins describes the history of IBM
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Rodney Adkins talks about the history of computers and IBM
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Rodney Adkins talks about IBM
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Rodney Adkins talks about being a test engineer at IBM
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Rodney Adkins talks about his time at Rollins College and the Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Rodney Adkins describes his work on the IBM ThinkPad
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Rodney Adkins describes his work at IBM before he got involved in management
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Rodney Adkins talks about the IBM ThinkPad
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Rodney Adkins describes his transition from being an engineer to being a manager at IBM
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Rodney Adkins talks about the open-door policy of IBM
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Rodney Adkins describes the marketing of the IBM ThinkPad
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Rodney Adkins talks about the restructuring of IBM
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Rodney Adkins talks about his role as vice president of commercial desktop systems at IBM
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Rodney Adkins talks about the acquisition of Lotus by IBM
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Rodney Adkins talks about Lotus Notes
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Rodney Adkins describes being the general manager of the UNIX server division at IBM
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Rodney Adkins talks about collaboration in engineering products
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Rodney Adkins talks IBM becoming the world leader in UNIX systems
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Rodney Adkins talks about IBM's 1999 attitude change
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Rodney Adkins talks about his promotions in IBM
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Rodney Adkins talks about the sale of IBM's personal computer business
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Rodney Adkins talks about the new era of computing
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Rodney Adkins talks about becoming a senior vice president and group executive at IBM
  • Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Rodney Adkins talks about the IBM Blue Gene System
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Rodney Adkins talks about the IBM supercomputer Watson
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Rodney Adkins talks about IBM
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Rodney Adkins talks about the minority programs at IBM
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Rodney Adkins talks about the Strategy Fifty
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Rodney Adkins reflects on the future of his career
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Rodney Adkins reflects on his legacy
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Rodney Adkins describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Rodney Adkins talks about his family
  • Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Rodney Adkins talks about how he would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Rodney Adkins talks about his mentors at IBM
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Rodney Adkins describes his photographs