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Ronald A. Williams

Corporate chief executive Ronald Williams was born on November 11, 1949 in Chicago, Illinois to Dorothy Portwood and Henderson Williams. Williams received his B.A. degree in psychology from Roosevelt University in 1970, and his M.S. degree in management from the MIT Sloan School of Management in 1984.

In 1978, Williams joined Control Data Corporation as group marketing executive, before serving as president and co-founder of Integrative Systems. From 1984 to 1987, Williams served as the co-founder and senior vice president at Vista Health Corporation. In 1987, Williams joined WellPoint Health Networks as group president of its Large Group and president of its Blue Cross of California subsidiary. He later joined Aetna Insurance Company in 2001 where he assumed the role of executive vice president and chief of health operations. Williams focused on creating innovation in the industry, especially through health information technology. In 2006, Williams became chairman and chief executive officer, making him the first African American CEO in the company’s 200 year history. In 2011, Williams retired as chairman of Aetna.

In 2007, Williams joined the board of the American Express Company; and, in 2010, he was elected to The Boeing Company board of directors. In 2011, he joined the board of directors of the Johnson & Johnson Company. From 2011 to 2017, Williams served on President Obama’s President's Management Advisory Board; and, in 2016, he served as chairman of the board of Agilon Health. He has also served on the board of Lucent Technologies, Inc. and Envision Healthcare. Williams was named a trustee of The Conference Board and the Connecticut Science Center Board, and was a member of The Business Council and Business Roundtable.

Williams has written on specific health care industry reforms, with pieces published in The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and The Financial Times. Williams has been the recipient of numerous accolades including being named one of Black Enterprise magazine’s The 100 Most Powerful Executives in Corporate America in 2010.

Williams and his wife, Cynthia Williams, reside in Delray Beach, Florida. They have one son, Christopher.

Ron A. Williams was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 14, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.036

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/14/2019

Last Name

Williams

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

A.

Schools

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Roosevelt University

First Name

Ronald

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

WIL91

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Home

Favorite Quote

Assume Positive Intent

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Florida

Birth Date

11/11/1949

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Miami

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Chicken

Short Description

Corporate chief executive Ron Williams (1950- ) was the first African American chief executive officer of Aetna Insurance Company.

Employment

Aetna, Inc.

WellPoint Health Network, Inc.

WellPoint Health Network, Blue Cross of California

Blue Cross California

Vista Health Corporation

Control Data Corporation

RW2 Enerprises, LLC

Favorite Color

Blue

Clarence Otis, Jr.

Corporate executive Clarence Otis, Jr. was born on April 11, 1956 in Vicksburg, Mississippi to homemaker Calanthus Hall Otis and janitor Clarence Otis, Sr. Relocating to Los Angeles, California at four years old, he attended San Pedro Street Elementary School and, following a move to the city’s Watts neighborhood at age seven, Grape Street Elementary School. From there, he attended Edwin Marham Junior High School and David Starr Jordan High School, where he was the valedictorian of his graduating class in 1973. Otis was then awarded a scholarship to attend Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, where he graduated in 1977 with dual degrees in political science and economics. Otis then enrolled at Stanford University Law School, earning his J.D. degree in 1980.

Otis worked as a corporate law associate for two New York City-based firms, Donovan, Leisure, Newton & Irvine and Gordon, Hurwitz, & Butowsky. In 1984, he entered the finance sector, joining the municipal securities group at Kidder, Peabody & Company. From 1987 to 1990, he served as the vice president of the public finance division at First Boston Corporation. Then, Otis became the founding partner of Siebert Municipal Securities, a division of Muriel Siebert & Company. In 1991, Otis was named the managing director of public finance and head of the unit at Chemical Securities. Four years later, he moved to Orlando, Florida to join Darden Restaurants as senior vice president and treasurer, operating restaurant chains including Red Lobster, Olive Garden, and Smokey Bones BBQ. Otis oversaw the financing activities of the company’s 1,200 restaurant locations nationwide. He was promoted to chief financial officer in 1998, and then president of Smokey Bones BBQ in 2002. During his two year tenure there, he increased the number of restaurants from thirty to eighty. In 2004, Otis was named chief executive officer of Darden Restaurants, and became chairman of its board of directors in 2005. In this role, Otis acquired popular chains like LongHorn Steakhouse and Capital Grille, before retiring as CEO of Darden Restaurants in 2014, after ten years in the position.

Otis served on several boards including Williams College board of trustees, The Travelers Companies, Verizon Communications and Boys & Girls Clubs of America board of governors.

Otis and his wife, Jacqueline Bradley Otis, reside in Florida, where they own one of the largest privately held African American art collections in the United States.

Clarence Otis, Jr. was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 17, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.147

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/17/2018

Last Name

Otis

Maker Category
Organizations
First Name

Clarence

Birth City, State, Country

Vicksburg

HM ID

OTI01

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Mississippi

Favorite Vacation Destination

Bahamas

Favorite Quote

Your Attitude Is Your Altitude.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Florida

Birth Date

4/11/1956

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Orlando

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Grilled Octopus

Short Description

Corporate executive Clarence Otis, Jr. (1956- ) served as president of Smokey Bones BBQ, and subsequently as CEO of Darden Restaurants from 2004 until 2014.

Favorite Color

Blue

Jylla Moore Tearte

Corporate chief executive Jylla Moore Tearte was born on April 12, 1954 in Salisbury, North Carolina to Julius Moore and Vera Moore. Tearte graduated from Salisbury High School in 1972 and earned her B. S. degree in mathematics from Livingstone College in 1976. Tearte went on to receive her M.B.A. degree in marketing from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business in 1978, and her Ph.D. in organizational development from Benedictine University in 2009.

Tearte started her career at the International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) where she served in several roles including systems engineering manager and vice president of operations for the Northeast sales and distribution territory. She was promoted to vice president of sales for the Midwestern small and medium business territory before leading the Global Channels organization. During her tenure at IBM, she was a three-time recipient of the Golden Circle, IBM’s highest sales award, along with the U. S. Leadership Award. She led a task force on Women Customers that resulted in an international marketing and sales focus and testimony to the U. S. House of Representatives Small Business Committee’s Congressional Hearing on Women Business Owners. Tearte left IBM in 2000 to found Crystal Stairs, Inc., a consulting and executive coaching firm specializing in executive transitions and strategic facilitation. In 2012, Tearte co-founded the Tearte Family Foundation, and served as chief operations officer of Tearte Associates, Inc. Tearte also authored and published eighteen books including Due North! Strengthen Your Leadership Assets, released in 2002, and the series, Encore Leadership: Transforming Time, Talent and Treasure into a Legacy That Matters, in 2013.

From 1992 to 1996, Tearte served as the international president of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. In 1995, she spoke at the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China. Tearte was named Centennial Commission Chair for Zeta’s 100th Anniversary in 2020. Her Zeta legacy of service includes the founding of the Pearlette affiliate for girls four to eight years of age, establishment of a chapter in South Korea and co-author of the Sigma Zeta Reaffirmation Ceremony.

Tearte received many awards for her business and community leadership, including the distinguished alumni award from the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO) and the Wallace Jones Lifetime Achievement Award from the Consortium for Graduate Study in Business. The first executive director for the Information Technology Senior Management Forum, she has been inducted into the National Association of Business and Professional Women’s Corporate Hall of Fame.

Tearte has two daughters, Anjylla Foster and Cherice Barr.

Jylla Moore Tearte was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 6, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.033

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/6/2018

Last Name

Tearte

Maker Category
Middle Name

Moore

Organizations
Schools
J.C. Price High School
Livingstone College
Kelley School of Business
First Name

Jylla

Birth City, State, Country

Salsbury

HM ID

TEA03

Favorite Season

Winter

State

North Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

All Around the World

Favorite Quote

All That You Do, Do With Your Might. Things Done By Half Are Never Done Right.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

4/12/1954

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Jumbalaya

Short Description

Corporate chief executive Jylla Moore Tearte (1954 - ) was a senior level employee of IBM for over twenty years. She was also the founder of Crystal Stairs, Incorporated and co-founder of the Tearte Family Foundation.

Employment
Tearte Associates, Inc.
Tearte Family Foundation
Crystal Stairs, Inc.
IBM
Favorite Color

Purple & Royal Blue

Virgis Colbert

Corporate chief executive Virgis Colbert was born on October 13, 1939 in Jackson, Mississippi. Colbert earned his B.S. degree in industrial management from Central Michigan University in 1974.

Before joining Miller, Colbert was general superintendent of manufacturing for Chrysler Corporation in Toledo, Ohio. In 1979, Colbert became assistant to the plant manager at Miller’s Reidsville, North Carolina. In 1980, he was named production manager at the Fort Worth, Texas, container plant and in 1981, he was appointed production manager at Milwaukee Container. In 1981, he was named Milwaukee Container plant manager. In 1987, Colbert moved to the corporate offices as assistant director of can manufacturing. He was appointed director of can manufacturing in 1988 and director of container and support manufacturing in 1988. In 1989, he was named vice president - materials manufacturing. In 1990, he was named vice president - plant operations. In 1993, Colbert was named senior vice president - operations. In 1995, Colbert was named senior vice president - worldwide operations.

Virgis serves as a director of the NASDAQ Exchange, Single-Tenant Acquisition Group and the New Senior Investment Group. Other boards include: Merrill Lynch & Co.; Bank of America Corporation; Delphi Corporation; Sara Lee Corporation; Stanley Black & Decker; lead director at Lorillard, Inc.; Hillshire Brands; and Bradley Center Sports and Entertainment Center.

Virgis is a co-owner of the Milwaukee Bucks and director emeritus of the Green Bay Packers.

He is chairman emeritus and co-founder of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and former chairman of the Board of Trustees of Fisk University. He received honorary doctorate degrees from Fisk University and Kentucky State University.

In 1997, he was named a national honorary member of the 100 Black Men of America. In 1996, he received the Trumpet Award from Turner Broadcasting Systems. His other awards include Harlem YMCA Black Achiever, Milwaukee YMCA Black Achiever, and Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Black Achiever, and the National Urban League service award and the NAACP service award.
Colbert is a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity and the Boule'. He is a life member of the NAACP.

Fortune magazine named him as one of the “50 Most Powerful Black Executives in America.” Black Enterprise magazine named him as one of the “75 Most Powerful Blacks in Corporate America.” In 2001, Colbert was named “Beverage Executive of the Year” by Beverage Industry Magazine. Black Enterprise Magazine named him as one of the “50 Top Black Executives in Corporate America” and as one of “America’s 40 Most Powerful Black Executives.” Ebony Magazine named him as one of the “24 To Watch in ‘94,” one of the “50 Top Black Executives in Corporate America” and one of the “12 Most Powerful Blacks in Corporate America.” In 1998, he received the Executive Leadership Council Achievement Award. Colbert is listed in “Who’s Who in Finance/Industry,” “Who’s Who in the World,” and “Who’s Who in Black Corporate America.”

Colbert and his wife Angela, an attorney, have three children.

Virgis Colbert was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 23, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.027

Sex

Male

Interview Date

02/23/2017

Last Name

Colbert

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Organizations
Schools

Central Michigan University

Scott High School

Sherman Elementary School

First Name

Virgis

Birth City, State, Country

Jackson

HM ID

COL27

Favorite Season

Fall

Sponsor

Dorothy Terrell

State

Mississippi

Favorite Vacation Destination

Martha's Vineyard

Favorite Quote

If it is to be, it is up to me.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Wisconsin

Birth Date

10/13/1939

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Milwaukee

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Chicken

Short Description

Corporate chief executive (1939 - ) was senior vice president of worldwide operations of Miller Brewing Company and served as senior advisor to MillerCoors LLC.

Employment

Miller Brewing Company

Chrysler Corporation

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Blue

Angela Vallot

Lawyer and corporate executive Angela Vallot was born on November 8, 1956 in Abbeville, Louisiana, to Irene Porche, a homemaker, and Peter Vallot, a teacher and entrepreneur. Vallot attended Mills College in Oakland, California, earning her B.A. degree in government in 1977. She went on to study at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington D.C., where she obtained her J.D. degree in 1980, after interning for E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, as well as for U.S. Representative Pete Stark, Jr.

In 1985, Vallot joined the law firm of Jones Day in Washington, D.C. as an associate attorney. She was hired as counsel to the law firm of Arent Fox Kintner Plotkin & Kahn in 1990, where she served until 1997. During that time, Vallot also served on President Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential transition team, as acting director of the Office of White House Liaison. After serving as director of stakeholder relations, Vallot was hired in 1997 by Texaco, Inc. to serve as the company’s first chief diversity officer, following the settlement of a $176 million racial discrimination lawsuit. During her tenure, she created and managed Texaco’s Office of Corporate Diversity Initiatives, chaired its Corporate Diversity Council, and managed the work of six regional Diversity Councils. Vallot also worked closely with the 7 member court-appointed Task Force on Equality and Fairness, and developed the company’s partnerships with civil rights organizations such as the NAACP and National Urban League. From 2001 to 2003, Vallot served in the position of chief diversity officer at Colgate-Palmolive, before leaving to found her own management consulting company, Vallot Consultants. The firm was renamed VallotKarp Consulting with the addition of her business partner, Mitchell Karp. Vallot has toured frequently as a public speaker and panelist on topics related to diversity and inclusion, women’s issues and career development.

In 2010, Vallot joined the steering board of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, where she served as chair of the development committee and the annual National Equal Justice Award Dinner. She was a trustee of the Dance Theater of Harlem and served on the board of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. She also served on the board of trustees of the Sentinel Group Mutual Funds.

Vallot and her husband, James Basker, have two daughters, Anne and Katherine.

Angela Vallot was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 15, 2016.

Accession Number

A2016.096

Sex

Female

Interview Date

12/15/2016

Last Name

Vallot

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Elizabeth

Schools

Our Lady of Lourdes School

Mount Carmel Elementary School

Vermilion Catholic High School

Abbeville High School

Mills College

Georgetown University Law Center

First Name

Angela

Birth City, State, Country

Abbeville

HM ID

VAL02

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Paris, France; Barcelona, Spain

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Interview Description
Birth Date

11/8/1956

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Fish, Pasta, Gumbo, Boudin

Short Description

Lawyer and corporate executive Angela Vallot (1956 - ) served on President Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential transition team, as the first chief diversity officer at Texaco, Inc., and as chief diversity officer for Colgate-Palmolive. She founded VallotKarp Consulting in 2003.

Employment

Linowes and Blocher LLP

Jones Day

Arent Fox

D.C. Retirement Board

Sentil Group Funds

Texaco, Inc,

Colgate Palmolive Company

VallotKarp Consulting LLC

Favorite Color

Red

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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/658462">Tape: 1 Slating of Angela Vallot's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/658463">Tape: 1 Angela Vallot lists her favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/658464">Tape: 1 Angela Vallot remembers her mother's death</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/658465">Tape: 1 Angela Vallot talks about her mother's accomplishments</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/658466">Tape: 1 Angela Vallot describes her mother's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/658467">Tape: 1 Angela Vallot talks about her Creole heritage, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/658468">Tape: 1 Angela Vallot talks about her Creole heritage, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/658469">Tape: 1 Angela Vallot describes her father's education and occupation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/658470">Tape: 1 Angela Vallot describes her father's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/658471">Tape: 2 Angela Vallot talks about her early experiences of discrimination within the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/658472">Tape: 2 Angela Vallot describes her earliest childhood memories</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/658473">Tape: 2 Angela Vallot describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/658474">Tape: 2 Angela Vallot remembers integrating the Mount Carmel School in Abbeville, Louisiana, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/658475">Tape: 2 Angela Vallot talks about her white stepmother</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/658476">Tape: 2 Angela Vallot remembers integrating the Mount Carmel School in Abbeville, Louisiana, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/658477">Tape: 2 Angela Vallot describes segregation in Abbeville, Louisiana</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/658478">Tape: 2 Angela Vallot talks about her father's entrepreneurship</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/658479">Tape: 2 Angela Vallot recalls transferring to Abbeville High School in Abbeville, Louisiana</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/658480">Tape: 2 Angela Vallot remembers the race riot at Abbeville High School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/658481">Tape: 3 Angela Vallot remembers Mills College in Oakland, California</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/658482">Tape: 3 Angela Vallot recalls her decision to become a lawyer</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/658483">Tape: 3 Angela Vallot remembers her internship with U.S. Congressman Pete Stark</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/658484">Tape: 3 Angela Vallot recalls helping her father lobby for minority businesses</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/658485">Tape: 3 Angela Vallot remembers Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/658486">Tape: 3 Angela Vallot recalls her classmates at the Georgetown University Law Center</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/658487">Tape: 3 Angela Vallot talks about the African American community in Washington, D.C.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/658488">Tape: 3 Angela Vallot recalls her internships during law school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/658489">Tape: 3 Angela Vallot recalls her aspirations during law school</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/658490">Tape: 3 Angela Vallot remembers practicing real estate law</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/658491">Tape: 3 Angela Vallot recalls her transition to government relations at Arent Fox LLP</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/658492">Tape: 4 Angela Vallot recalls the racial tensions in the real estate industry of Washington, D.C., pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/658493">Tape: 4 Angela Vallot recalls the racial tensions in the real estate industry of Washington, D.C., pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/658494">Tape: 4 Angela Vallot describes her governmental relations practice at Arent Fox LLP</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/658495">Tape: 4 Angela Vallot talks about her role in President Bill Clinton's campaign</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/658496">Tape: 4 Angela Vallot talks about her civic engagement in Washington, D.C.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/658497">Tape: 4 Angela Vallot describes her position in President Bill Clinton's transition team</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/658498">Tape: 4 Angela Vallot remembers the death of Ron Brown and Kathryn Hoffman</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/658499">Tape: 4 Angela Vallot recalls the discrimination lawsuit against Texaco, Inc., pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/658500">Tape: 4 Angela Vallot recalls her transition to Texaco, Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/658501">Tape: 4 Angela Vallot recalls the discrimination lawsuit against Texaco, Inc., pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/658502">Tape: 5 Angela Vallot describes her role at Texaco, Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/658503">Tape: 5 Angela Vallot recalls her speaking engagements for Texaco, Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/658504">Tape: 5 Angela Vallot talks about her children</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/658505">Tape: 5 Angela Vallot talks about her transition to the Colgate Palmolive Company</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/658506">Tape: 5 Angela Vallot remembers her challenges at the Colgate Palmolive Company</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/658507">Tape: 5 Angela Vallot describes her decision to leave the Colgate Palmolive Company</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/658508">Tape: 5 Angela Vallot remembers founding VallotKarp Consulting LLC</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/658509">Tape: 5 Angela Vallot reflects upon the changes in corporate diversity practices</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/658510">Tape: 5 Angela Vallot talks about her board work for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/658511">Tape: 5 Angela Vallot talks about her daughter, Katherine Vallot-Basker</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/658512">Tape: 6 Angela Vallot talks about her daughter's racial identity, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/658513">Tape: 6 Angela Vallot talks about her daughter's racial identity, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/658514">Tape: 6 Angela Vallot talks about her husband, James G. Basker</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/658515">Tape: 6 Angela Vallot describes her husband's role in the Oxbridge Academic Programs</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/658516">Tape: 6 Angela Vallot describes her husband's work at the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History in New York City</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/658517">Tape: 6 Angela Vallot reflects upon her career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/658518">Tape: 6 Angela Vallot reflects upon her life</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/658519">Tape: 6 Angela Vallot shares her advice to future generations</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/658520">Tape: 6 Angela Vallot shares her advice to mixed race families</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$4

DAStory

1$9

DATitle
Angela Vallot recalls the racial tensions in the real estate industry of Washington, D.C., pt. 1
Angela Vallot recalls her transition to Texaco, Inc.
Transcript
So I'd like for you to, to talk about the dynamic between the big law firm with the big real estate company and the community and, and what those dynamics could sometimes look like, what, what you may have participated in?$$Yeah, so, you know, the agencies that we had to go before to get these approvals were predominantly black, but they were mixed so it was the redevelopment land agency [District of Columbia Redevelopment Land Agency], the zoning commission [District of Columbia Zoning Commission], the board of zoning approval [sic. District of Columbia Board of Zoning Adjustment] and, you know, again, there was people under white developers and unfortunately at the time, they were all white developers. There was one black developer who had, who had just started and had come into the business while I was still practicing. And actually we represented him, his name was Conrad Motts [ph.]. But, I was representing a white developer who was competing for a piece of city owned land that the city wanted to have redeveloped. And, there were four or five different developers all competing to get this. And you have to come in with your proposals, your architects, you know, the whole works of what you were gonna do. And, we were appearing before the redevelopment land agency, and it was a very, very contested, very heated case and it really got into some very ugly politics. And it was in the black community, so we had another--our law firm competitor was representing another developer. That's right, it was down to two developers my guy and then another guy who was represented by a competitor firm. But, it had gotten very, very ugly because it was an article that appeared in a Washington [D.C.] magazine and a Jewish developer was being interviewed and he was, he was a real estate developer and he made a very foolish statement. And the statement was they were talking to him about his attitudes or about developing these buildings and going into the black community. And he had this horrible, horrible quote that he said, "You can't put whipped cream on shit." This was published in a magazine. That was the quote.$$Who said this?$$A developer. He was a Jewish developer, I won't name names. He was the developer that was trying to--that was competing against my developer guy. So, my guy was Jewish, this guy was Jewish. It so happened that he was being interviewed for this Washington magazine and unfortunately, he made this unfortunate quote. So, I got ahold of that article and my--the, the black community that I was dealing with, you know, was in support of my guy. So, the night before the hearing I made copies of this article 'cause it was hot off the press. It had just come and I thought, oh, well, yeah, this is gonna seal my deal right here. I mean, how could you make a statement like that? So, the, the person who was head of the ANC, the advisory neighborhood council [sic. Advisory Neighborhood Commission], you know, they were sort of elected officials, black guy, he was also a, a, a minister, and he was my guy. He would help me with all my projects, so I told him about this article. So, they didn't have like copy machines and all that stuff so he said, "Angela [HistoryMaker Angela Vallot], copy it for me. Make copies and here's what I want you to say--," type up a flyer 'cause, again, he didn't have like a typewriter and all that stuff so I typed this up. It's late at night, I'm in my law firm [Jones Day] late and it's a flyer that says something like, we can't let this kind of stuff come into our community. And, you know, the quote was highlighted. "You can't put whipped cream on shit," referring to the black community. So, I walk into the hearing, he'd met me outside the building and I had the box and he passed out the flyers in the hearing. Oh, my god, this caused such chaos, and it became clear that I had made the copies. Well, they had to suspend the hearing because people were going crazy in the hearing once they saw what he said. So, you know, they, they--he guy's tapping the gavel. "Order! Order! Calm down," you know, and the other side is looking at me and they're glaring. So, things were suspended for a while and the other side ended up talking to my client about, you know, look at what's happening. They're pitting us, these two Jewish developers, against each other. And, they called the head of my law firm and he was furious that I had made copies and I said, I didn't write the story, I didn't make the statement. All I did was make copies because this guy didn't have a computer, I mean, a Xerox machine. He asked me to make copies. But, it, it, it, it caused a lot of tension. And the head of the real estate practice said to me, you should never, ever do something like this, I mean, that's like crossing the line. I'm like, "Look, I'm advocating for my client. This was a horrible statement, I didn't make the statement." But it got into this very ugly thing of sort of the Jewish community against the black community and it was just ugly. It was really ugly (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Even though he said it.$$You can't put whipped cream on shit.$$He was not--$What does that have to do with me? I was on the District of Columbia Retirement Board still at the time. So, Bijur [Peter Bijur] got invited to speak to the Council of Institutional Investors, it's the big umbrella industry organization to which all the pension funds belong--CalPERS [California Public Employees' Retirement System], CalSTRS [California State Teachers' Retirement System], NYSTRS [New York State Teachers' Retirement System], all of those--the big money. And they own, you know, millions and millions of dollars of Texaco [Texaco, Inc.] stock. So, he gets invited to come and be the keynote speaker and he's trying to calm his, you know, shareholders down to say--and literally he said, I'm the guy, I'm in charge, things are gonna change. By this time he had already settled the lawsuit and he was trying to convince people that he was gonna make radical change at Texaco. I was there and the woman who ran the Council of Institutional Investors by this time had sort of become a friend, and she invited me to a small dinner party that night for the CEO of Texaco and the CEO of--all the oil CEOs were there. And it was, you know, like maybe twelve people. And I sat next to him and I thought, okay, this is my big chance, I'm gonna get Texaco as a client, right? 'Cause I was always hustling, right. Everybody met, you know, it was like, you know, "I can help you." So, I said to him, you know, like, "Wow, I'm not surprised by any of this." I told him my, my dad's [Peter Vallot, Jr.] story of being in the oil industry and, you know, the nigger jokes at lunch and, we had a great conversation. I ended up flying back to New York [New York] with him that night on their company plane because by this time I had moved to New York. I had gotten married and my firm [Arent Fox LLP] transferred me to the New York office 'cause my husband [Vallot's second husband, James G. Basker] and I were commuting. So, we had agreed after the plane ride back, and he had some of his other staff people on the plane, that we would stay in touch and, you know, I'd come to see him about the possibility of doing some work for Texaco. So, he set up a meeting, I went in and met all of the top leadership of the company, and at a certain point he said to me, you know, "You have a really interesting background. Instead of representing us, you know, would you ever consider coming to work for us?" And, I said, "No, I, I wouldn't, I don't think I would." I said, "You know, Texaco's got a really bad reputation. Most of my friends have torn up their credit cards, like, you, you need serious help. But, I, I will represent you on the outside but I--no, I wouldn't wanna go to work for you." So, that was sort of the beginning of a conversation that, you know, took place over the next few months. Ultimately, I went to work for Texaco. And, Peter wanted me to head diversity and, you know, at first I said, "No, no way. Why? I'm the black woman, you're gonna hire me to run diversity because I'm a black woman," you know. I, I don't know anything about diversity. I had been my firm's co-chair of diversity and I said, you know, "Obviously, it's something I'm passionate about but I'm not an expert. Why don't you hire somebody who's an expert in the field?" And he said to me, "You know everything you need to know and you'll learn the rest. I want you to do this job." I remember being sort of startled by that and, and I, I took the job. So, I, I started and built the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and I had a team of I think four people. And we worked very closely with this court appointed taskforce, which at the time was headed by Deval Patrick [HistoryMaker Deval L. Patrick] and then later Deval was hired to become the general counsel of Texaco.$$So, was there a diversity department before you arrived?$$There was HR [human resources] and there was somebody--there was not an HR--a diversity department but there was a guy there who was focused on diversity. So, you know, to some extent Texaco felt very burned by what happened, because after--I think after the suit was filed I think they had started to really focus on--all right, we need to do something about this 'cause we do have this lawsuit pending. So, I think they felt very burned by this whole thing 'cause they felt like they were doing things. But they hadn't made it the priority that it became, obviously, after the settlement of the lawsuit. And it was, you know, it was unfortunate that these two idiotic people, you know, had that conversation and, you know, the fact that it was recorded.

Lloyd G. Trotter

Corporate executive Lloyd G. Trotter was born on April 9, 1945 in Cleveland, Ohio to Lillian Trotter and Reverend Lee Trotter, Sr. He graduated from John Adams High School in 1963, and entered an apprenticeship program with Cleveland Twist Drill. He studied at Cleveland State University while working at Cleveland Twist Drill, graduating in 1972 with his B.A. degree in business administration.

Trotter was promoted to a full-time product design and application engineer at Cleveland Twist Drill in 1967. He began working for General Electric (GE) as a field service engineer in 1970, where he was named vice president and general manager of manufacturing for the Electric, Distribution and Control division (ED&C) in 1990. That same year, he helped found the GE African American Forum, a mentor group for African American GE employees. While working in management at GE, he invented the Trotter Matrix, a tool for evaluating standards across various plants which was quickly adopted throughout the company. In 1991, Trotter became the president and CEO of the Electric, Distribution and Control division, and then to president and CEO of GE Industrial Solutions in 1998. In 2003, Trotter became senior vice president of GE Industrial, followed by executive vice president of operations at in 2005. In 2008, after almost forty years, Trotter left GE to become a managing partner at the private equity firm GenNx360 Capital Partners, which he founded with Ronald Blaylock, Arthur Harper and James Shepard.

Starting in 2008, Trotter served on the board of directors of PepsiCo as well as Textron, Inc., Meritor, Inc. and Daimler AG. Trotter also served on the boards of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, and National Electrical Manufacturers Association. He received the 2001 Lifetime Achievement Award from GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt, and the GE Chairman’s Award for three consecutive years from 2003 to 2005. Trotter received an honorary doctorate degree from his alma mater, Cleveland State University, North Carolina A&T School of Business and Saint Augustine University. The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) honored Trotter with a schoarlship established in his name, and the Harlem YMCA presented him the Black Achievers in Industry Award.

Trotter and his wife, Teri, have three children.

Lloyd G. Trotter was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 25, 2016.

Accession Number

A2016.036

Sex

Male

Interview Date

10/24/2016

Last Name

Trotter

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

George

Schools

Cleveland State University

Bolton Elementary School

Andrew J. Rickoff Elementary School

John Adams High School

First Name

Lloyd

Birth City, State, Country

Cleveland

HM ID

TRO02

Favorite Season

Fall in US

State

Ohio

Favorite Vacation Destination

Martha's Vineyard - Sandy Lane

Favorite Quote

God Grant Me Patience, And I Want It Right Now.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Interview Description
Birth Date

4/9/1945

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Southern cuisine

Short Description

Corporate executive Lloyd G. Trotter (1945- ) worked for GE for nearly forty years, where he served as a president and vice chairman of GE Industrial. In 2008, he became the full-time managing partner of the private equity firm, GenNx360 Capital Partners.

Employment

GenNx360 Capital Partners

General Electric

General Electric Industrial

Cleveland Twist Drill Company

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526464">Tape: 1 Slating of Lloyd G. Trotter's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526465">Tape: 1 Lloyd G. Trotter lists his favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526466">Tape: 1 Lloyd G. Trotter describes his mother's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526467">Tape: 1 Lloyd G. Trotter describes his parents' move to Nashville, Tennessee</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526468">Tape: 1 Lloyd G. Trotter recalls experiencing racial discrimination as a child</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526469">Tape: 1 Lloyd G. Trotter describes his paternal family history</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526470">Tape: 1 Lloyd G. Trotter describes his immediate family</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526471">Tape: 1 Lloyd G. Trotter remembers his childhood neighborhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526472">Tape: 1 Lloyd G. Trotter describes his religious upbringing</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526473">Tape: 1 Lloyd G. Trotter talks about his childhood personality</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526474">Tape: 1 Lloyd G. Trotter describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526475">Tape: 1 Lloyd G. Trotter recalls the racial demographics of the neighborhoods in Cleveland, Ohio</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526476">Tape: 1 Lloyd G. Trotter remembers the election of Cleveland Mayor Carl Stokes</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526477">Tape: 1 Lloyd G. Trotter talks about race relations at John Adams High School</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526478">Tape: 1 Lloyd G. Trotter recalls accepting an apprenticeship at Cleveland Twist Drill Company</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526479">Tape: 2 Lloyd G. Trotter describes his apprenticeship at Cleveland Twist Drill Company</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526480">Tape: 2 Lloyd G. Trotter recalls his promotion at Cleveland Twist Drill Company</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526481">Tape: 2 Lloyd G. Trotter remembers being hired at General Electric</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526482">Tape: 2 Lloyd G. Trotter describes his roles as field service engineer and project lead</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526483">Tape: 2 Lloyd G. Trotter recalls working in Brazil</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526484">Tape: 2 Lloyd G. Trotter describes the scope of his work at General Electric</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526485">Tape: 2 Lloyd G. Trotter recalls interviewing at Honeywell International, Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526486">Tape: 2 Lloyd G. Trotter talks about his brief career at Honeywell International, Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526487">Tape: 3 Lloyd G. Trotter recalls his first executive job at General Electric</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526488">Tape: 3 Lloyd G. Trotter talks about African American managers at General Electric</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526489">Tape: 3 Lloyd G. Trotter remembers Jack Welch's leadership style</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526490">Tape: 3 Lloyd G. Trotter recalls working as a general manager at General Electric</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526491">Tape: 3 Lloyd G. Trotter talks about his experiences as General Electric's first African American executive</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526492">Tape: 3 Lloyd G. Trotter describes the Trotter Matrix</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526493">Tape: 3 Lloyd G. Trotter remembers his relationship with Jack Welch</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526494">Tape: 3 Lloyd G. Trotter recalls pushing for greater diversity at General Electric</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526495">Tape: 3 Lloyd G. Trotter talks about the founding of the African American Forum</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526496">Tape: 3 Lloyd G. Trotter describes his relationship with NBC executives</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526497">Tape: 4 Lloyd G. Trotter describes the African American Forum</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526498">Tape: 4 Lloyd G. Trotter talks about the changes at General Electric during the 1990s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526499">Tape: 4 Lloyd G. Trotter explains General Electric's business strategy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526500">Tape: 4 Lloyd G. Trotter describes his sources of support at General Electric</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526501">Tape: 4 Lloyd G. Trotter remembers his challenges at General Electric</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526502">Tape: 4 Lloyd G. Trotter describes his interactions with government officials</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526503">Tape: 4 Lloyd G. Trotter talks about his involvement on non-profit boards</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526504">Tape: 4 Lloyd G. Trotter talks about the leadership of Jack Welch and Jeffrey R. Immelt</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526505">Tape: 5 Lloyd G. Trotter remembers the founding members of GenNX 360 Capital Partners</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526506">Tape: 5 Lloyd G. Trotter recalls working as director of Genpact Limited at General Electric</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526507">Tape: 5 Lloyd G. Trotter describes his roles at GenNX360 Capital Partners and General Electric</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526508">Tape: 5 Lloyd G. Trotter talks about the success of GenNX360 Capital Partners</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526509">Tape: 5 Lloyd G. Trotter describes the effect of government on GenNX360 Capital Partners</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526510">Tape: 5 Lloyd G. Trotter talks about his relationship with General Electric after retirement</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526511">Tape: 5 Lloyd G. Trotter describes his involvement in the National Association of Guardsmen, Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526512">Tape: 5 Lloyd G. Trotter talks about his philosophy on mentorships</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526513">Tape: 5 Lloyd G. Trotter reflects upon his legacy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526514">Tape: 5 Lloyd G. Trotter shares his advice to young professionals</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526515">Tape: 5 Lloyd G. Trotter reflects upon his life</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526516">Tape: 5 Lloyd G. Trotter talks about his family</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/526517">Tape: 5 Lloyd G. Trotter describes his plans for the future</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

3$4

DATitle
Lloyd G. Trotter remembers being hired at General Electric
Lloyd G. Trotter describes his sources of support at General Electric
Transcript
You start selling these tools that you have previously made and then designed and come across GE [General Electric]. Tell us about that (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Right. Well, what happened there was and I say selling but we were the technical support behind the distributors who had sales guys and one of our distributors had sold some tools to GE that made specialty equipment for making light bulbs. We call them lamps because you can get more money in margin by changing the name of it. But they sold light bulbs and they built this piece of equipment that was going to cut aluminum and it wasn't working and they were blaming it all on the tool. I got a call from our distributor; I need some technical help here. I went out and looked at it and I said, "Yeah the tools are not right for your application and I'll fix that for you but this is got to be your first chip cutting application that you've ever done." They guy on the other end of the conversation was a GE employee and he said, "How would you know that?" And I said, "Well the tools aren't right that's for sure but your speeds and feeds the way you're holding the part, the coolant that you're using to cool down the part they are all wrong too," (laughter) you know, kind of thing. And he looked at me and he says, "You sound like you know what you're doing," and I said, "Well let me tell you about my background," and he said, "Well would you be willing to help us?" I said, "I live down the street why don't every Monday we do a debrief and I'd tell you what I would do if in fact I was doing this application." They probably accepted 90 percent of my ideas.$$And you volunteered to do this?$$Well it's part of the job, you know. I want to sell more tools, I want my distributor to sell more tools and that was a part of the technical support for what you do. So they then had a run off date, we had the new tools there and so on and it went really, really well and what I noticed is it was over a six month period at a time, you know. So I noticed that there were a lot of more white suits and ties around for this run off than there was for the first one that failed. The guy that I worked with for that six month period at a time, he says, "I want you to meet my bosses' boss," and I said, "I'm glad to meet you and I hope we didn't let you down, we really want more of your business. The distributor here who ultimately is supporting you, he says they have a really great relationship so help us." He says, "Well let me talk to you one on one." He said, "Would you feel offended if I offered you a job?" I said, "Yeah I would, I have a job. If you're talking about a career I'd be willing to listen but I'm not out looking at all." He said, "I meant a career," and I said, "Well, let me make sure you understand. I don't have a resume I can put something together and I don't have a college degree at this point and I'm not starting over." He said, "Are you committed to getting a college degree?" I said, "I am not for you or not for anybody else because that's what I know I need to do." He said, "Well we want to talk to you about a career," and it was like I don't know three months later I got an offer and I was a GE employee as a field service engineer for their lighting division at Nela Park in Cleveland [Ohio] and that started my career.$As you are growing in your position [at General Electric], because you--it's at a pretty fast clip.$$Yeah.$$I mean you are being promoted almost every year it looks like. Who are your mentors?$$Well a lot; once you become a senior executive ban really Fairfield [Connecticut] takes over on placement and what you're going to do next. So a lot of the mentors that would maybe make a difference are in Fairfield the Jack Welch's of the world, the Ben Heinemans [Benjamin W. Heineman] of the world, you know people like that. But then on the sideline there are individuals who are your peers that you're also taking coaching from and having to get advice. But more importantly by then--by the time I got to leading a bigger business there were other officers of the company--twelve of them in fact that were in similar positions where we could mentor each other. Just because I was maybe a step ahead or whatever doesn't mean that they can't give you great advice and you can capitalize on what they're seeing and mold it into what you ought to be thinking about. So it comes from people below you, from people who are peers and people above you. Some of the best help I ever got in my manufacturing career was from hourly employees who gave me advice about you better watch your back (laughter). Now I remember early on in my career where I was an industrial engineer at a manufacturing plant and literally I had this brilliant idea that now in retrospect it wasn't that brilliant, it was really pretty bad and the plant they were threatening a strike, they were doing this and all of a sudden magically it started working and I'm standing there at a machine where I had done this it was like reduce the workforce by a third. They didn't get laid off, they went to other areas of the plant but we were going to do three times as much work with a third of the people and I thought it was great. I thought I had really thought it through and this young lady, Sadie [ph.] I remember her. She was a twenty-five year employee, African American female and I'm standing there watching it work, smiling and she said, "You're pretty proud of yourself aren't you?" I said, "Yeah it's finally beginning to gel and it's working." And she said, "You are really proud of yourself aren't you?" I said, "Yeah, I am." She says, "Well the reason it's working has nothing to do about you." I said, "Yeah? Tell me about it." She said, "Look they were getting ready to go out on strike, I've been here for twenty-five years and we had a meeting in the ladies' room." 60, 70 percent of the employees in the lighting plant are female. I said, "What went on in the ladies' room?" She said, "I told them we have dumb ideas for white folks, we're going to do dumb ideas for this black kid so get out there, we ain't going on strike, go to work." And she was the turning point. She was the turning point. I said, "Why would you do that for me?" She said, "I have a grandson about your age and he's out there doing dumb ideas too and I hope somebody saves his butt" (laughter). But all my life I've had secretaries and people like that who I had gotten to know who from different ways helped me, saved me, if you will, in some cases. If you are so arrogant you're not listening, you won't see that you know, kind of thing. But I've had people again below that were huge supporters and they did it in their own way. People who were peers who have been huge, huge supporters and they did it in their own way and then people from the top pulling me up. So it was that triangulation that really was the difference I think.

Charles Phillips, Jr.

Corporate executive Charles E. Phillips, Jr. was born in June of 1959 in Little Rock, Arkansas. He attended the United States Air Force Academy, where he received his B.S. degree in computer science in 1981. Phillips served first as a second lieutenant, and then as captain in the United States Marine Corps, 2nd Battalion, 10th Marines from 1981 to 1986 at Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, North Carolina. He received his M.B.A degree from Hampton University in 1986 and his J.D. degree from the New York Law School in 1993.

In 1986, Phillips was named vice president of software for the Bank of New York Mellon Corporation. He worked as senior vice president of SoundView Technology Group from 1990 to 1993, and senior vice president of Kidder Peabody from 1990 to 1994. Phillips then landed a job as a principal with Morgan Stanley Dean Witter's Institutional Securities Division in 1994, and was promoted to managing director in 1995. Then, in 2003, Phillips was hired by Oracle Corporation in Redwood Shores, California, as executive vice president of strategy, partnerships, and business development. He was appointed president and a member of the board of directors of Oracle in 2004, where he remained until 2010. In 2010, Phillips was named chief executive officer of Infor, an ERP software provider headquartered in New York City.

He serves on the boards of Infor, Viacom Corporation, Jazz at Lincoln Center, New York Law School, the American Museum of Natural History, the United States Air Force Academy Endowment Fund, and Posse Foundation. Phillips is also a board member of his family foundation, Phillips Charitable Organizations, which provides financial aid for single parents, students interested in engineering, and wounded veterans. In February 2009, he was appointed as a member of the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board in order to provide U.S. President Barack Obama and his administration with advice and counsel in addressing the late-2000s recession.

Phillips was recognized by Institutional Investor magazine as the Number One Enterprise Software Industry Analyst from 1994 to 2003. He was also named by Black Enterprise magazine as one of the Top 50 African Americans on Wall Street in 2002.

Charles Phillips was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 11, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.099

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/11/2014

Last Name

Phillips

Maker Category
Middle Name

E.

Schools

United States Air Force Academy

Hampton University

New York Law School

First Name

Charles

Birth City, State, Country

Little Rock

HM ID

PHI07

Favorite Season

Late Spring

State

Arkansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Madrid, Spain

Favorite Quote

Semper Fi

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Interview Description
Birth Date

6/10/1959

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Paella

Short Description

Corporate chief executive Charles Phillips, Jr. (1959 - ) is the CEO of Infor. He also served as president of Oracle from 2004 to 2010, and is a founder and board member of Phillips Charitable Organizations.

Employment

United States Marine Corps

Bank of New York Mellon Corporation

SoundView Technology Group

Kidder Peabody

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

Oracle Corporation

Infor

Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/106728">Tape: 1 Slating of Charles Phillips, Jr.'s interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/106729">Tape: 1 Charles Phillips, Jr. lists his favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/106730">Tape: 1 Charles Phillips, Jr. describes his father's family background, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/106731">Tape: 1 Charles Phillips, Jr. describes his father's family background, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/106732">Tape: 1 Charles Phillips, Jr. describes his childhood experience with the U.S. Air Force and enrolling at the United States Air Force Academy in El Paso County, Colorado</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/106733">Tape: 1 Charles Phillips, Jr. describes his father's personality</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/106734">Tape: 1 Charles Phillips, Jr. describes his mother's family background and how his parents met</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/106735">Tape: 1 Charles Phillips, Jr. talks about his brothers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/106736">Tape: 1 Charles Phillips, Jr. describes his earliest childhood memory and his experience living in Madrid, Spain</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/106737">Tape: 1 Charles Phillips, Jr. describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/106738">Tape: 1 Charles Phillips, Jr. describes his childhood personality</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/106739">Tape: 1 Charles Phillips, Jr. describes the American schools abroad and his father's interest in current events</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/105004">Tape: 2 Charles Phillips, Jr. describes his father's opinion of the U.S. Air Force</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/105005">Tape: 2 Charles Phillips, Jr. describes the American school in Madrid, Spain and Lakeshore High School in Atlanta, Georgia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/105006">Tape: 2 Charles Phillips, Jr. describes Lakeshore High School in Atlanta, Georgia and playing basketball</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/105007">Tape: 2 Charles Phillips, Jr. talks about his parents and brothers in Atlanta, Georgia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/105008">Tape: 2 Charles Phillips, Jr. describes his decision to enroll at the United States Air Force Academy in El Paso County, Colorado</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/105009">Tape: 2 Charles Phillips, Jr. describes his interest in computers and computer programming, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/105010">Tape: 2 Charles Phillips, Jr. describes his interest in computers and computer programming, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/105011">Tape: 2 Charles Phillips, Jr. recalls his nomination by Nelson Rockefeller to attend the United States Air Force Academy in El Paso County, Colorado</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/105012">Tape: 2 Charles Phillips, Jr. describes enrolling at the United States Air Force Academy in El Paso County, Colorado</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/105013">Tape: 2 Charles Phillips, Jr. describes the United States Air Force Academy in El Paso County, Colorado</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/105014">Tape: 2 Charles Phillips, Jr. describes the student body population at the United States Air Force Academy in El Paso County, Colorado</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/106740">Tape: 3 Charles Phillips, Jr. describes the challenges of increasing African American attendance at the United States Air Force Academy in El Paso County, Colorado</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/106741">Tape: 3 Charles Phillips, Jr. talks about the pressure of attending the United States Air Force Academy in El Paso County, Colorado</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/106742">Tape: 3 Charles Phillips, Jr. describes his decision to serve his commission in the United States Marine Corps</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/106743">Tape: 3 Charles Phillips, Jr. talks about meeting his wife, Karen Phillips</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/106744">Tape: 3 Charles Phillips, Jr. describes his experience in the United States Marine Corps</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/106745">Tape: 3 Charles Phillips, Jr. describes leaving the United States Marine Corps to attend an M.B.A. program at Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/106746">Tape: 3 Charles Phillips, Jr. describes starting his career at the Bank of New York Mellon Corporation on Wall Street</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/106747">Tape: 3 Charles Phillips, Jr. talks about working in investment banking with a background in technology rather than in finance</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/106748">Tape: 3 Charles Phillips, Jr. describes the progression of his career on Wall Street</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/106749">Tape: 4 Charles Phillips, Jr. talks about his success as a software analyst on Wall Street</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/106750">Tape: 4 Charles Phillips, Jr. describes technology analysts on Wall Street during the late 1980s and 1990s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/106751">Tape: 4 Charles Phillips, Jr. talks about working with Mary Meeker and Frank Quattrone at Morgan Stanley</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/106752">Tape: 4 Charles Phillips, Jr. talks about becoming a managing director in Morgan Stanley's technology group in 1995</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/106753">Tape: 4 Charles Phillips, Jr. talks about the leading people and companies in the software industry during his time as an analyst</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/106754">Tape: 4 Charles Phillips, Jr. talks about his investment strategy during the dot-com bubble</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/106755">Tape: 4 Charles Phillips, Jr. talks about the development of technology in the United States and abroad in the early 2000s</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/106756">Tape: 4 Charles Phillips, Jr. talks about Stanford's University's role in Silicon Valley</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/106757">Tape: 4 Charles Phillips, Jr. talks about technological innovation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/106758">Tape: 4 Charles Phillips, Jr. talks about Morgan Stanley's merger with Dean Witter Reynolds in 1997</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/106759">Tape: 4 Charles Phillips, Jr. talks about leaving Morgan Stanley to work at Oracle Corporation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/105238">Tape: 5 Charles Phillips, Jr. talks about his acquisition strategy at Oracle Corporation, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/105239">Tape: 5 Charles Phillips, Jr. talks about his acquisition strategy at Oracle Corporation, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/105240">Tape: 5 Charles Phillips, Jr. describes his goals at Oracle Corporation and the difference between enterprise software and personal software</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/105241">Tape: 5 Charles Phillips, Jr. talks about the history and security of cloud computing</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/105242">Tape: 5 Charles Phillips, Jr. describes becoming the CEO of Infor in 2010</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/105243">Tape: 5 Charles Phillips, Jr. talks about the importance of design and ease of use in Infor's software</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/105244">Tape: 5 Charles Phillips, Jr. talks about moving Infor to New York City, New York</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/105245">Tape: 5 Charles Phillips, Jr. describes the development of Infor's internal creative agency, Hook & Loop, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/105246">Tape: 5 Charles Phillips, Jr. describes the development of Infor's internal creative agency, Hook & Loop, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/106760">Tape: 6 Charles Phillips, Jr. talks about the growth of Infor since he became CEO</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/106761">Tape: 6 Charles Phillips, Jr. describes Infor's acquisition of Lawson Software in 2011</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/106762">Tape: 6 Charles Phillips, Jr. talks about the percentage of cloud business at Infor</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/106763">Tape: 6 Charles Phillips, Jr. talks about the use of open source databases and operating systems at Infor</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/106764">Tape: 6 Charles Phillips, Jr. talks about the future of big data and automation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/106765">Tape: 6 Charles Phillips, Jr. reflects on his career path</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/106766">Tape: 6 Charles Phillips, Jr. talks about the Phillips Charitable Foundation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/106767">Tape: 6 Charles Phillips, Jr. describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/106768">Tape: 6 Charles Phillips, Jr. talks about the legacy of the post-Civil Rights generation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/106769">Tape: 6 Charles Phillips, Jr. reflects upon his legacy</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$2

DAStory

7$1

DATitle
Charles Phillips, Jr. describes starting his career at the Bank of New York Mellon Corporation on Wall Street
Charles Phillips, Jr. describes his father's opinion of the U.S. Air Force
Transcript
So this is your late twenties too, though.$$Yeah.$$You're still young. How do you end up with the Bank of New York Mellon [Corporation]? I mean, is that your first--$$That was my first job. I didn't know anybody in New York [New York City, New York]. Then, my mother-in-law was living in New York. My wife's [Karen Phillips] family is from the New York area. She said you just need to start applying and see what you can do. So all I did was start writing a bunch of different financial institutions like "I just got out of the Marines, I'd like to come live in New York, I don't have any financial experience but I'm a quick learner. I've learned engineering" and, to my view, it's harder than finance. I think I sent out 200 letters. I got like 190 rejections 'cause people didn't value the military experience at that time and the whole engineering, it just-- especially in New York without any military bases here, they hadn't been around it. It has changed some now, we respect it now. But back then--remember this is--remember this is '80s [1980] when--. People would tell me "You seem like you're so smart, so why would you go to the military if you're that smart?" I said, "Well, you can be smart--it's not oxymoron, people do things for other than money sometimes because they have a commitment," so I had to explain that. And so, it was looking pretty bleak actually and then the Bank of New York, I wrote the guy and said, "Will you meet with me?" He said, "Yes, let me know the next time you're in town." I came to town and had trouble pinning him down, but I finally badgered him into a meeting. I realized as soon as I walked into his office, I waited all day to see him. He had a name plaque on his desk with an eagle, globe, and anchor-- had his last name with an eagle, globe, and anchor next to it, which was the Marine Corp emblem, so I knew his dad was a Marine and that's why he met with me. Once I saw that, I was, "Okay, I know why I'm here. I know I'm going to get this job now," so we start talking and within twenty minutes, we're laughing and talking about everything. He said, "All right, I'll give you a shot." And I said, "That's all I'm asking for a shot, and let me get started, and if I fail, fire me in six months. You'll never hear from me again. I'll work for whatever you think it is. I didn't know what it was worth. You tell me. I'll work for anything. I just want a shot." And he gave it to me. And--$$And you were hired to do what, Charles?$$So he hired me into--they had a mini training program, so I went around to different departments and that lasted about six months. I worked in the credit department, analyzing financial statements, and then he assigned me in the research department for analyzing stocks because I like analyzing things. So I said, "I can do that. I'll figure that out." So I got there. And they weren't sure what to do with me. So I said, "The thing I know about is computers, why don't you let me follow computer stocks and I can tell you a lot about that?" But I didn't know about the stock market. I go, "I don't, but I know the products work and I know why people buy them. I know if they're good or not." That, what seemed to be important because everybody else was an accountant or had some finance thing they were really good at. I said, "Yeah, I'll get to learning the stock market," but none of them could tell you what the products--if the products--that's what I know. And that was the unique thing I had, so they said, "Okay, do that." And the computer industry stock market was just starting. That's when Microsoft [Corporation] was just becoming public. Oracle [Corporation] had just became public, so it was a little side industry, especially the area I specialized in, which was the enterprise area, the more complex software. There were very few people even paying--they were scared of those stocks because they didn't understand them, and they were small companies. No one paid attention to them, so I said, "I'm just going to do that, and I will explain the reason these companies exist, how it's gonna change, I think it's going to be a big industry. Computers are going to be more prevalent. I already knew all that from the last seven years working with the stuff that it was growing in importance, but I didn't how long it would take. But I knew it was going to be big at some point. And a lot of the ways they used to do things on the old, giant computers with the cards and all that stuff--all these new computers because I've been building them, are going to be more powerful and more efficient way to do it, and this is going to get big. And here are the software companies that are going to help automate that, and I'll just do that, and explain to people why that's going to happen, and the shift from mainframes to PCs [personal computers] and all that." And they said, "We don't understand a thing you're saying, but it sounds like you know what you're talking about, so go ahead and do that." So I started basically visiting those companies, writing reports about them, and explaining to investors why they should invest, and then eventually made it to the investment banking firm and started doing the mergers and acquisitions, and seeing how the industry worked. I knew everybody in the industry because that is all I was doing (unclear).$$Now you were at what investment bank firm?$$So I ended up at Kidder, Peabody [& Co.]--(simultaneous)--$$Kidder, Peabody--(simultaneous)--$$--and then to Morgan Stanley.$What, what rank does your father [Charles Phillips, Sr.] have, you know, what rank is he--?$$(simultaneous) He retired a Senior master sergeant [in the U.S. Air Force], which is, for the enlisted, the second highest you can go, so he did pretty well, but he was enlisted though, yeah.$$And so is he--do you ever hear discussions about him being frustrated at all, or, you know, is he of the generation that the service really opened up, you know, a lot of opportunities?$$He is grateful for the opportunity to serve his country and it gave him tremendous opportunities. So, there-- He told me a story that four years into the service, you have to decide whether you want to re-up, or reenlist, and continue; and he came home in his uniform, had some time off for a week. And one of the guys he went to high school with tried to talk him out of reenlisting and said, "Come back here to Clinton, Oklahoma," which really it's only 5,000 people, "and we'll open up a liquor store." And he said, "I thought about it, and I almost did it," and then said, "You know what, there's just gotta be better something. I haven't seen in four years, but there's--but I've seen enough to say, there's other ways of thinking and I want to learn more, and I decided against. I went and re-uped and went back and left." So he goes back, 10 or 15 years later, the guy actually did open a liquor store and, of course, is destitute, barely surviving, like a shack about to fall over, and selling liquor. He said, "You see, that would have been me if I had made that decision and said, "No, I just don't want to make that decision, no I don't want to do that, even though he was one of my best friends, I would have been stuck there for the rest of my life, you know." And so he views that, the fact that he got out through the military as a huge--so do I. I was so glad did. It changed his life. Nonetheless, the fact that that was his only choice is a function of many other things that he obviously not happy about. So it was just this dual feeling. On the one hand, I 'm grateful for this opportunity, and I want to serve my country because they gave me this opportunity; on the other hand, I should have had more opportunity like everybody else did and didn't like the way he was being treated, so--$$So this-- some of this you're hearing around the dinner table and at home.$$Yeah, this conflict and anger, and yet the appreciation of being part of the country, and yet "My country should have treated me better," all those things, you know. All those things were discussed and, you know, I'd tried to understand in a way because we grew up in an environment that I had never seen before and I tried to place myself there and see if I would be as angry, you know.$$So you're hearing a lot about, you know, this person, you know, I didn't get treated right, you know. And then the Marines are--they were still --the Marines were a hard place--you know, we had--well the Montford Point Marines [Montford Point Marine Association]. I think Navy was worse. Navy was worse as a branch of service.$$(simultaneous) Yeah.

Sharon Hall

Corporate chief executive Sharon Hall was born in 1956 in Chicago, Illinois to Barbara and Wallace Hall. She attended Catholic grade school and graduated from Bloom Township High School in Chicago Heights, Illinois in 1974. In 1978, Hall graduated magna cum laude from Morris Brown College with her B.S. degree in business management. She went on to be a Consortium fellow at the University of Southern California, where she earned her M.B.A degree in venture management in 1982.

In 1978, Hall was hired as assistant brand manager at Procter & Gamble. In 1982, she began working as a consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton. She was hired as manager of strategic planning for Pacific markets at Avon in 1984, and by 1992, she worked her way up to being general manager of the Avon’s new business development group. In 1997, Hall was hired at the executive search firm Spencer Stuart, where she became partner in 2001. She is a member of the firm’s human resources and consumer practice specialties. She founded the firm’s Diversity Practice in 1999, and began serving as a global diversity practice leader. Hall became the only African American to ever serve on the board of Spencer Stuart in 2005, and managed the firm’s Atlanta office for five years.

Hall has been widely recognized for her success in business. In 1987, Hall was named an Outstanding International Business Woman by Dollars & Sense Magazine. She was recognized by Avon with its Chairman’s Award in 1990 and 1992. She participated in the 1992 marketing strategy development for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America; and became a board director at the Kansas City Urban League in 1994. Spencer Stuart awarded Hall the Q-Firm Award in 2000. In 2006, she was awarded by Women Worth Watching; and in 2008, she was included on The Essence Power List. Hall was a featured speaker at the 2010 Women on Wall Street Conference, and is a speaker at the 2014 Black Enterprise Women of Power Summit.

Hall has been interviewed or featured in the publications Fortune Magazine, Dollars & Sense Magazine, Business to Business, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and Black Enterprise.

Hall lives in Atlanta, Georgia and has two children, Christopher and Casey.

Sharon Hall was interviewed by The History Makers on February 18, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.027

Sex

Female

Interview Date

2/18/2014

Last Name

Hall

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

Stephanie

Schools

St. Dorothy School

St. Philip Neri Catholic School

St. Gerard Majella School

Hillcrest High School

Bloom High School

Morris Brown College

University of Southern California Marshall School of Business

First Name

Sharon

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

HAL15

Favorite Season

Every Time the Seasons Change

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Cancun, Mexico

Favorite Quote

Know Why You Are Where You Are.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

12/11/1956

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Chocolate

Short Description

Corporate chief executive Sharon Hall (1956 - ) was a partner at Spencer Stuart, where she founded the diversity practice and served as director of the board. She was also a general manager at Avon Products Inc. and a strategist at Booz Allen Hamilton Inc.

Employment

Spencer Stuart

Le Petite Academy

Avon

Booz Allen

Procter & Gamble

Favorite Color

Yellow Orange

Leona Barr-Davenport

Corporate chief executive Leona Barr Davenport was born November 30, 1957 in Hemingway, South Carolina. Her parents, Mary Leona Barr and Luther Rufus Barr, were sharecroppers. They had ten children. After graduating from high school in Johnsonville, South Carolina, Davenport went on to earn her B.S. degree in business administration and economics from Benedict College in 1979, winning the honor of being one of Ebony magazine’s “Campus Queens of 1978-1979.” In 1999, Davenport received the first Dean’s Community Improvement Scholarship from Clark Atlanta University. She earned her M.B.A. degree with a concentration in marketing from Clark Atlanta in 2001.

After college, Davenport dove straight into the world of business, accepting a position as an accounting supervisor at Gencom, Inc. In 1984, she left Gencom and became a senior auditor at Broniec Associates, where she stayed until 1988. Davenport then became an assistant at the Atlanta Business League, an organization originally affiliated with Booker T. Washington that serves as an advocate for businesses owned by African Americans in the Atlanta area. Davenport worked her way to the top of the ABL, becoming president in 1998. She has held the position ever since. In 2009, Davenport accepted a Legacy Award from Spelman College on behalf of the Atlanta Business League.

Davenport has been active in community service throughout her career, starting with her decade-long affiliation with the Southwest Atlanta Youth Business Organization, or SWAYBO, which is sponsored by the Atlanta Business League. Davenport is also a member of Crossroads Community Ministries, which helps the homeless of Atlanta, and the Economic Development Corporation of Fulton County. In 2000, Davenport was honored for her community service by the Concerned Black Clergy of Metropolitan Atlanta during their Salute to Black Mothers Banquet.

Davenport lives in Sharpsburg, Georgia with her husband Jewel L. Davenport.

Leona Barr Davenport was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 12, 2010.

Accession Number

A2010.078

Sex

Female

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

7/12/2010

Last Name

Barr-Davenport

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

Johnsonville High School

Benedict College

Clark Atlanta University

Stuckey School

Archival Photo 2
First Name

Leona

Birth City, State, Country

Hemingway

HM ID

DAV26

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

State

South Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

To Soar To The Height Of Eagles Is To Find A Place Where Few Go And Only The Very Best Can Reach. Therefore, You Should Reach For The Sky.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Interview Description
Birth Date

11/30/1957

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Breakfast Foods

Short Description

Corporate chief executive Leona Barr-Davenport (1957 - ) was the president and CEO of the Atlanta Business League, an organization that served as an advocate for African American businesses in Metro Atlanta.

Employment

GenCom, Inc.

Broniec Associates, Inc.

Atlanta Business League

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638273">Tape: 1 Slating of Leona Barr-Davenport's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638274">Tape: 1 Leona Barr-Davenport lists her favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638275">Tape: 1 Leona Barr-Davenport describes her father's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638276">Tape: 1 Leona Barr-Davenport describes her father's tenure in the U.S. Army Air Forces</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638277">Tape: 1 Leona Barr-Davenport remembers her paternal grandparents</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638278">Tape: 1 Leona Barr-Davenport describes her mother's family background, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638279">Tape: 1 Leona Barr-Davenport describes her mother's family background, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638280">Tape: 1 Leona Barr-Davenport remembers her mother's personality</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638281">Tape: 1 Leona Barr-Davenport describes how she takes after her mother</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638282">Tape: 1 Leona Barr-Davenport describes her father's personality and her likeness to him</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638283">Tape: 1 Leona Barr-Davenport recalls her mother's position as a cook</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638284">Tape: 2 Leona Barr-Davenport describes her earliest childhood memory</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638285">Tape: 2 Leona Barr-Davenport describes the sights of her childhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638286">Tape: 2 Leona Barr-Davenport talks about her parents' experiences as sharecroppers</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638287">Tape: 2 Leona Barr-Davenport describes the sounds and smells of her childhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638288">Tape: 2 Leona Barr-Davenport recalls the crops on her family's farm</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638289">Tape: 2 Leona Barr-Davenport recalls her friendship with her cousins</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638290">Tape: 2 Leona Barr-Davenport describes the process of cultivating tobacco</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638291">Tape: 2 Leona Barr-Davenport recalls her home in Johnsonville, South Carolina</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638292">Tape: 2 Leona Barr-Davenport talks about her birth in Hemingway, South Carolina</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638293">Tape: 2 Leona Barr-Davenport lists her siblings</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638294">Tape: 2 Leona Barr-Davenport describes her parents' emphasis on education</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638295">Tape: 3 Leona Barr-Davenport describes her experiences of school desegregation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638296">Tape: 3 Leona Barr-Davenport recalls her early education</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638297">Tape: 3 Leona Barr-Davenport describes her early influences</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638298">Tape: 3 Leona Barr-Davenport recalls her extracurricular activities</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638299">Tape: 3 Leona Barr-Davenport recalls her role as co-president of her senior class</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638300">Tape: 3 Leona Barr-Davenport remembers the Civil Rights Movement</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638301">Tape: 3 Leona Barr-Davenport recalls the role of religion in her childhood, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638302">Tape: 3 Leona Barr-Davenport recalls the role of religion in her childhood, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638303">Tape: 4 Leona Barr-Davenport remembers Benedict College in Columbia, South Carolina</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638304">Tape: 4 Leona Barr-Davenport describes her extracurricular activities at Benedict College</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638305">Tape: 4 Leona Barr-Davenport recalls her election as Miss Benedict at Benedict College</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638306">Tape: 4 Leona Barr-Davenport remembers being featured in Ebony magazine</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638307">Tape: 4 Leona Barr-Davenport recalls the color bias at Benedict College</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638308">Tape: 4 Leona Barr-Davenport recalls her decision to major in economics</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638309">Tape: 4 Leona Barr-Davenport recalls her influences at Benedict College</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638310">Tape: 4 Leona Barr-Davenport talks about the Vietnam War</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638311">Tape: 4 Leona Barr-Davenport recalls her prospects after college</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638312">Tape: 4 Leona Barr-Davenport talks about sharecropping</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638313">Tape: 4 Leona Barr-Davenport recalls the start of her career in Atlanta, Georgia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638314">Tape: 4 Leona Barr-Davenport remembers joining Broniec Associates, Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638315">Tape: 5 Leona Barr-Davenport describes her tenure at Broniec Associates, Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638316">Tape: 5 Leona Barr-Davenport talks about the discrimination at Broniec Associates, Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638317">Tape: 5 Leona Barr-Davenport recalls joining the Atlanta Business League</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638318">Tape: 5 Leona Barr-Davenport describes her positions at the Atlanta Business League</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638319">Tape: 5 Leona Barr-Davenport talks about the history of the Atlanta Business League</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638320">Tape: 5 Leona Barr-Davenport recalls her challenges as president of the Atlanta Business League</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638321">Tape: 5 Leona Barr-Davenport talks about her achievements at the Atlanta Business League</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638322">Tape: 5 Leona Barr-Davenport reflects upon her accomplishments</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638323">Tape: 5 Leona Barr-Davenport talks about her husband</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638324">Tape: 6 Leona Barr-Davenport recalls earning a master's degree from Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638325">Tape: 6 Leona Barr-Davenport shares her plans for the future</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638326">Tape: 6 Leona Barr-Davenport talks about the leadership programs in Atlanta, Georgia</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638327">Tape: 6 Leona Barr-Davenport reflects upon her life</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638328">Tape: 6 Leona Barr-Davenport reflects upon her legacy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638329">Tape: 6 Leona Barr-Davenport talks about her family</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638330">Tape: 6 Leona Barr-Davenport shares a message to future generations</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638331">Tape: 6 Leona Barr-Davenport talks about the multigenerational effects of discrimination</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638332">Tape: 6 Leona Barr-Davenport describes her organizational involvement</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638333">Tape: 6 Leon Barr-Davenport talks about her involvement in the church</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638334">Tape: 6 Leon Barr-Davenport recalls her affirmative action advocacy</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

7$3

DATitle
Leona Barr-Davenport describes the process of cultivating tobacco
Leona Barr-Davenport recalls her election as Miss Benedict at Benedict College
Transcript
You talked about harvesting tobacco [in Johnsonville, South Carolina], I mean what was that like? I mean tell me, describe to me about that (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) It, it's, it's very interesting and I always tell people you had to be there, but the, the, the way it worked is that and I'll get you to, you planted the crop and then, of course, you had to keep the weeds out and all of that, but when it was time to harvest and typically it started around July, the men would go into, and the rows were perfect, they had to be perfect because the mule and the drag, and the drag is this rectangular kind of contraption that was built that sat about four feet off of the ground, and so as they cropped the leaves that were wiped, and you cropped from the bottom, you would, and the guys as they cropped, they would have to put them under their arm, the leaves under their arm and once they couldn't carry any more, then they would put them in the drag. And so, and they laid them, you didn't dump it because it was a process, so that the driver of the drag would bring the tobacco to the barn. At the barn there were these things that we called horses, but they really weren't horses. It was a contraption that was built where the stick would sit on top and you would string the stick and so you start the stick, you tie the knot at the beginning and you would string, you'd have people that were called handers and they were really handlers I guess. They would actually give you two to three leaves of tobacco. You would string it to the right, string it to the left, so you might have one or two people on each side and this one person that was a stringer and you would string it, and then when you got to the end of the stick, you'd tie it, you would take it into the barn. There were two people typically in the barn that would then take those sticks and hang them. And the barn was about, I guess one or two stories if you will, because there were different levels in the barn where you hang the sticks. Initially you would just hang them on the bottom and then the guys that were inside the barn would then climb up, straddle those, the length of the sticks and they would hang it all the way up to the top, and then once they hung all of the tobacco, the barn was full, then they would cure it and there was a process for curing it over a course of two to three days and so they would cure it until it was the dry tobacco that, that you, if you've ever seen that, you'd have to see it, but it was dry tobacco, and then you would unload the barn, you would take it to the pack house. The pack house was where you sat and then you would separate the leaves based upon the quality. There was a different quality that you put together and you would separate it, and so the better quality, that typically sold better because if it, if it was cured too much, you got very little money for it, but the tobacco company could use it in some form. But it was different levels so once you get all of that ready and then you took it to, to sell it. So it was a very intense process if you think all manual, with the horses, not horses, the mules. Let me be very clear, the mules and the drag process and just everything that went into it. Now one of the things about the tobacco that was really disgusting for, for me in particular, even though you would fertilize it and do what you needed to do to get rid of the insects, there were these big green worms that would grow on it, and it was just a disgusting, I cannot describe, but the thing that was funny about it, is that the boys knew how much the girls really didn't like it and they would try put, put a worm on you, or do, because they would grow larger than a thumb, and it was just, it was just, it's one of those things that you really can't describe, but that was one of the worst aspects of that entire process is the fact that no matter how much they did you could not control that. You know you could control it to some degree because they could actually destroy the crop if you didn't continue, because there's a process also where you would go into the tobacco field while it's still green and remove those worms from the product so that, it was just an interesting, overall an interesting process and it was, you know, very pointed. In fact one of the stories my sister just told me the other night, I think I'd heard but I'd forgotten. My father's youngest brother on the second side of the family, one of his siblings, he was wild, his name was Albert May [Albert Barr (ph.)] and they said Albert, if his father [Benjamin Barr, Sr.] told him go left, Albert went right. It just didn't matter. And his father would tell him don't, "Don't wear those mules out," and Albert May would literally get upon these, this drag, I don't know if he was looking at television or what, but he would straddle the drag and just start driving the mules like a wild man, so here he is in the farm area driving these mules as if he was in some kind of race, and they said that was just, he was just, he was a death, what do you call 'em, you call 'em death defying person, and so he was interesting. I never got to know him, never got to know him. Once he left home he never came back.$While I was there [Benedict College, Columbia, South Carolina], I ran, I decided to run for Miss Benedict college, and I ran for totally a, a reason that had nothing to do with the role. I ran because I wanted to break the cycle of the queen looking a certain way and, and doing all these different things and as I remember, when I decided I wanted to run, no one expected that of me. They expected me to run for student government president because I had served as secretary one year, and, but I decided I wanted to do something out of the box, and so I decided to run for Miss Benedict and people were shocked but I had a soror who, Jocelia Roberts [ph.] was her name. Jocelia could sing the birds out of the trees and they had planned for Jocelia to be Miss Benedict and they thought she should be Miss Benedict because she could sing. Now Jocelia, as it relates to overall looks and all of that, I'm of the darker hue, and she was more in the middle, but people thought that the songbird should get it. Well, fate would have it that Jocelia would travel somewhere that day with, I think it was the Kappa--the Alphas [Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority], and she did not make it back in enough time to qualify, so she did not get on the ballot, so they tried to run a write in campaign. Didn't work. I ended up winning Miss Benedict basically totally different from what people had seen over the years as queens, and I remembered over the holidays before the voting took place, I went home and I said to my mother [Mary Brown Barr], "Is it wrong to pray for something that's not important?" And my mother was always very matter of fact, and she said, "If it's important to you, then it's important," and she walked away. And that was, that was my confirmation, you know. It was something that I wanted to do for a cause. But in going back to the fact that everyone expected me to run for student government president, oh what's Darryl's last name? Darryl's father was the pastor of Bible Way Baptist Church [Bible Way Church of Atlas Road, Columbia, South Carolina], Darryl Gray [ph.], and Darryl Gray is actually a state senator in South Carolina right now, so he's always been aggressive. He was a day student. It was one of the first times that a day student had ever won the title of SGA [Student Government Association] president, but Darryl always dressed for what he wanted to be, and Darryl had heard from someone that I was going to run for SGA president or they thought that I was, so Darryl being the politician that he was, even in school, came to me and said, "Leona [HistoryMaker Leona Barr-Davenport], I don't know if you know, but I'm thinking about running for SGA president." And I said, "Yes I heard that." And he said, "Well I was just wondering if we could run together and you would run for vice president." And I thought to myself, how dare you. If I wanna run, you know, but I didn't tell him, I didn't tell him this. If I wanna run, I'm going to run for SGA president. Well, I said, "Darryl, I'll tell you what, I'm not going to run for SGA president and I'm not going to run for vice president. I'm going to run for Miss Benedict." Darryl said, "Oh great." He never said, you know, exactly why, but I knew he was strategizing what he, what he scheduled a meeting for us to sit down together, so he was glad to know that I was not going to be in his way at all. I ran for Miss Benedict, I won that, and so that was, that was an exciting time.

Louis Jones

Louis Jones is president of Louis Jones Enterprises, Inc. and serves on the Board of Directors for the Black Contractors United. He was born on July 1, 1946 in Hunstville, Alabama to Arthur and Alberta Jones. His father was a farmer and construction worker in the South, but when his family moved to Chicago his father became a baker with the A&P grocery chain factories. Jones attended Tilden Technical High School before earning his Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle in 1973. In 1969, Jones began working for Skidmore, Owings and Merrill architects. In 1973, Jones began working for McKee-Berger-Mansueto as a School Rehab Manager.

In 1975, Jones became a licensed architect and moved to San Francisco, where he worked for a private consulting firm. He moved back to Chicago three years later and began working for Schal Associates. Between 1978 and 1984, Schal Associates built the Avondale Center, Madison Plaza, the Chicago Tribune Printing Plant, and the Magnificent Mile. In 1984, Jones became president of Louis Jones Enterprises, Inc., specializing in engineering, construction, management, consulting, and architecture. The following year, Louis Jones Enterprises, Inc. was part of the $1.7 billion renovation and expansion of O’Hare International Airport. The firm also was hired to work on Provident Hospital in 1990 and McCormick Place in 1997. In 2008, Jones' firm was hired to be part of the team to build the University of Illinois’, the James Stukel Towers student housing complex.

Since 1986, Jones sat on the Board of Directors for Black Contractors United and was elected Chairman of the Board in 1998. He was also selected to serve on the Mayor of Chicago’s Task Force for Minority & Women Business Development in 2005. Jones was a member of the Illinois Capital Development Board and has served as president pro tempore of the Illinois Department of Employment Security Advisory Board.

Louis Jones was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 27, 2010.

Accession Number

A2010.030

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/27/2010

Last Name

Jones

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

Bret Harte Math and Science Magnet Cluster School

Edward Tilden Career Community Academy High School

University of Illinois at Chicago

First Name

Louis

Birth City, State, Country

Huntsville

HM ID

JON23

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Alabama

Favorite Vacation Destination

Fishing

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Florida

Interview Description
Birth Date

7/1/1946

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Estero

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Steak

Short Description

Architect and corporate chief executive Louis Jones (1946 - ) was president of Louis Jones Enterprises, Inc. and served on the board of directors for the Black Contractors United.

Employment

Skidmore Owings & Merrill

McKee, Berger & Mansueto

Schal Associates

Louis Jones Enterprises, Inc.

The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company

Regal Theater

Johnson and Jones Architects

Favorite Color

Navy Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/619532">Tape: 1 Slating of Louis Jones' interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/619533">Tape: 1 Louis Jones lists his favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/619534">Tape: 1 Louis Jones describes his mother's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/619535">Tape: 1 Louis Jones describes his father's family background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/619536">Tape: 1 Louis Jones remembers his paternal uncle, James Jones, Jr.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/619537">Tape: 1 Louis Jones talks about his paternal grandparents</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/619538">Tape: 1 Louis Jones talks about his family's history of enslavement</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/619539">Tape: 1 Louis Jones describes his father's work at The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/619540">Tape: 1 Louis Jones describes his family's community in Huntsville, Alabama</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/619541">Tape: 1 Louis Jones describes his earliest childhood memories</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/619542">Tape: 1 Louis Jones recalls his homes in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/619543">Tape: 2 Louis Jones lists his siblings</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/619544">Tape: 2 Louis Jones describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/619545">Tape: 2 Louis Jones describes his experiences at Bret Harte Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/619546">Tape: 2 Louis Jones recalls his early experiences of religion</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/619547">Tape: 2 Louis Jones recalls his friends at Bret Harte Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/619548">Tape: 2 Louis Jones remembers his near drowning at the Hyde Park YMCA in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/619549">Tape: 2 Louis Jones describes his experiences at Tilden Technical High School in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/619550">Tape: 2 Louis Jones talks about his part time job at the Regal Theater in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/619551">Tape: 3 Louis Jones remembers his extracurricular activities</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/619552">Tape: 3 Louis Jones describes his decision to attend the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/619553">Tape: 3 Louis Jones remembers the assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/619554">Tape: 3 Louis Jones recalls his peers and professors at the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/619555">Tape: 3 Louis Jones talks about the visiting professors at the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/619556">Tape: 3 Louis Jones describes his architectural thesis</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/619557">Tape: 3 Louis Jones talks about his favorite architectural style</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/619558">Tape: 3 Louis Jones describes his part time position at Skidmore, Owings and Merrill LLP in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/619559">Tape: 3 Louis Jones recalls his graduation from the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/619560">Tape: 4 Louis Jones describes his organizational involvement at the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/619561">Tape: 4 Louis Jones describes his duties at Skidmore, Owings and Merrill LLP in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/619562">Tape: 4 Louis Jones remembers meeting his wife</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/619563">Tape: 4 Louis Jones describes his transition to McKee Berger Mansueto, Inc. in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/619564">Tape: 4 Louis Jones describes the role of a construction manager</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/619565">Tape: 4 Louis Jones talks about his construction projects in California and Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/619566">Tape: 4 Louis Jones describes his building projects with Schal Associates, Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/619567">Tape: 4 Louis Jones describes the founding of Louis Jones Enterprises, Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/619568">Tape: 5 Louis Jones talks about his early projects at Louis Jones Enterprises, Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/619569">Tape: 5 Louis Jones talks about the redevelopment of the Provident Hospital of Cook County in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/619570">Tape: 5 Louis Jones recalls his work on the Harold Washington Library in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/619571">Tape: 5 Louis Jones talks about the construction of the McCormick Place South Building in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/619572">Tape: 5 Louis Jones talks about his involvement with the Rainbow PUSH Coalition and the Black Contractors United</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/619573">Tape: 5 Louis Jones talks about his children</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/619574">Tape: 5 Louis Jones talks about the success of Louis Jones Enterprises, Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/619575">Tape: 6 Louis Jones remembers the contracts secured by Louis Jones Enterprises, Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/619576">Tape: 6 Louis Jones describes his current projects at Louis Jones Enterprises, Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/619577">Tape: 6 Louis Jones reflects upon the specialty of Louis Jones Enterprises, Inc.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/619578">Tape: 6 Louis Jones describes his role in the construction of ACE Technical Charter High School in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/619579">Tape: 6 Louis Jones talks about his work at the University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/619580">Tape: 6 Louis Jones talks about his organizational involvement</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/619581">Tape: 6 Louis Jones describes the changes in building design after September 11, 2001</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/619582">Tape: 6 Louis Jones describes the process of building a hospital</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/619583">Tape: 6 Louis Jones describes his concerns for the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/619584">Tape: 6 Louis Jones talks about how he would like to be remembered</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/619585">Tape: 6 Louis Jones reflects upon his life</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/619586">Tape: 7 Louis Jones narrates his photographs</a>

DASession

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DATape

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DAStory

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DATitle
Louis Jones describes the founding of Louis Jones Enterprises, Inc.
Louis Jones recalls his work on the Harold Washington Library in Chicago, Illinois
Transcript
And from Schal [Schal Associates, Inc., Chicago, Illinois], where did you go? And what year was this?$$Well Schal, I came to work for Schal in, in June of 1978 from, from San Francisco [California], and worked on 200 South Wacker [200 South Wacker Drive, Chicago, Illinois], Tribune plant [Freedom Center, Chicago, Illinois]. Then Schal joint ventured with McHugh [James McHugh Construction Company, Chicago, Illinois] and I was the project director for the North Hall of McCormick Place [McCormick Place North Building, Chicago, Illinois]. And that went through a couple iterations where it went way over budget and they, they started trying to pull it back and work on it. And at that time, a friend of mine, Eric Johnson, who I went to school with [at the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle; University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois], we had a side business that was Johnson and Jones Architects [ph.]. So in the evening I would leave Schal, go around the corner and I had the license, I had gotten my architect's license. So I would look at the drawings that were being done, seal them, sign them, go home. So Schal kind of got wind of it. And this was in the era when there was big affirmative action pushes and Harold Washington, you know, was, was, was getting, getting in--in line to be mayor, you know, it was like in eighty--'82 [1982], '83 [1983] or something like that. So we started talking and they became a mentor company and they wanted to ow- hold a third of the deal and we were going to create Louis Jones Enterprises [Louis Jones Enterprises, Inc., Chicago, Illinois]. So I said okay, I don't wanna be accused of fronting for a big white company, so I gotta get somebody to look at this. So Sam Hurley [Samuel Hurley] was first deputy director, he's African American engineer, he's first deputy director of public works for the City of Chicago [Illinois]. And he was also on the city's affirmative action committee. Now they call it affirmative action. So I had Sam look at it. And he said, "Well, I know you Lou [HistoryMaker Louis Jones], I know you from Schal and all that, you know what you're doing, you're for real and all that kind of stuff. So why don't you, you know, move forward with it and see what." So then I turned it over to [HistoryMaker] Earl Neal who gave it to Anne Fredd [Anne L. Fredd] in his office to evaluate.$$Earl Neal was a black attorney?$$Yeah. And then they kind of got Ja- [HistoryMaker] James Lowry involved. And so Lowry help promulgate it as a good mentor protege thing. So I went with it. And so--and the 29th of February it was incorporated as Louis Jones Enterprises. I was living in Oak Park, Illinois and so they had my home address for a while, and then I had a small office at 440 North Wells [Street]. And so that's how I started a company. And we had a five year buyout deal and all that. In about three years, I bought them out because we were, you know, just something we wanted to do. So we started out working on McCormick Place North to bring it back, because they had sort of mothballed the job because the legislature had not funded it. And then the O'Hare Development Program came about. And by the fall of that year, in 1984, when I opened the company, by the fall of that year I had ten employees and they were all working at O'Hare field [Chicago O'Hare International Airport, Chicago, Illinois]. And I had been spending quite a bit of time in the prior year as an employee of Schal and then later on as a consultant helping the team that was doing all the budgeting for the O'Hare Development Program. What is the United terminal [United Airlines Terminal 1] gonna cost. What's the inner outer taxi way relocation and widening gonna be, the second taxi way bridge. Did a lot of analysis and studies and stuff on that. And so Dick Unsulman [ph.] was the executive director of the O'Hare Development Program and he sent out a--like an ultimatum, "Either Lou Jones is full time working with me on the O'Hare program," because he was involved with McCormick Place somehow, "or he's working on McCormick Place, which is it." Well my business and my employees were all at O'Hare, so I moved to the O'Hare thing and let the McCormick Place thing go. And I became deputy director of construction management for the O'Hare Development Program. So all of the facilities stuff, they had a deputy director for facilities and a deputy director for infrastructure. So this guy, Dan Kaiser [ph.], was over all the civil stuff like runways and roads, and stuff like that. And I was over all the buildings, like the terminal buildings, the crash fire rescue stations, that kind of stuff. And within a couple years I had twenty-five or thirty employees out there and me spending full time there when I started to pick up other work was getting to be a strain, so I brought in Joe Doddy [ph.] who's still working out there for somebody else, who's a classmate of mine, to be the deputy director for facilities.$What was the next big project that your, your firm [Louis Jones Enterprises, Inc., Chicago, Illinois] had? You had Provident [Provident Hospital of Cook County, Chicago, Illinois], you had O'Hare [Chicago O'Hare International Airport, Chicago, Illinois]?$$The Harold Washington Library [Harold Washington Library Center, Chicago, Illinois] came up and McCormick Place South [McCormick Place South Building, Chicago, Illinois] in the '90s [1990s]. Both were, were done--they had international design competition design build--they wanted design build. And we teamed with a group that call themselves the SEBUS Group, it was Schal [Schal Associates, Inc., Chicago, Illinois], Epstein [A. Epstein and Sons International, Inc., Chicago, Illinois], U.S. Equities [U.S. Equities Realty LLC; CBRE Group, Inc.] and I forget what the B in there was [Hammond, Beeby and Babka, Inc.; Hammond, Beeby, Rupert, Ainge, Inc., Chicago, Illinois]. But we did something like 10, 15 percent of the deal. We had the union crew that--a construction manager operates sort a like general contractor, they have what they call temporary facilities and controls or general conditions. We had a crew of about fifteen laborers, carpenters and one operator, and Barb [Jones' wife, Barbara M. Jones] went through a lot of people because we insisted on hiring African Americans, and we had some issues with that, and we had to really go to--we actually had to do some stuff. 'Cause I wrote a very ugly letter that everybody asked me to burn or shred because if it got to the Sun-Times [Chicago Sun-Times] or something--'cause I was threatening them that they were mani- manipulating me into laying off black folks and hiring Mexicans and white people unfairly. Because I would put a black carpenter out there and--or a black laborer and, and the, the other firms that were involved wou- would complain that they were, they were too slow, they didn't know what they was doing or something. And I said, you know, you're trying to tell me that a journeyman carpenter doesn't know what he's doing, you know, give me a break, you know. So finally--when you start a construction job there's ebbs and flows. At the beginning there is some site work. They're, they're doing the foundations and stuff and you need some laborers around there to do cleanup. You might have a little bit of safety with a carpenter or whatnot, and maybe those guys will get three weeks work or a couple months work, then they get laid off because there's a lull. And then when that thing starts to come out of the ground and it's a project that's big as Harold Washington Library, then you need a full time cleanup crew and you need a couple of people there to do backup safety where the subcontractors don't do the barriers where people might fall, you know. And if you're the general or you're the construction manager you better see that they're done. And even if it's somebody else's duty and then you just back charge them for it. So we had those kind of people. And so that came to nearly fifteen people, and I think we had one white person and one Hispanic, everybody else was black. And there was always some issue. So finally I wrote a letter and I said, "Look, you know, you've manipulated me into laying off my whole crew and then you call and said you wanted these people back and you recommended its people that wasn't black." "We don't want--we don't want that written down, where are the rest of those letters." And so then the edict came down, leave Lou [HistoryMaker Louis Jones] alone, let him hire the people that, you know, he sees fit, as long as they're doing the job.