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Anthony R. Chase

CEO of ChaseSource LP and Chase Radio Partners Anthony Ray Chase was born on March 17, 1955, in Houston, Texas, to architect John Saunders Chase and teacher Drucie Chase. As a youth, Chase was a high achiever, a Boy Scout and eventually earned the status of Eagle Scout. He attended Lockhart Elementary School and graduated as class valedictorian. He was then recruited as one of the first African Americans to attend Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Virginia.

In 1977, Chase graduated with honors from Harvard University with his B.A. degree in economics and government. Then, in 1981, he earned his M.B.A. and his J.D. degree from Harvard Law School. Upon graduation, Chase returned to Houston and was hired at the investment banking firm of Rotan Mosley. He then moved to New York City where he worked for the investment firm of Donaldson, Lufkin and Jenrette, advising telecommunications and broadcast companies.

In 1990, Chase began teaching communications law and contracts at the University of Houston Law Center, where he has since been awarded tenure. In 1992, he purchased the Dallas-based radio station, KGGR, creating a black gospel radio network. Chase continued to purchase radio stations with formats ranging from country to rap in Texas, Louisiana and California. He then formed an alliance with Clear Channel Communications in San Antonio, Texas. Then, in 1992, Texas Governor Bill Clements appointed Chase to the Board of Regents at Texas Southern University.

Chase went on to found Chase Telecommunications in 1994. However, after three years in the wireless phone industry, he decided to sell his company to a Qualcomm affiliate in 1997. A year later, Chase started Chase Com and began providing both residential and business telecommunications services. Chase Com partnered with SBC Communications and became one of the first agents to offer SBC products and services nationwide. Later, in 1998, in an effort to bridge the digital divide, Chase co-founded the Telecom Opportunity Institute with SBC Communications. In 2000, he became the chief executive officer of Chase Radio Partners. The next year, he co-founded ChaseSource LP to manage the rapidly growing Staffing Solutions Division of ChaseCom. In 2007, ChaseCom was sold to AT&T. Chase is lead director on the board of Cornell, Companies, Inc.; and serves on the boards of Western Gas Partners, LP; Texas Medical Center; and Northern Trust Bank of Texas. He is Vice Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

Chase has received numerous awards and recognitions including: The Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Businessman of the Year Award conferred by the Business and Professional Men’s Club, the Lamont Godwin National Achievement Award from the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, Outstanding Young Businessman Award from Texas Business Magazine, and Bank of America’s Pinnacle Award.

Accession Number

A2008.042

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/10/2008

Last Name

Chase

Maker Category
Middle Name

Ray

Schools

Episcopal High School

Lockhart Elementary School

Harvard Business School

Harvard Law School

Harvard University

Cullen Middle

First Name

Anthony

Birth City, State, Country

Houston

HM ID

CHA09

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Rocky Mountains

Favorite Quote

Try Your Best.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

3/17/1955

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Houston

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken

Short Description

Management consulting entrepreneur and telecommunications entrepreneur Anthony R. Chase (1955 - ) was the CEO of ChaseSource LP and Chase Radio Partners. He was involved in business ventures in the wireless phone industry, the radio broadcasting industry and taught college courses on both law and business.

Employment

Rotan Mosle Inc.

Donaldson, Lufkin and Jenrette

University of Houston Law Center

ChaseSource

Chase Radio Partners

Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Anthony R. Chase's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Anthony R. Chase lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Anthony R. Chase describes his father's U.S. military service and education

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Anthony R. Chase describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Anthony R. Chase describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Anthony R. Chase describes his mother's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Anthony R. Chase talks about his parents' marriage

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Anthony R. Chase describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Anthony R. Chase describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Anthony R. Chase describes his parents' careers

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Anthony R. Chase describes the Riverside Terrace community in Houston, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Anthony R. Chase remembers the Civil Rights Movement in Houston, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Anthony R. Chase describes his early education

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Anthony R. Chase remembers his involvement in the Boy Scouts of America

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Anthony R. Chase recalls his early aspirations

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Anthony R. Chase remembers Cullen Junior High School in Houston, Texas

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Anthony R. Chase describes his parents' civil rights activities

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Anthony R. Chase describes his experiences at Cullen Junior High School

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Anthony R. Chase recalls his recruitment to Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Anthony R. Chase describes his experiences at Episcopal High School

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Anthony R. Chase describes his activities at Episcopal High School

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Anthony R. Chase recalls his aspirations during high school

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Anthony R. Chase recalls returning to Houston, Texas during the summers

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Anthony R. Chase describes his decision to attend Harvard University

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Anthony R. Chase recalls his classmates at Harvard University

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Anthony R. Chase describes his studies at Harvard University

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Anthony R. Chase recalls working at Harvard University's WHUR Radio

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Anthony R. Chase recalls his decision to apply to graduate school

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Anthony R. Chase recalls his joint graduate degree program at Harvard University

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Anthony R. Chase remembers his early career, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Anthony R. Chase remembers his early career, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Anthony R. Chase describes his work at Donaldson, Lufkin and Jenrette

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Anthony R. Chase talks about KGGR Radio in Dallas, Texas

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Anthony R. Chase remembers Herbert P. Wilkins, Sr.

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Anthony R. Chase describes his career in academia and business

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Anthony R. Chase recalls the regulatory reform of the broadcasting industry

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Anthony R. Chase describes his work with AT&T Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Anthony R. Chase remembers the Telecom Opportunity Institute

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Anthony R. Chase talks about his leadership of corporate boards

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Anthony R. Chase talks about his membership on governmental committees

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Anthony R. Chase describes his family

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Anthony R. Chase reflects upon his life

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Anthony R. Chase talks about the black alumni of Harvard Law School

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Anthony R. Chase reflects upon his legacy and how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Anthony R. Chase shares a message to future generations

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$5

DAStory

4$6

DATitle
Anthony R. Chase describes his career in academia and business
Anthony R. Chase describes his work with AT&T Inc.
Transcript
While you are operating these broadcast stations, you're still teaching. Are you still teaching?$$Yeah. I was until, you know, you know, my story is, is--I imagine everyone thinks their story is a little unique, but mine seems so to me. I mean, I bought the first station [KGGR Radio, Dallas, Texas] in '92 [1992]. And, then between '92 [1992] and '97 [1997] bought about a dozen more. During that same period, you know, I was, you know, a real communications entrepreneur, so somewhere about '95 [1995] I got involved in an auction to buy Spectrum [Spectrum Cellular Corporation, Dallas, Texas] from the federal government of which to offer cell phone service. And a business that I sold to Qualcomm in 1998. That business actually became Cricket phone [Cricket Wireless LLC] today which is, is--and, so, I went on, and so I was on the board of directors for Cricket until about a year ago, for the last ten or twelve years. And, then around '97 [1997] or so, I started a call center company that end up doing customer service principally for AT&T [AT&T Inc.], and that I sold to AT&T in December of last year. So, really, the businesses that I was involved in were three. There were the broadcasting, the radio broadcasting business. I owned one television station during that time, but it really wasn't significant in the, in the mix. And, then I owned a, started really, a cell phone service provider which is Cricket phone today. And, then I started this customer service business, which, which we just sold to AT&T. So, it really was the combination of those three business over the last fifteen years that I've spent the majority of my time prosecuting. And, and I did start, I was teaching full-time when I first bought that first radio station. Along around '94 [1994] I got tenure at the law school [University of Houston Law Center, Houston, Texas]. And, really, when I got tenured, I went to the dean and sugg- and thought that, you know, I had a few employees then and I had travel to do and other things that were, were occupying my time, and so I asked for a leave. And, I went on leave really until, until this semester. I sold, as I mentioned, I sold that last company to AT&T December, two or three months ago. And so, I went back to teach with tenure in 1994.$$So, in 1994, okay, well, let's go to '95 [1995], you publish an article, 'Race, Culture and Contract Law' ['Race, Culture, and Contract Law: From the Cottonfield to the Courtroom,' Anthony R. Chase]?$$Right.$$Can you talk to me about that?$$Sure. Sure. I published an article in the University of Connecticut Law Review [Connecticut Law Review] called, 'Race, Culture and Contract Law.' It really was about--contract law has always fascinated me, and I in part, and history it fascinated me as I sort of describing some of my courses that I particularly enjoyed in college [Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts]. And, one of the things that was always of great interest was, now, how bargains are made. And, the fact that, at least during slavery, people were the subject of bargains, or property and traded back and forth. And so, understanding that dynamic was important to me. And, I also had an interest in understanding the dynamic of people who were different at the bargaining table. So, you know, and whether or not it made a difference if you were a woman bargaining for, you know, your car to be fixed or whether you were bargaining, you're a black person bargaining to buy a radio station. Or, you know, whether those things made a tangible difference in the negotiation dynamic at the bargaining table. And, I, and you know, I think, you know, I think there's evidence and indication that in fact they do. And how you account for that and counteract that has always been of, not only sort of scholarly and academic interest, but practical interest as well.$So, you said, opportunities and great deals came your way like the AT&T [AT&T Inc.] deal.$$Yep.$$What, what else? Well, describe what did that mean to you, AT&T deal? Describe that to me.$$You know, it was incredible. I mean, you know, it was just incredible. I was--I think it's fair to say that my company was the premier, certainly minority vendor. But, maybe even vendor in a way. Vendor, partner to AT&T for ten years. You know, I talk to the chairman of AT&T once a month probably for ten years. You know, we were on just, you know, a whole host of topics, you know, political, and business, and legal. And, we were really in their fraternity of, of close associates. And it really made a huge difference. It made a huge difference in the opportunities that were made available to us; the capital that was made available to us; the types of employees that we had the opportunity to hire; the types of facilities that we operated from; the types of opportunities that we had the opportunity to look at. It was nothing short of incredible.$$And, ChaseCom [ChaseCom L.P.; ChaseSource], is that the company that you're talking about?$$Yep.$$So, that was formed in, or founded in 1998?$$Yeah, technically December of '97 [1997]. But, yes, it was, it was founded in December of '97 [1997], and sold to AT&T in a cash transaction in December of 2007. So--$$For how much?$$Exactly ten years. A lot (laughter).$$(Laughter).$$A lot. We did pretty good on that one.$$Now, the time that you, you had a twenty-year contract to sell, SBC Telecom [SBC Telecom, Inc.] equipment?$$Well, you really have done your homework. Yeah. We had, we had, what happened was, was that back in December of 2007, Southwestern Bell Corporation invested $20 million in ChaseCom really to help us, to give us, to provide us the resources to become their number one customer service partner. And, and we did. And, Southwestern Bell turned into SBC [SBC Communications, Inc.] and SBC bought AT&T, and the smallest Regional Bell Operating Company became the biggest telecommunication company in the world over the next ten years, and we happened to grow right along with 'em. And, they became the largest telecommunications company in the world largely by acquisition and by being opportunistic, and we were, you know, right there through all of that growing right along with them and it was great.$$But, ChaseCom was unique. How was it unique?$$At the end of the day we were unique because we were the only company who could process an order in the AT&T system that was not owned by AT&T. And that gave us a tremendous leg up because we were not unionized and they were. And, so, we could process an order cheaper than they could. And, it was a wonderful thing.$$And, you specialize in several languages. Is that right?$$Yep. We did all the customer, mostly customer service work for all of their California, and Nevada operations as well as their Ameritech [Ameritech Corporation; AT&T Teleholdings, Inc.] Midwest operations, and as a result we, we not only did business in English but in Spanish, as well as several Asian dialects.

Emmit J. McHenry

Emmit J. McHenry is founder, chairman, and CEO of Enterprise Magazine’s 10th ranked African American-owned business, NetCom Solutions International, Inc. He was born in Forrest City, Arkansas, on July 12, 1943, the grandson of a minister. Growing up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, McHenry attended Stewart Elementary School, Carver Middle School and Booker T. Washington High School. After graduating in 1962, he went on to receive his B.S. in communications from the University of Denver in 1966. He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, where he attained the rank of lieutenant. McHenry would go on to Northwestern University, where in 1979 he earned his M.S. degree in communications. Here, he would also complete the qualifying examinations for a doctorate.

McHenry held various management positions with IBM, Connecticut General, Union Mutual and AllState Insurance Company. He served on several insurance industry committees and was a founding member of the American Productivity Management Association. He then founded Network Solutions, Inc. the internet domain services provider, and in 1995, he founded NetCom Solutions International, a telecommunications, engineering, consulting, and technical services company. The company has received awards for excellent service from IBM, NASA and Lucent Technologies with revenues of $260 million and over 200 employees in Chantilly, Virginia and Oklahoma City.

Today, McHenry serves as chairman of VisuTel, a broadband telecommunications company. McHenry is on the executive committee of the Council on Competitiveness, the board of directors for NetCom Solutions International, Ltd. (UK), and chairs the governance committee for the Phelps Stokes Fund. He is on the advisory board of DECIS Technology and is former chairman of the board of LearnCity, Inc. McHenry has also served on the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, the State of Virginia Economic Development Authority and the board of directors for James Martin Government Intelligence. He has also chaired the board of directors of NeCom Solutions South Africa.

McHenry’s business engagements have taken him to Africa, Europe and Asia.

Accession Number

A2003.280

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/22/2003

Last Name

McHenry

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

J.

Organizations
Schools

Booker T. Washington High School

Stewart Elementary School

George Washington Carver Middle School

First Name

Emmit

Birth City, State, Country

Forrest City

HM ID

MCH01

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Arkansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Colorado

Favorite Quote

Life Is A Becoming Process. Clarity Is Power.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

7/12/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Curried Vegetables

Short Description

Telecommunications chief executive and telecommunications entrepreneur Emmit J. McHenry (1943 - ) is the founder, chairman and CEO of NetCom Solutions International, Inc., a telecommunications, engineering, consulting and technical services company.

Employment

IBM

Connecticut General

Union Mutual

Allstate Insurance Company

Network Solutions, Inc.

Netcom Solutions International

Visutel, Inc.

Favorite Color

Orange

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Emmit J. McHenry's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Emmit J. McHenry lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Emmit J. McHenry describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Emmit J. McHenry talks about his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Emmit J. McHenry talks about healers and readers in his family

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Emmit J. McHenry talks about his paternal grandmother, his mother, and care from the community

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Emmit J. McHenry describes his father and how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Emmit J. McHenry talks about growing up between Arkansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma and his early desire to go to college

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Emmit J. McHenry recalls his childhood interests and activities

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Emmit J. McHenry recalls grade school and his favorite teachers

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Emmit J. McHenry recalls going to Carver Middle School in Tulsa, Oklahoma

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Emmit J. McHenry describes his community in Tulsa, Oklahoma

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Emmit J. McHenry talks about the history of Deep Greenwood, Oklahoma

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Emmit J. McHenry talks about the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Emmit J. McHenry describes his involvement with youth politics in Oklahoma

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Emmit J. McHenry talks about playing music and football as well as his decision to attend the University of Denver in Denver, Colorado

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Emmit J. McHenry describes his experience at Booker T. Washington High School in Tulsa, Oklahoma

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Emmit J. McHenry talks about attending the University of Denver in Denver, Colorado and the black student population there

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Emmit J. McHenry describes his undergraduate experience at the University of Denver in Colorado, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Emmit J. McHenry talks about HistoryMaker Cleo Parker Robinson

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Emmit J. McHenry describes his undergraduate experience at the University of Denver in Colorado, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Emmit J. McHenry talks about working for IBM in Denver, Colorado after graduating from the University of Denver

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Emmit J. McHenry talks about being drafted into the Vietnam War and joining the U.S. Marine Corps

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Emmit J. McHenry talks about going to Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois for graduate school

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Emmit J. McHenry talks about moving to Maine to work for Union Mutual

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Emmit J. McHenry recalls starting Network Solutions as a four-person company

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Emmit J. McHenry describes his work with Allstate Insurance Company

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Emmit J. McHenry remembers being promoted to regional vice president for the Northwest at Allstate Insurance Company

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Emmit J. McHenry talks about strategizing to give African Americans opportunities at Allstate Insurance Company

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Emmit J. McHenry talks about a meeting at Allstate Insurance Company with other black executives to establish a support system for black executives

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Emmit J. McHenry talks about his decision to leave Allstate Insurance Company to focus on his business, Network Solutions

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Emmit J. McHenry describes Network Solutions' role as sole registrar for internet domain names in the early 1990s

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Emmit J. McHenry reflects on selling Network Solutions

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Emmit J. McHenry talks about his current business operations, NetCom Solutions International and VisuTel

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Emmit J. McHenry describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Emmit J. McHenry reflects upon having grown up in poverty

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Emmit J. McHenry considers his legacy, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Emmit J. McHenry considers his legacy, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Emmit J. McHenry considers what he might have done differently

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Emmit J. McHenry describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Emmit J. McHenry narrates his photographs

DASession

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DATitle
Emmit J. McHenry talks about moving to Maine to work for Union Mutual
Emmit J. McHenry talks about strategizing to give African Americans opportunities at Allstate Insurance Company
Transcript
Okay, all right. So well, how long you do that?$$Well, I do that for a couple of years, in the process of doing that, I'm recruited away. One of the guys who knew the work I done at Connecticut General [Life Insurance Company, later merged with Insurance Company of North America to form Cigna] in terms of some change agent stuff, asked me to come up to Maine, because for the first--there's a company there, Union Mutual [later UNUM Life Insurance Company of America], for the first time in a 121 years, had lost money, and they were desperate to do something different. So I said, guy's name is Bill, I said, "Bill, do they know that I am a black guy" that, he said, "it doesn't matter man, we got some challenges here and-- "How many black folk in Maine?" "Well, if you're here that will be you, there will be a few other folk," you know, what the heck, I'm married by now. So I go to Maine and going on the weekend, the president and the chief executive officer meet with me on a Saturday morning. They tell me their story, I tell them my story and they make me an offer. Now what I didn't tell you is that while I'm in graduate school [at Northwestern University School of Communication, Evanston, Illinois], I had my own consulting practice, I mean Roy Woods had turned some of his clients to me, and I developed my own clients, I'm making fifty thousand dollars a year as a graduate student. To go to Maine, they're gonna pay me like forty-two thousand dollars a year, I'm taking a substantial cut, but the challenge was interesting. And so I move to Maine and I lived there for seven years, the longest I'd lived any place and it was a wonderful experience. We took and reorganized the company together with the CEO, who's a very interesting guy. I was the only black executive in the company, and for my first couple years, I was the only black person in corporate headquarters, always intriguing. Though was able to get involved the community, you know. House became kind of a meeting place for parts of the black community in Portland [Maine]; it was a good experience, yeah. It's enriching, and Maine, like Colorado, was a unique kind of environment, I mean the winters were long but the summers were perfect and I enjoyed it. I spent a lot of time in New York, but I always traveled so I traveled a lot, based on the work, because Union Mutual had a national presence and part of my job was to be out and about and looking at what was happening in the rest of the country.$$Okay. Anything happened in Maine that you want to tell us about, a note?$$What a note in Maine.$$A lot of black people have not been to Maine (laughing) just a general observation.$$Yeah. I think well it's in the far Northeast, you know, and you got through Massachusetts and New Hampshire to get there, and so that's reason. It was interesting, this is before, of course President [George H.W.] Bush put it on the map for Kennebunk [Maine], but we used to all--me and the family and I would go to Kennebunk [Maine] and Kennebunkport [Maine] and Algonquin [sic, Ogunquit, Maine] in the summer and hang out, and thoroughly enjoy what Maine had to offer. I think one of the interesting things there was being the only black person in the company, I think, one of the interesting--I had a chance to impact opportunities for women in the company that were already there. And I think we did some good work there, promoting and seeing that women got promoted. And that later opened up opportunities in the field for black folk as well, I think. There were black folk in the company, but they were in cities like Los Angeles [California], Chicago [Illinois], but not in Maine itself.$$Okay.$$I thought that was good experience, it was wonderful to be able to host the black community in Maine. 'Cause a lot of folks were multi-generational in Maine, you know, who been there forever. Or people who come up and the [U.S.] Military in the [U.S.] Air Force, there's an Air Force base in Maine [Loring Air Force Base], and decide they're going to stay. Not a lot of folks, but a few folks like that, so it's really interesting to get to be a part of that and participate and supporting a black theater group that was opened to the broader community, that sort of thing, it was an enriching experience.$$Okay, alright. So your home becomes kind of a focal point for the community.$$It becomes a place where people can come and gather, yeah.$Yeah, one of the pieces that--we're talking about Allstate [Insurance Company], and it's probably worth nothing, you know, often people in corporate America, particularly minority group folk, are nervous about promoting each other or working at developing each other or taking risks on each other. We did something very unusual, because of my role, in fact that I was involved in coach quotes, helping bring about some changes. I knew a lot about what was going on and during the period I developed, what I called the twenty minute presentation. There's nothing I couldn't present in twenty minutes, and if--and there's no meeting that people expect to end in twenty minutes. So if I make a presentation to you in twenty minutes, I'm going to tell you the purpose and the desired outcome and the process for getting the outcome, basically. If I do that in twenty minutes, following that then, there's a lot of other stuff for us to talk about. And people tend to open up and talk about what's on their minds at that point. So I was lucky to be in a position where I understood and knew the corporate strategy on the corporate issues. Understanding that, I begin to observe that black folk who manage other black folk were rarely taking risks of promoting black folk beneath them. I think in part the concern was that ooh favoritism, so I--(simultaneous)$$So they went out to out of the way to be unblack actually?$$Well not always unblack but I don't want to be that harsh, but cautious, cautious is the term I'd use. Now remember that I got this other business [Network Solutions] that's going, that I'm spending all my weekends and stuff trying to do, so I'm pretty secure guy. I don't know what would have happened if I'd been in a different position. Though I think it would be my nature to do what I did anyway, I decided that it was time for some of the black folk who had positions of power to use those. And I arranged to have a group--I got with my friend Chuck Martin, and told Chuck what I was thinking and he agreed. And we arranged a group of black folk, managers from all over the country, to come and meet one Saturday morning in Chicago [Illinois] at the United Airlines Terminal in the executive area [at Chicago O'Hare International Airport, Chicago, Illinois]. And what we did was talked about what we could do, what our aspirations were and how we could work together and support each other and those below us in achieving. And indeed almost to a person, I can think of only one person in that group whose aspirations weren't achieved. And I can think of no one that we had identified that didn't get promoted in the next two years to a senior position. We did it very quietly; in fact this is the first, second public discussion ever of it. The first public discussion occurred at a retirement, because all the senior white executives had been involved in the process who were around at the time had already retired, and we kind of talked openly at one black executive's retirement about what we had done and why. The fascinating thing about this, after I left Allstate, I went back maybe five years later and--three or five years later. I was walking the hall and I'd run into these young black folk who didn't even acknowledge each other, didn't even speak and I felt, they felt that they've gotten here just on their own, not realizing that a lot of work had been down both tactically and strategically to create a place that would trap people like them, that would be open to that. So that's one of the things I feel best about in my corporate careers what we did at Allstate. And if you look at the black executives at Allstate today, they really significant, and have real power and they use that. Not probably even having any idea of what went before or the work that was done to make sure that could happen, yeah, interesting story.

William Bonaparte, Jr.

Entrepreneur William Bonaparte, Jr., was born in Chicago, Illinois, on December 11, 1942. Growing up in the South Side neighborhood of Princeton Park, Bonaparte was inspired to achieve by his seventh-grade teacher Barbara Sizemore. While in school, Bonaparte was also active in music, playing in the Bobby Blue Band, a local jazz ensemble. Bonaparte went on to attend Wilson Junior College, and then Chicago Technical College.

Bonaparte went to work for Illinois Bell in 1963, becoming the first African American PBX (Private Business Exchange) installer ever hired by the company. While with Illinois Bell, in 1968, Bonaparte was promoted to foreman of operations in the Loop, Chicago's busy financial district. By 1971, Bonaparte was working in a management role, and in 1976, he graduated from the Milwaukee School of Engineering with a degree in electrical engineering. In 1984, Bonaparte left Illinois Bell for AT&T, where he became area manager of Chicago south services.

Bonaparte went into business for himself in 1986, capitalizing on the court-ordered breakup of Bell Telephone System; he formed Bonaparte Connections, a wiring company, to fill the void left by Bell. In 1991, Bonaparte founded Bonaparte Corporation, an electrical contracting firm. From that point on, Bonaparte watched sales steadily climb, grossing more than $8.5 million in 1996. In 1999, Bonaparte founded Bonaparte Properties, a restoration contracting firm.

Bonaparte was active in the community as well, serving on the executive board of the Electrical Contractors Association; the board of the Cosmopolitan Chamber of Commerce; and as chairman of Rotary/One Chicago. Bonaparte also served as a member of the Chicago Minority Business Development Council; the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce; and the Executives Club of Chicago. Bonaparte received the Cosmopolitan Chamber of Commerce and Kennedy-King College Small Business of the Year Award; the AT&T Keystone Award for Excellence; and was a finalist for the Ernst & Young LLP Entrepreneur of the Year Award for High Technology.

Accession Number

A2003.151

Sex

Male

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

7/9/2003

Last Name

Bonaparte

Maker Category
Organizations
Archival Photo 2
First Name

William

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

BON02

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Fishing, Whale Watching

Favorite Quote

Life is a series of one-day events. You have to live each one.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

12/11/1942

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Telecommunications entrepreneur William Bonaparte, Jr. (1942 - ) was the first African American Private Business Exchange installer ever hired by Illinois Bell. He later formed Bonaparte Connections, a wiring company, and Bonaparte Properties, a restoration contracting firm.

Employment

Illinois Bell Telephone Company

AT&T

Bonaparte Corporation

Favorite Color

Black, Green

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - William Bonaparte slating

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - William Bonaparte's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - William Bonaparte talks about his family history

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - William Bonaparte recalls some family stories about surviving slavery

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - William Bonaparte talks about his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - William Bonaparte discusses his parents and how they moved to Chicago from Arkansas

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - William Bonaparte retells the story of his parents' migration to Chicago

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - William Bonaparte discusses his mother's education in Arkansas

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - William Bonaparte discusses his mother's work as a domestic

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - William Bonaparte talks about his mother's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - William Bonaparte recalls his father, WIlliam Bonaparte Sr.

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - William Bonaparte recalls the sights and sounds of his childhood neighborhood

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - William Bonaparte describes his home, Princeton Park

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - William Bonaparte remembers his early years as a boy

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - William Bonaparte reveals how his seventh grade teacher changed his life

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - William Bonaparte recounts playing drums with Bobby "Blue" Bland as a teen

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - William Bonaparte describes racially volatility during high school

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - William Bonaparte recalls his daily high school life at Harlan High

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - William Bonaparte graduates from high school and faces disappointment at not being able to afford college

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - William Bonaparte learns to make it on his own

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - William Bonaparte experiences racism in the integrated Army

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - William Bonaparte is attacked by white Catholic church parishoners in town

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - William Bonaparte recounts a harrowing tale of incarceration in a racist town

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - William Bonaparte misses the boat to Germany

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - William Bonaparte recalls the horrors of Vietnam

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - William Bonaparte returns to Chicago and more racial discrimination

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - William Bonaparte continues his story of being hired by Illinois Bell

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - William Bonaparte details the difficulties of being the first black PBX installer

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - William Bonaparte uses the discrimination at Illinois Bell to his advantage

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - William Bonaparte is thrown through a plate glass window

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - William Bonaparte contemplates quitting his job

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - William Bonaparte recalls the great changes at Illinois Bell

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - William Bonaparte begins delving into black culture as part of the larger American culture

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - William Bonaparte discusses Lu Palmer's radio show and relationship with Illinois Bell

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - William Bonaparte conjectures why Ilinois Bell cancelled sponsorship of Lu Palmer's radio show

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - William Bonaparte speaks to the larger problem of racism in corporate relations

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - William Bonaparte details the breakup of Illinois Bell and the formation of AT&T

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - William Bonaparte discovers his entrepreneurial side

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - William Bonaparte on his decision to leave Illinois Bell

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - William Bonaparte continues on his departure from Illinois Bell

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - William Bonaparte recalls his first years as an entrepreneur

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - William Bonaparte recalls his first major job with the State of Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - William Bonaparte describes some struggles as a black entrepreneur

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - William Bonaparte details the many successes of the Bonaparte Corporation

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - William Bonaparte describes the mentoring project with the Commercial Club of the City Committee.

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - William Bonaparte shares his formula for successful entrepreneurship

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - William Bonaparte discusses the relationship with his elementary school, Gillespie

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - William Bonaparte details the improvements made to the GIllespie School

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - William Bonaparte describes his latest real estate management venture

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - William Bonaparte offers his prescription for the ailments of black america

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - William Bonaparte continues to share his vision of the future of black america

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - William Bonaparte discusses future plans for his business

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - William Bonaparte contemplates what his legacy will be

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - William Bonaparte wants to be remebered as a man who cared

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Photo - William Bonaparte at age 8

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Photo - William Bonaparte at MIT

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Photo - William Bonaparte's relatives

Tape: 6 Story: 12 - Photo - William Bonaparte's Sunday School

Tape: 6 Story: 13 - Photo - Matthew Bonaparte, age 9

Tape: 6 Story: 14 - Photo - William Bonaparte with his siblings

Tape: 6 Story: 15 - Photo -William Bonaparte, age 2

Tape: 6 Story: 16 - Photo -William Bonaparte in elementary school

Tape: 6 Story: 17 - Photo - Lucy Bonaparte

Tape: 6 Story: 18 - Photo - William Bonaparte with President Clinton and Sen. Dick Durbin

Tape: 6 Story: 19 - Photo - William Bonaparte poses with Lerone Bennett

Tape: 6 Story: 20 - Photo - William Bonaparte in elementary school, 1951

Tape: 6 Story: 21 - Photo - William Bonaparte and the Junior Acheivement group

Tape: 6 Story: 22 - Photo - William Bonaparte with astronaut Guion Bluford

Tape: 6 Story: 23 - Photo - William Bonaparte and Chicago Mayor Daley

Tape: 6 Story: 24 - Photo - William Bonaparte in the U.S. Army

Tape: 6 Story: 25 - Photo - William Bonaparte and his former business partner George Spect

Tape: 6 Story: 26 - Photo - William Bonaparte and President Bill Clinton in 1999

Tape: 6 Story: 27 - Photo - William Bonaparte's high school graduation photo

Tape: 6 Story: 28 - Photo - William Bonaparte with fellow Illinois Bell black managers

Tape: 6 Story: 29 - Photo - William Bonaparte with Chicago Mayor Harold Washington

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Photo - William Bonaparte as Napoleon Bonaparte

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Photo - William Bonaparte and Jerry Butler

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Photo - William Bonaparte at an Arkansas honky tonk

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Photo - William Campbell poses with U.S. Representative, Dick Gephardt

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Photo - William Bonaparte with New Orleans Mayor, Mark Morial

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Photo - William Bonaparte with Jesse Jackson, Sr.

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Photo - WIlliam Bonaparte poses with Cook Cty. Board president and HistoryMaker, John Stroger

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Photo - William Bonaparte poses with Vernon Jordan

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Photo - William Bonaparte and singer Smokey Robinson

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Photo - Illinois Sentors Carol Moseley-Braun and Dick Durbin pose with William Bonaparte

Tape: 7 Story: 11 - Photo - William Bonaparte, actress Kim Fields and U.S. Congressman Bobby Rush

Tape: 7 Story: 12 - Photo - William Bonaparte with Hillary Clinton and Carol Moseley-Braun

Tape: 7 Story: 13 - Photo - U.S. Senator Paul Simon and William Bonaparte

Tape: 7 Story: 14 - Photo - William Bonaparte, Cook County Board President John Stroger and Illinois House leader, Michael Madigan

Tape: 7 Story: 15 - Photo - Vice president Al Gore with William Bonaparte

Tape: 7 Story: 16 - Photo - William Bonaparte poses with fellow HistoryMaker, Julian Bond

Tape: 7 Story: 17 - Photo - Danny Glover visits William Bonaparte

Tape: 7 Story: 18 - Photo - William Bonaparte with his favorite 7th grade teacher, Barbara Sizemore

Tape: 7 Story: 19 - Photo - Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley poses with William Bonaparte

Tape: 7 Story: 20 - Photo - William Bonaparte at a DuSable Museum event

Tape: 7 Story: 21 - Photo -William Bonaparte's grandchildren

Tape: 7 Story: 22 - Photo - Dempsey Travis and William Bonaparte in 1999