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Betty Francis

Government lawyer and state government administrator Betty Hager Francis was born and raised in Washington, D.C. Her father, William Henry Hager, was a supply clerk for the United States Department of Treasury and a part-time carpenter, while her mother, Helen Brown Hager, was a homemaker and owner of a catering business. Francis and her siblings were raised in a devout Catholic home. Her childhood neighborhood exposed her to prominent African Americans such as Charles Houston and Edward Brooke, III, whose niece, Peggy Amos, was Francis’ best friend. In 1963, Francis graduated from high school at the Sacred Heart Academy where she headed the student council.

Francis attended Howard University on a four-year academic scholarship while also working in the Capitol Hill office of Indiana Senator Birch Bayh. She took a year off from college to work on the 1966 United States Senate campaign of Edward Brooke, III in Boston, Massachusetts. Francis got married shortly before graduating from Howard with her B.A. degree in political science in 1967. She then returned to Boston to work at Harvard University's Astrological Observatory. In 1971, she began working at the Harvard University Press, where her boss persuaded her to go to law school. She attended Suffolk University Law School at night, earning her J.D. degree in 1980.

From 1980 to 1981, Francis worked on family and probate cases as an attorney for Greater Boston Legal Services. She then worked at the Boston Housing Authority where she handled landlord-tenant disputes, civil rights issues and labor and personnel cases. In 1984, she was appointed Deputy Chief Counsel for the Massachusetts Department of Public Works. Three years later then-Governor Michael Dukakis appointed her Associate Commissioner of Massachusetts Department of Public Works. Francis directed the maintenance and operation of roads and bridges and worked on a variety of other transportation issues, including the multi-billion dollar project to build the Central Artery/Third Harbor Tunnel (also known as "The Big Dig"). She also served as Chief Administrative Law Judge in that agency. Francis was elected the first President of the Northeast Association of State Transportation Officials, serving from 1988-1994.

In 1991, Washington, D.C. Mayor Sharon Pratt Kelly appointed Francis as Director of Public Works, making her the first woman to hold this position. She received particular recognition for improvements to vehicle registration and parking management; for the initiation of curbside recycling; and for the successful reengineering and delivery of snow removal services within the District. Francis was named Director of Prince George's County, Maryland's Department of Public Works and Transportation in 1995. She was the first African American and the first woman to hold the position in the County's history. She led a dramatic increase in capital investment in the County’s transportation infrastructure, the development of its regional and community-based transit services and significant improvements in land development and emergency response operations. She served in this post until 2004. Francis has three children and two grandchildren.

Betty Francis was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 18, 2004.

Accession Number

A2004.052

Sex

Female

Interview Date

5/18/2004

Last Name

Francis

Maker Category
Schools

Park View Elementary School

Sacred Heart School

Suffolk University Law School

Howard University

First Name

Betty

Birth City, State, Country

Washington

HM ID

FRA04

Favorite Season

Spring

State

District of Columbia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Turks And Caicos Islands

Favorite Quote

Get Over Yourself.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

1/11/1946

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Steak, Potatoes (Mashed)

Short Description

State government administrator Betty Francis (1946 - ) worked as an attorney for the Boston Housing Authority, was appointed Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Works, Director of Public Works in Washington, D.C., and Director of Prince George's County, Maryland's Department of Public Works and Transportation.

Employment

United States Senate

Campaign of Edward W. Brooke for U.S. Senator of Massachusetts

Harvard University College Observatory

Harvard University Press

Greater Boston Legal Services

Boston Housing Authority

Massachusetts. Dept. of Public Works

District of Columbia Department of Public Works

Prince George's County (Md.). Dept. of Public Works and Transportation

Hager Management Group, LLC

Favorite Color

Yellow

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Betty Francis' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Betty Francis lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Betty Francis describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Betty Francis describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Betty Francis talks about her ancestors and her parents' courtship

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Betty Francis describes her earliest childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Betty Francis describes her siblings and daily life during her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Betty Francis describes her childhood neighborhood of Petworth in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Betty Francis describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Betty Francis describes her experiences in elementary school in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Betty Francis describes her junior high school years at Sacred Heart School in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Betty Francis describes her religious upbringing in the Roman Catholic faith

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Betty Francis describes her high school experiences at Sacred Heart Academy in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Betty Francis describes her experiences at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Betty Francis talks about her parents' pride in her academic achievements

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Betty Francis describes working on the 1966 U.S. Senate campaign of HistoryMaker The Honorable Edward Brooke

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Betty Francis talks about her impressions of the Civil Rights Movement and her ambitions

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Betty Francis talks about graduating from Howard University in 1968 and moving to Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Betty Francis talks about her experiences at Suffolk University Law School in Boston

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Betty Francis describes her first jobs as a lawyer

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Betty Francis talks about her tenure at the Massachusetts Department of Public Works

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Betty Francis talks about her tenure as director of public works for Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Betty Francis talks about her tenure at the Department of Public Works in Prince George's County, Maryland

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Betty Francis reflects on her achievements in her career in transportation administration

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Betty Francis considers the benefits and pitfalls of working with elected officials

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Betty Francis describes recent trends in the transportation industry

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Betty Francis talks about future plans for her career

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Betty Francis talks about the adult lives of her siblings Beryl and William

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Betty Francis reflects on her relationships with family and friends

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Betty Francis considers her aspirations and things she wishes she had done differently

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Betty Francis describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Betty Francis describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Betty Francis talks about why she believes history is important

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Betty Francis considers the legacy of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954)

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Betty Francis offers advice for those looking to work in the transportation industry

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Betty Francis reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Betty Francis narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$3

DAStory

2$5

DATitle
Betty Francis describes her first jobs as a lawyer
Betty Francis talks about her tenure at the Department of Public Works in Prince George's County, Maryland
Transcript
And after law school [Suffolk University Law School, Boston, Massachusetts], what was next for you?$$After law school, I had a series of--I left Harvard University Press [Cambridge, Massachusetts] where I learned to edit. I could edit with the best of 'em, 'cause I really did learn from the best about how to edit. So in 1980 I went first to Greater Boston Legal Services [Boston, Massachusetts] in the Family Law Unit. And in the Family Law Unit we did a lot of things, guardianships, divorces. We were the pioneers for open adoption. I keep reading about open adoption now, and I remember that we really were working on that back then. And it was a hard sell. But it was a little bit depressing, 'cause I was still a little naive, and I had to sort of boogie away from there. And then I went right--$$Depressing, how so?$$Well, because it was people who did not have means. And they had, you know, all the social problems and kids that were being--you know, I had to get cart guardianships for children whose parents were either not present, or neglecting them, or abusing them, or whatever. And so, it was just a little difficult. Then I went to Boston Housing Authority [BHA, Boston, Massachusetts].$$What year was this?$$That was 1980, probably '81 [1981]. And during that time, you know, the Boston Housing Authority had fallen into deep disrepair, and so a court order put it into receivership. And this wonderful young man by the name of [Lewis H.] Harry Spence was the receiver and really turned it around so that all--really rehabilitated some old public housing and integrated. And so for three or four years I worked there as an attorney, a staff attorney in the Boston Housing Authority. And one of the senior attorneys there at the Boston Housing Authority moved over to the Massachusetts Department of Public Works, which is the Massachusetts Highway Department. And about, you know, six months after she was there she asked me to come over there to be deputy general counsel, so that was big news in Massachusetts at that time. And so I was very happy to do that. But while we were at the Boston Housing Authority I did a lot of landlord tenant law, and so that was an interesting, exciting time.$And what did you do next?$$After that [director, Department of Public Works, Washington, D.C.] in 1995, when we lost the election, [HistoryMaker] Mayor [Sharon Pratt] Kelly [later, Sharon Pratt] lost the election, and then it was just about that time that another one of my guardian angels, whose name was Major [F.] Riddick [Jr.]. You might know his name. He was chief of staff to Governor [Parris N.] Glendening. And a friend of mine in Chicago [Illinois] came together. She, her name is Christine Boulware, and she had an executive search firm. And a young man by the name of [HistoryMaker] Wayne Curry had just been elected county executive in Prince George's County, Maryland, which I didn't know very much about, but they told me that was my next assignment. You know, my friends told me this is your next assignment. And so I came to work. I met with Wayne Curry, and I was just so impressed with him now. He, too, is a brilliant person, one of the most articulate people I have ever met. And he had a vision for Prince George's County that made me understand immediately what I was to do. I mean he didn't have to sit down and write me a letter. Once he told me what he saw as Prince George's County, I knew what the transportation component needed to be. So all these other experiences I had led me to this, and I really believe that very, very profoundly. And he really transformed Prince George's County. I mean it was a sort of, it was PG County [Prince George's County], it was sort of backwater. I think now we have a recognition as being the only jurisdiction in the country that has gone from a predominantly white, blue collar place to one that is predominantly African American. It has the highest household income of African Americans in the country, which means the world. It has the highest educational level of African Americans in the country, which means the world. And some of the things that have hap- that are happening here in Prince George's, I really do, I know that Wayne Curry was responsible for raising the bar. And I mean even the newspaper doesn't call us PG County anymore. If you've noticed, the newspaper refers to us as Prince George's County. Prince George's County is 500 miles, square miles, 820,000 people. It's almost a thousand people, so it's a major force in this, in this Washington [D.C.] metropolitan region. We have the second, we, we are the second highest technology center in the State of Maryland. We are the number one center for artists in the region. If, you know, people may not know that. But anyway, that's my Prince George's County spiel.

Ulysses Ford

Ulysses Grant Ford, III was born September 28, 1943 in Charlotte, North Carolina to Roberta and Ulysses Ford, II. Ford graduated from West Charlotte High School in 1961. Moving to Talladega, Alabama to attend Talladega College, Ford pursued his interest in mathematics and received a B.A. in 1965. That year, he married Beverly Odom Ford, who now owns the consulting firm ASM & Associates. They have three sons.

From 1965 until 1968, Ford worked as a math teacher and basketball coach at Charlotte Catholic High School. In 1968, Ford became an accountant and worked for Allstate Insurance and Equitable Life Insurance. In 1972, he began his career in civil service as an administrative assistant for the public works department of the City of Charlotte. In 1978, Ford left Charlotte to become the Director of Solid Waste Management for the City of Ann Arbor, Michigan. Ford went on to hold the title of Director of City Services for seven years in Fort Worth, Texas. Then he moved to Houston and served as Director of Public Works until 1992.

At this point in his career, Ford moved from government service to business and became responsible for marketing as the Vice President of Waste Management, Inc., a post he held for six years. In 1998, Ford founded SDC Consulting, Inc. in Macon, Georgia. SDC represents private companies, helping them increase their access to local governments across the country and thus combines the two main areas of his life's work.

Ulysses Ford, III has been a member of 100 Black Men of America since 1998 and served as president of the Municipal Waste Management Association of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

Ulysses Ford passed away on March 20, 2012.

Accession Number

A2002.020

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/18/2002

Last Name

Ford

Maker Category
Schools

West Charlotte High School

Fairview Elementary

Northwest School Of The Arts

Talladega College

First Name

Ulysses

Birth City, State, Country

Charlotte

HM ID

FOR03

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

Sponsor

Knight Foundation

State

North Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Alaska, Hawaii

Favorite Quote

Do The Things That You Fear And The Death Of Fear Is Certain.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

9/28/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Macon

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Collard Greens

Death Date

3/20/2012

Short Description

Business consulting chief executive Ulysses Ford (1943 - 2012 ) was the president of SDS Consulting.

Employment

Charlotte Catholic High School

Allstate Insurance Company

Equitable Life Insurance

Charlotte Department of Public Works

City of Ann Arbor, Michigan

City of Forth Worth, Texas

City of Houston, Texas

Waste Management

SDC Consulting

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
0,0:14636,204:30030,378:30435,384:31731,418:48524,667:58806,838:80090,1142$0,0:7781,115:47218,585:57265,781:71594,1020:79312,1484:138217,2211:161685,2695:178030,2872
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Ulysses Ford's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Ulysses Ford lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Ulysses Ford describes his maternal grandfather's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Ulysses Ford describes his maternal grandfather's first job

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Ulysses Ford talks about his maternal great-grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Ulysses Ford describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Ulysses Ford describes his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Ulysses Ford describes his relationship with his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Ulysses Ford describes the difficulties his family faced after his father left

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Ulysses Ford talks about his household chores

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Ulysses Ford describes his mother's personality, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Ulysses Ford describes his mother's personality, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Ulysses Ford describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Ulysses Ford describes his segregated childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Ulysses Ford describes his childhood personality

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Ulysses Ford describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Ulysses Ford talks about his experience at the Little Rock A.M.E. Zion Church

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Ulysses Ford talks about his experience as a Boy Scout, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Ulysses Ford talks about his experience at West Charlotte High School

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Ulysses Ford talks about his experience as a Boy Scout, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Ulysses Ford describes his pride at receiving his Eagle Scout badge

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Ulysses Ford describes his mother's and grandfather's reactions to his receiving his Eagle Scout badge

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Ulysses Ford talks about his childhood athletics

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Ulysses Ford describes receiving a scholarship to Talladega College

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Ulysses Ford describes being a good student

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Ulysses Ford talks about deciding to attend Talladega College

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Ulysses Ford describes his mother's interest in his athletics

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Ulysses Ford talks about growing up without a father

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Ulysses Ford talks about his mentor and teacher at West Charlotte High School

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Ulysses Ford discusses the Civil Rights Movement in Alabama

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Ulysses Ford remembers his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Ulysses Ford remembers meeting Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Ulysses Ford describes his Civil Rights activism, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Ulysses Ford describes his Civil Rights activism, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Ulysses Ford describes his mother's reaction to his Civil Rights activities

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Ulysses Ford discusses his grandfather's reaction to the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Ulysses Ford talks about overcoming his fears about the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Ulysses Ford describes meeting his wife at Talladega College

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Ulysses Ford describes his wife Beverly Ann Odom's personality

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Ulysses Ford talks about looking for jobs after college

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Ulysses Ford describes becoming a high school teacher

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Ulysses Ford describes his experience teaching at Charlotte Catholic High School in North Carolina

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Ulysses Ford talks about being hired as an underwriter for Allstate Insurance Company

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Ulysses Ford discusses his experience as an underwriter for Allstate

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Ulysses Ford discusses the racism he encountered at Allstate

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Ulysses Ford discusses becoming an insurance salesman

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Ulysses Ford discusses his alcoholism

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Ulysses Ford discusses starting work for the Public Works Department in Charlotte, North Carolina

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Ulysses Ford discusses someone he inspired

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Ulysses Ford discusses his experience in the Public Works Department, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Ulysses Ford discusses his experience in the Public Works Department, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Ulysses Ford discusses recovering from his alcoholism, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Ulysses Ford discusses recovering from his alcoholism, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Ulysses Ford discusses leaving the Public Works Department of Charlotte, North Carolina

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Ulysses Ford discusses his experiences in the Public Works Department in Fort Worth, Texas

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Ulysses Ford talks about the difference between a strong mayor and council manager forms of government

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Ulysses Ford discusses privatizing garbage pickup in Fort Worth, Texas

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Ulysses Ford discusses his growing reputation in Public Works Departments

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Ulysses Ford reflects upon his grandfather's passing

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Ulysses Ford discusses his move into the private sector

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Ulysses Ford talks about his experience at Waste Management

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Ulysses Ford talks about launching SDC Consulting

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Ulysses Ford reflects upon his motivations and mentors

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Ulysses Ford discusses books that have inspired him

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Ulysses Ford reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Ulysses Ford narrates his photos

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$7

DAStory

6$3

DATitle
Ulysses Ford remembers meeting Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Ulysses Ford talks about launching SDC Consulting
Transcript
But the momentous occasion in my life was when Dr. [Martin Luther] King [Jr.] came to campus. And again, as luck would have it, or fate, or whatever you want to call it... The three rooms that we would have for male guests on campus were in my dorm. And the one Dr. King was in was on my floor, right across the hall from... our doors faced each other across the hall. [HM] Jesse Jackson came with him, it was the first time I met Jesse. And I know if Dr. King were alive, I don't see a reason why he would remember me, as I don't see a reason why Jesse would. But I did get to meet them. And I can remember--because Dr. King came back a couple times--that we would sit in his room on his bed and talk till daylight. He was talking about all kind of things. He was very knowledgeable about what other things were going on in the world, whether it was sports or politics or whatever. And I can remember--not just me, I mean there were three or four of us. It was Tracy, my roommate at that time, and we sat there and talked with Dr. King. And sure enough, the day finally came, in the spring of '62' [1962], still my freshman year.$And then in October... Well, I formed my company in August of '98' [1998]. In October of '98' [1998], I began to work it. And those relationships that I had developed over the thirty years just did it for me. What I do is represent private companies desiring to do business with local governments. So, if you've got a good or a service that you want to market to anybody--to any city or county in the country--then I'd like to be on your team, to help you get that business. I mentioned getting to know the staffs of these professional organizations. I remember a client saying that they wanted to go to Salt Lake City [Utah], because the Olympics was coming. And they financed airport work, and they knew from Atlanta [Georgia] that Salt Lake City would be doing a lot of work at their airport, and they wanted to be the bond financier of it. And I said to myself, "I don't know anybody in Salt Lake City. I never... to my knowledge, I've never met a Mormon." (Laughter). So I said, "Um." So, I called the Executive Director of the U.S. Conference of Mayors [Tom Cochran]. I said, "Tom, who do I know in Salt Lake City?" He says, "You know Deedee." Deedee Corradini was the mayor. I said "Well, I know Deedee to speak, and she may know me to speak, but we don't know each other. You know, we're not buddy-buddy." "Oh yeah, you do." He said, "Hang around." About thirty minutes later, Tom calls back. He says, "See, I told you Deedee knows you, she's waiting on your phone call." Sure enough, I call up Deedee, take my client out, and we got the business. (Laughter). So, those kind of relationships worked, as well as me being able to pick up the phone and call a Solid Waste director, or a Public Works director. I remember when I was with Waste, and we were going after the city of St. Louis, and another company had the business. And supposedly the city, the Solid Waste director, really liked the other company, and wasn't interested in changing. The other company had had the business for 15 years or something. We put our bid on the table, and we were high bid. Not high, we were the second high bid. But we came in and did our presentation. And I'll never forget when we walked in to do our presentation, there was Steve sitting there. And he said, "Oh, hell, Waste Management has got to be serious now. They done brought that damn Euly Ford here." Well, I had forgotten Steve was a Solid Waste director in St. Louis. I'd flat-out forgotten. Steve and I had been on the Education Foundation for eight years; we had some real war stories to tell. (Laughter). You know, we got the business. And people say when we left that night, Steve was the one that converted everybody to vote for Waste Management. So, those relationships have come in very, very handy for me. And now, I'm able to help my clients that in turn help me.