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Hiram Jackson

Publisher Hiram Jackson was born in 1965 in Highland Park, Michigan to Hiram Jackson, Sr. and Naomi Jackson. He attended the Detroit Country Day School and received his B.S. degree in industrial and labor relations from Cornell University in 1987.

Upon graduation, Jackson joined a management training program at Ford Motor Company and worked in the corporation’s labor relations department. He resigned from Ford in the early 1990s and co-founded New Center Collision, which marketed auto body repairs to corporate fleets. In 1994, Jackson sold his share of New Center Collision and used the funds to buy DMC Technologies, Inc., a low-voltage cabling and wiring firm, where he served as chairman and chief executive officer. He then established GlobalView Technologies, LLC and Genesis Energy Solutions in 1998, and purchased the Wixom, Michigan-based Clover Technologies, Inc. in 2001.

In 2003, Jackson became part of an ownership group that purchased the Michigan Chronicle and several other newspapers from Chicago-based Sengstacke Enterprises Inc., which resulted in the formation of the multi-media company, Real Times Media, LLC. He was named chief executive officer of Real Times Media in 2006 and appointed as publisher of the Michigan Chronicle in 2012.

Jackson has served on several Detroit area boards including the Detroit Zoological Society, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, First Independence Bank CDC, the Detroit Branch of the NAACP, and the Boys and Girls Club of Southeastern Michigan. He is a member of Governor Rick Snyder’s Office of Urban and Metropolitan Initiatives Advisory Group, and was elected to the board of directors of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) in 2013.

Jackson has received numerous acknowledgements and accolades throughout his career. He has been profiled in several publications including Savoy magazine, Diversity MBA Magazine and Black Enterprise. He was also recognized as a top 40 executive under the age of 40 by Crain’s Detroit Business, and was named one of Michigan’s most powerful African American leaders by Corp! Magazine. In 2011, Jackson received the General Motors African Ancestry Network (GMAAN) GMAAN Trailblazer Award and the National Association of Security Professionals annual Maverick Award.

Hiram Jackson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 23, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.140

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/23/2014

Last Name

Jackson

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Eric

Occupation
Schools

Detroit Country Day School

Cornell University

Cortland Elementary School

George W. Ferris School

First Name

Hiram

Birth City, State, Country

Highland Park

HM ID

JAC34

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Michigan

Favorite Vacation Destination

Turks and Caicos

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Michigan

Interview Description
Birth Date

4/4/1965

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Detroit

Country

USA

Favorite Food

None

Short Description

Publisher Hiram Jackson (1965 - ) was the CEO of Real Times Media, LLC and publisher of the Michigan Chronicle.

Employment

Ford Motor Company

New Center Collision

DMC Technologies, Inc.

GlobalView Technologies, LLC

Genesis Energy Solutions

Clover Technologies, Inc.

Real Times Media, LLC

The Michigan Chronicle

Favorite Color

Purple

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Hiram Jackson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Hiram Jackson lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Hiram Jackson describes his mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Hiram Jackson describes his mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Hiram Jackson describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Hiram Jackson talks about how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Hiram Jackson describes his parents' personalities and how he takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Hiram Jackson talks about his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Hiram Jackson describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Hiram Jackson remembers his parents' careers in Highland Park, Michigan

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Hiram Jackson remembers his childhood home in Highland Park, Michigan

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Hiram Jackson describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Hiram Jackson remembers his early educational experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Hiram Jackson recalls his decision to attend the Detroit Country Day School Upper School in Beverly Hills, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Hiram Jackson describes his athletic activities at the Detroit Country Day School Upper School

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Hiram Jackson remembers being recruited by college football teams

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Hiram Jackson remembers his graduation from the Detroit Country Day School Upper School

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Hiram Jackson describes his experiences at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Hiram Jackson talks about the Africana studies department at Cornell University

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Hiram Jackson reflects upon his career at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Hiram Jackson describes his position at the Ford Motor Company

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Hiram Jackson talks about his decision to found New Center Collision, Inc.

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Hiram Jackson talks about African American entrepreneurship

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Hiram Jackson talks about the success and demise of New Center Collision, Inc. in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Hiram Jackson remembers establishing DMC Technologies, Inc.

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Hiram Jackson describes GlobalView Technologies LLC's acquisition of Clover Technologies, Inc.

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Hiram Jackson recalls the bankruptcy of GlobalView Technologies LLC

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Hiram Jackson describes the creation of Real Times Media LLC

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Hiram Jackson describes his role at Real Times Media LLC

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Hiram Jackson describes his role as CEO at Real Times Media LLC

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Hiram Jackson talks about the outreach programs at Real Times Media LLC

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Hiram Jackson talks about the changes in the news media industry

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Hiram Jackson describes the staff of Real Times Media LLC

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Hiram Jackson talks about the revenue of Real Times Media LLC

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Hiram Jackson remembers the financial crisis of 2008

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Hiram Jackson remembers acquiring the Who's Who Publishing Company

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Hiram Jackson talks about the DRIVEN in Living Color project

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Hiram Jackson describes how he came to be the publisher of The Michigan Chronicle

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Hiram Jackson describes his role as publisher of the Michigan Chronicle

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Hiram Jackson talks about the staff of the Michigan Chronicle

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Hiram Jackson talks about his plans for the future of Real Times Media LLC

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Hiram Jackson talks about the National Newspaper Publishers Association

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Hiram Jackson reflects upon his life

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Hiram Jackson reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Hiram Jackson talks about his future

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Hiram Jackson describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Hiram Jackson talks about his family

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Hiram Jackson describes how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

7$2

DATitle
Hiram Jackson describes GlobalView Technologies LLC's acquisition of Clover Technologies, Inc.
Hiram Jackson talks about the outreach programs at Real Times Media LLC
Transcript
Well GlobalView Technologies [GlobalView Technologies LLC, Detroit, Michigan], that's, that's important in this story, right?$$Absolutely. We, I would say we started DMC Technologies [DMC Technologies, Inc., Detroit, Michigan] in maybe '92 [1992] or '93 [1993] and we had a hard time. I mean it was--we were struggling. We were struggling. We, you know we had a very difficult time growing the business, and I would say somewhere around '96 [1996] we started having some good luck. We got a couple of major contracts with some local school districts and then there was a program called E-rate from the federal government. And E-rate was, were federal dollars that were designed to go into urban classrooms to pay for technology installations. We developed a, an expertise on how to apply for E-rate grants and how to install E-rate projects and that was around '96 [1996]. We started doing some major installations and that caught the eye of Detroit Edison [Detroit Edison Company; DTE Electric Company, Detroit, Michigan], the local utility at the time. We were--we had also proposed on trying to build a fiber optic network around the City of Detroit [Michigan]. Detroit Edison was looking at getting into some unregulated businesses and so we thought it would--we developed a partnership, Glo- and that partnership was called GlobalView Technologies. I owned 60 percent of it and DTE Energy owned 40 percent of it. And the company started growing immediately. We were doing about twenty million [dollars] in sales in '98 [1998], we were doing installations all over the country, in school districts and municipalities and you know for a few years the company was doing well. It's one of the fastest growing black companies in the country at the time.$$Okay. What happened? Did you get--did you, I mean did it cease to you know generate as much profit or did you see it declining?$$No, actually we--you know I had developed an expertise at turning troubled companies around. I mean that was my craft, raising capital, finding companies that were in distress, turning them around. And GlobalView, we found a company called Clover Technologies [Clover Technologies, Inc., Wixom, Michigan]. At the time Clover was a company that had been around fifty years, highly successful, entrepreneurial company, and Ameritech [Ameritech Corporation; AT&T Teleholdings, Inc.] had bought Clover from a local entrepreneur. When Ameritech got to it, the company started to go down pretty much because you take this highly entrepreneurial small company, Clover was doing about a hundred million dollars a year and you put this big corporate bureaucracy on it, it kind of lost its step and it didn't work. It didn't work. So they never (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) That's an interesting place--way to put that--lost its step.$$Yeah (laughter), but you know the thing is, is that Ameritech never integrated into their corporate infrastructure because Ameritech had their own kind of department that did similar work. But when all this was going on, SBC Communications [SBC Communications Inc.] out of Texas actually bought Ameritech and they made the decision that they wanted to sell Clover Technologies. And you know we tried to buy it. We tried to buy it, they wouldn't return our calls. We were a competitor so they were--made it very clear that they were very uninterested in selling us that company. But we stayed at it and then one day I remember it very clearly, I was on the phone with Bill Pickard [William F. Pickard] on a Sunday morning and I was telling him that these folks would not even let us bid on the company. And he said, "You know what," he said the--Roy Roberts who was at General Motors [General Motors Corporation; General Motors Company], Roy Roberts was a, one of the highest ranking African Americans in the history of the automotive industry was at General Motors. He said, "You know Roy is on the board with the CEO of SBC, Mr. Whitacre [Edward Whitacre, Jr.]." He said, "Maybe we can get his attention that way." We ended up calling Roy and asking for his assistance and one thing led to the next and we ended up buying Clover Technologies for $5 million. And that immediately took us from a $20 million company to a company that was doing about $120 million operating all over the world. We had seven offices. We were doing work for the federal government. We were working in automotive plants around the world, and it was kind of an overnight kind of deal.$Now this is a treasure. We were talk- talking about this off camera.$$Sure.$$All the photos of great photographers that worked for the Defender and the Pittsburgh Courier [New Pittsburgh Courier] (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Yes.$$--and, yeah. So well, you know talk about some of the photos, the kind of photos that are around?$$Sure. Well we [Real Times Media LLC], you know when we started this process, we--I'd walk into the office and there'd be photos on the floor. Just, you know not even in a file cabinet, just on the floor. You might see a photo of Fidel Castro and Muhammad Ali just, on the floor. Or Sammy Davis, Jr. and Jesse Jackson [HistoryMaker Reverend Jesse L. Jackson] with their kids on the floor. And so you know we had to immediately just figure out what we had and just real- on a basic sense, just start filing them away. But these are photog- these are photos that are one of a kind photos. I mean you know the Emmett Till funeral, open casket funeral, open casket photo. We have photos that--$$Yeah, that's one that rocked the world. I mean every other person in that generation we talk to or everyone in that generation that saw it in the Jet in '55 [1955] were rocked by it.$$Absolutely. And Jet [sic. Johnson Publishing Company, Chicago, Illinois] is the only other company that has that photo other than the Chicago Defender. And we don't just have a photo, one photo or two photos in these collections, we have a file of the Emmett Till case, we have a file of Martin Luther King [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] when he lived in Chicago [Illinois] for a short- point in his life when he was exposing poverty and some of the conditions of the Chicago housing department [Chicago Housing Authority] where African Americans were living. We have photos that talk about the Double V campaign.$$Oh yeah.$$You know success at war, success at home, eliminating racism. So these photos are one of a kind and they are shocking in their uniqueness and so I just really felt like you know this could be a part of our future, finding a digital platform that these photos can ride on to make them universally available to anyone who wanted to see them, you know. So that became very much a part of our diversification strategy, take these photos off the floor and out of file cabinets and digitize them and make them universally available around the world and so we've been working on that part of it. We have about ten thousand photographs that have been digitized and we're going to be launching our website later in the year with some very unique photography. And ultimately what I'd like to do is build the infrastructure so that all of the papers in the black press can put their images on our infrastructure and make them universally around the world.$$So would they be available for a fee or would they--?$$They would be available for a fee.$$Okay.$$We have a unique service today where we've already digitized our newspapers from 1905 to 1976, all of those have been digitized in Pittsburgh [Pennsylvania] and Chicago [Illinois] and Detroit [Michigan] and, so all of our papers are online. So if you're a college student in Amsterdam or a college student in Chicago, you can go online and if your university or college has signed up to our program, you know you can have access to these images now. And so we've been able to monetize the digital newspapers and now we're trying to digitize the photography. So that was part of our diversification strategy. We started doing events. We created some pretty interesting events. One of our signature events is called Pancakes and Politics. We started that event in Troy--in Detroit and it's really a town hall meeting of the movers and shakers. We use our brand to highlight issues that are impacting southeastern Michigan and it's a television show and we partner with, we have print partners and television partners and that's been a huge success for us. We do, today we do over fifty events around the country with our various properties and so with the special events, the digital strategy, we do a number of community outreach programs and we started a marketing services division to help companies better understand the African American consumer. So we're not only a newspaper company anymore. That was a bitter pill for some of our folks to swallow because you know they believed in the newspaper business and wanted to stay very much in the newspaper business. But given the trends and what's happening in the digital world, you know we're not giving up on our print products and we're not giving up on our newspaper division; they do quite well now. But we really felt it necessary to expand into some of these other areas to diversify our platform and take advantage of the relationship that our brands have with this, with this growing African American community.