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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
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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.