The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral History Collection Mobile search icon Mobile close search icon
Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon

Paul McDonald

Technology entrepreneur and technology executive Paul Gregory McDonald was born on February 23, 1949 in Chicago, Illinois to Josephine McDonald and Frederick Douglas McDonald, an evangelical minister. McDonald grew up in Chicago, down the street from his mentor, Major League Baseball Hall of Famer, Ernie Banks. McDonald attended Hirsch High School in Chicago, where he was heavily involved in Operation Breadbasket and became the business manager for the Young Pushers, an offshoot of Jesse Jackson’s Operation Push organization.

In 1967, McDonald graduated from Hirsch High School and was drafted by the Chicago Cubs. However, his baseball career was interrupted when he was drafted by the United States military. McDonald served in the Vietnam War as a television cameraman, flying over the country filming the terrain. Although he did not attend college, McDonald took management courses with Xerox, IBM, Minolta and Fidelity Union Life Insurance. With this experience, McDonald founded a series of companies aimed at researching infrastructure and systems development, including Creative Systems Business Development Foundation, The Pilot Business Corporation, Global Business Development Architects, Common Communications Commission, the Cooperative Sports Incubator and CyberPark, U.S.A. McDonald also led a partnership with downtown Los Angeles’ community development agencies in order to foster business development in the area. In 1991, McDonald founded Global Business Incubation, Inc. (GBI), and became its Chief Research Officer. The company was started as a joint venture with Loyola Marymount University to connect California businesses with technology and manufacturing opportunities. As Chief Research Officer, McDonald oversaw technology and multi-media infrastructure development. In 1993, GBI and Loyola Marymount joined the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences in creating an Advanced Manufacturing Science and Technology Center.

McDonald is also responsible for the Lou Myers Scenario Motion Picture Institute Theater, which helped 100 inner city youth apprentices in the building of a film studio. In 2000, McDonald received the White House Millennium Council Award for encouraging business development in Los Angeles.

Paul McDonald was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 19, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.151

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/19/2007

Last Name

McDonald

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

Hirsch Metropolitan High School

Harvard Elementary School

Arthur J. Dixon Elementary School

Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Any

First Name

Paul

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

MCD04

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Yes - Negotiable

Favorite Season

Spring, Summer

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Las Vegas, Nevada

Favorite Quote

I'm Into Cooperating To Compete.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

2/23/1949

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Black Chicken

Short Description

Technology entrepreneur and technology executive Paul McDonald (1949 - ) founded a series of companies aimed at researching infrastructure and systems development, including Creative Systems Business Development Foundation and The Pilot Business Corporation.

Employment

Creative Systems Business Development Foundation

Pilot Business Corporation

Global Business Development Architects

Cooperative Sports Incubator

Global Business Incubation, Inc.

CyperPark, USA

Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
0,0:2403,35:3560,50:4361,61:7494,84:10938,139:14300,197:14956,206:15530,216:21230,302:24529,339:24924,345:25240,350:25635,357:28420,375:31540,481:33590,495:36772,536:40470,589:40798,594:51622,758:52032,764:59114,814:59630,821:59974,826:61952,862:62296,867:63070,879:69638,934:70665,951:71771,963:72798,980:73746,994:74141,1000:74457,1005:75405,1013:85696,1118:90934,1180:95900,1198:97264,1212:101375,1244:110360,1313:110680,1318:111160,1326:112440,1344:113080,1353:118440,1464:124760,1535:125490,1548:126804,1572:127096,1577:128994,1608:130381,1632:131403,1652:132790,1682:135970,1687:136516,1695:137062,1702:138609,1719:144652,1823:145182,1829:153841,1864:161870,1946:174635,2082:176690,2089:177346,2099:177838,2107:180298,2137:180790,2146:181610,2159:182348,2169:184640,2176:191136,2228:192984,2248:193572,2257:194244,2267:194664,2273:195336,2283:198816,2298:203330,2353:206569,2402:206885,2407:207359,2414:208939,2445:226624,2707:226888,2712:227548,2726:230910,2764:251748,3018:252178,3024:253554,3042:257682,3094:259488,3126:260176,3136:260606,3142:268530,3181:268906,3186:269658,3196:270504,3206:272854,3237:281950,3282:285070,3305:286390,3340:287030,3345$0,0:3870,52:4550,63:11010,144:19432,192:31002,358:32693,381:33583,393:39329,420:51021,548:55088,609:55669,618:66962,764:67406,771:67702,776:68886,796:70292,820:70810,828:74658,905:75916,926:76360,933:104720,1248:108630,1277:109206,1287:109854,1298:116489,1373:118193,1409:119187,1421:119471,1426:129630,1552:131482,1563:132698,1590:133594,1610:134490,1638:135194,1651:135962,1666:136410,1674:138586,1716:139930,1745:140890,1767:141338,1775:142170,1797:155810,1976:163410,2066:164710,2084:167410,2117:174086,2185:178750,2245:195000,2473:196615,2494:197720,2510:198230,2517:198825,2526:199590,2536:205820,2595:206140,2600:208200,2613:211140,2666:212330,2682:216740,2762:224442,2844:224778,2849:225702,2863:226374,2873:227046,2883:228726,2906:239780,3000:240632,3013:241271,3024:246490,3088:247190,3096:249901,3119:250565,3128:252059,3151:252474,3157:261106,3293:264970,3300:265340,3307:265710,3313:266006,3318:266376,3324:271240,3376
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Paul McDonald's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Paul McDonald lists his favorites

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

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

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Paul McDonald lists his siblings, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Paul McDonald lists his siblings, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Paul McDonald lists his siblings, pt. 3

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Paul McDonald describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Paul McDonald recalls the influence of Emmett Till's funeral

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Paul McDonald remembers meeting Ernie Banks

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Paul McDonald describes his neighborhood in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Paul McDonald describes his early education

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Paul McDonald describes his father's work with the Chicago Daily Defender

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Paul McDonald remembers meeting Walt Disney

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Paul McDonald describes the Common Communications Commission, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Paul McDonald describes the Common Communications Commission, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Paul McDonald recalls an assignment at the Common Communications Commission

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Paul McDonald talks about his work in the music industry

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Paul McDonald describes the business model for Global Business Incubation, Inc.

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Paul McDonald talks about Global Business Incubation, Inc.

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Paul McDonald describes the expansion of Global Business Incubation, Inc.

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Paul McDonald reflects upon the black business community

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Paul McDonald talks about the Faithful Central Bible Church in Inglewood, California

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Paul McDonald talks about African American business leaders

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Paul McDonald describes his plans for the future of Global Business Incubation, Inc.

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Paul McDonald talks about the founding of Global Business Incubation, Inc.

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Paul McDonald remembers Harold K. Brown

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Paul McDonald talks about cooperative business models

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Paul McDonald talks about his wife and father

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Paul McDonald describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Paul McDonald remembers meeting Reverend Jesse L. Jackson and Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

1$3

DATitle
Paul McDonald recalls the influence of Emmett Till's funeral
Paul McDonald talks about his work in the music industry
Transcript
You were horrified at that funeral because of the sights and sounds of that period. Many of the people at that funeral, I'm sure, felt and expressed what you were feeling there. So, do you want to continue with that feeling or did you want to (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Yeah, I, I think, I think that, that feeling was as if for the first time that I didn't feel safe. When you have a mother [Josephine Harper McDonald] and father [Frederick McDonald, Sr.], especially older parents, they were like your incubator. They made sure that you felt good. Your brothers and sisters, being much older than yourself, they were like my surrogate parents, so I would go out with them and I felt safe and I think after that funeral and it seemed like there was a sense that it wasn't, I didn't understand color but the people that were speaking at the funeral seemed like they had no control over the destiny and I, I probably, actualized that maybe a few years later because I was so determined to fight that monster that I, I told my father that I wanted to be a minister. And so, I, I think I practiced at six years old that I was going to get up and I was going to, I was going to speak to the, the people at the church and I, they, I asked for some time to get up and preach. And they, I, I could remember moving from side to side and watching people's eyes and somehow it got exciting for me to get up there and talking. I don't know if I knew what I was talking about but I saw women, you know, shouting, I saw people falling on the ground and I decided that it was too much power. At that moment I said I would not be a minister because I could not understand that kind of power that just by saying some encouraging words, I had to do it, so at six I wanted to write about people. And so, my father gave me a journal to write about why do people, through other people, get excited when they say something that's inspirational. It doesn't mean that I really mean it but I can excite people with what I say to them and that scared me. I had a gift at that time that I could excite people about the future, about what we had to do and I would, I would try to transform myself into somebody who was a leader. And so, it became a challenge for me to learn as much as I could about who might be those people that did that to Emmett Till.$$So you could not express yourself there at that funeral but your, your father gave you a diary--$$Yes.$$--in which (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) And a book to read.$$--and, okay.$$And the book had on it 1888--$$Okay.$$--and it was my [maternal] grandfather [Russell Harper], had written it and he had written it and he had written it in longhand and he had written it with symbols, with pictures, and was really easy to read because it would have a, a paragraph and then it would have a definition and then it would have a symbol or picture of it. And what he was doing was drawing a diagram of an institution. So, so he was the first one in 1888 got me to understanding that if we're going to win as a people, that we have to be institution builders and then, I guess, the balance came because I never really let on to, between six and ten, that there was something wrong out there that I saw our people experiencing. I, I couldn't, I had no dialogue on why I felt like there was a difference in the land.$So I, I became a promoter in, in the music industry when I was like fourteen and that's when I met Mr. Eddie Thomas, a HistoryMaker, and he was like somebody that I watched who founded Curtom Records with Curtis Mayfield and he had a studio, he had an institution. And so we would go into his institution and we worked with Leroy Hutson, who was part of his institution and it was powerful to create a product, see, see writers and see producers and see musicians, see singers, coming together to pull together a product and then to hear it on the radio as a finished product was a very exciting childhood in terms of starting as an entrepreneur as a young age in the music industry. So, it was, it was great. Got a chance to meet people like James Brown and, and people like that and do jingles with them and, and, and working behind the scenes and watching Eddie Thomas work behind the scenes at Curtom Records and how many people that he launched, millionaires that he launched in his career.$$Okay, though, so the institution became, at first, a part of the record promotion business, am I correct (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Well, when it, it first became, what does an institution looks like? What does an institution look like? How come people who have institutions solve the problem of community 'cause in our society, maybe the institution in our, in our life today is the church but outside the church, the only other institution that we really know about, besides education, is jail.$$Right.$$So we don't own the institution called, the bank, as a community. I'm not talking about there's a few people say you got a little ownership or something. I'm talking about in Davis, California, is one of our examples. They own the cable station, they own the grocery store. If you look at television, you see orange juice companies where they say they own the land, own the trees. So I studied Sunkist [Sunkist Growers, Inc.]. When I studied Sunkist, I saw sixty-five hundred farmers owning the company called, Sunkist. I saw Sunkist being an incubator or a corporation or an institution and I saw sixty-five hundred self-employee farmers who pooled their limited resources in terms of the ownership, the member ownership of Sunkist and when you see the cooperative industry and back in the day when I started studying it through, through the, through the college we set up [Common Communications Commission]. Cooperative, I saw that it was an interchangeable word that some government officials, when people tried to cooperate that way, they called it communism. So, sometimes when you said cooperation, they mis- they misread what you said and thought you said communism. There's a big difference in a cooperative and communism.$$Absolutely.$$One is a belief and the other is a methodology. So, I, I found that to be a subject matter that allowed me to travel to school to school and to, to be a spokesperson for why cooperation is different than communism. And so, I, I showcase different cooperatives around the world that was successful for its, for its community and that I thought that the black African American community should think about operating as a cooperative. So, so I put that into my hopper, so to speak, and, and that is one of the, the, what I call, pieces of the puzzle that I think that would change the future if we model and simulate it today.