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Earle Bradford, Jr.

Corporate executive Earle Lacour Bradford, Jr. was born on April 25, 1946 in New Orleans, Louisiana. He received his B.A. degree in accounting and economics in 1969 from Dillard University and continued his studies at Cornell University’s Johnson School of Management where he received his M.B.A. degree in 1971 while enrolled as a Mobil Oil Fellow. He served as a visiting professor in the Department of Business and Economics at Norfolk State University under its Eminent Scholar Program.

In 1971, Bradford’s professional career began with his first position as a senior accountant at Shell Oil Company. Bradford later became the youngest Vice President at Consolidated Aluminum. In 1983, he joined ARCO Metals Company in Rolling Meadows, Illinois as Vice President of Marketing Development and later became Vice President of Planning and Control. Transferring to ARCO Chemical, Bradford joined the Product Management and Marketing Division and was elected an officer of ARCO Chemical and served as Vice President of Public Affairs. He also served as the Vice President of National Accounts Management and Material Management in the Americas before serving as a worldwide Director of Continuous Improvement and Commercial Services. Bradford has held several positions with major international firms including a subsidiary of Alusuisse, the Swiss aluminum company. In 2002, Bradford became President of Axum Partners, Incorporated, which is a consulting company that specializes in corporate development. In 2005, he joined the Community Council for Mental Health and Mental Retardation in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as its Chief Executive Officer. He led the organization back from a loss in 2004 to a surplus in 2005.

Bradford is a member and chair of the Board of Directors of Catholic Health East and a member of the board of the Development Credit Fund. He has also served on the boards of the Freedom Theatre in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Lincoln University. Bradford was also a member of the Petrochemical Committee of the National Petroleum Refiners Association. He has also received several awards including the Award for Excellence in Market Development from Sales and Marketing Management magazine. In 2006, Bradford received the Wilbur Parker Distinguished Alumni Award from the Johnson School of Management at Cornell University.

Bradford resides in Villanova, Pennsylvania with his family.

Bradford was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 20, 2006.

Accession Number

A2006.185

Sex

Male

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

12/20/2006

Last Name

Bradford

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

McDonogh No. 35 Senior High School

Dillard University

George Washington Carver Junior High School

Johnson C. Lockett Elementary School

Medard H. Nelson Elementary School

Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management

Archival Photo 2
First Name

Earle

Birth City, State, Country

New Orleans

HM ID

BRA07

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere Warm

Favorite Quote

Get To The Bottom Line.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Pennsylvania

Interview Description
Birth Date

4/25/1946

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Philadelphia

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Gumbo

Short Description

Energy executive Earle Bradford, Jr. (1946 - ) was CEO of the Community for Mental Health and Mental Retardation.

Employment

Shell Oil Company

Johnson and Johnson Products

ARCO Chemical Co.

Consolidated Aluminum Corporation

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/532955">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Earle Bradford, Jr.'s interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/532956">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Earle Bradford, Jr. lists his favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/532957">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Earle Bradford, Jr. describes his mother's family background, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/532958">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Earle Bradford, Jr. describes his mother's family background, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/532959">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Earle Bradford, Jr. describes his mother's family background, pt. 3</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/532960">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Earle Bradford, Jr. lists his mother's siblings</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/532961">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Earle Bradford, Jr. talks about his mother's childhood</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/532962">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Earle Bradford, Jr. describes his father's background</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/532963">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Earle Bradford, Jr. describes his parents' move to New Orleans, Louisiana</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/532964">Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Earle Bradford, Jr. remembers the 9th Ward of New Orleans, Louisiana</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/532965">Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Earle Bradford, Jr. talks about the reconstruction of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/532966">Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Earle Bradford, Jr. describes his childhood pastimes</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/532967">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Earle Bradford, Jr. talks about the culture of New Orleans, Louisiana</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/532968">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Earle Bradford, Jr. remembers his early influences</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/532969">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Earle Bradford, Jr. describes his schooling</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/532970">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Earle Bradford, Jr. remembers applying to college</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/532971">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Earle Bradford, Jr. recalls his early aspirations to a career in business</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/532972">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Earle Bradford, Jr. talks about his U.S. Army deferment</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/532973">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Earle Bradford, Jr. remembers Dillard University in New Orleans, Louisiana, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/532974">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Earle Bradford, Jr. talks about his experiences of racial discrimination</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/532975">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Earle Bradford, Jr. remembers Dillard University in New Orleans, Louisiana, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/532976">Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Earle Bradford, Jr. recalls his decision to attend Cornell University's Graduate School of Business and Public Administration</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/532977">Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Earle Bradford, Jr. talks about his marriage</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/532978">Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Earle Bradford Jr. describes his experiences at Cornell University's Graduate School of Business and Public Administration</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/532979">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Earle Bradford, Jr. recalls his decision to pursue a degree in business</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/532980">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Earle Bradford, Jr. recalls joining the Shell Oil Company</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/532981">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Earle Bradford, Jr. remembers the Vietnam War</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/532982">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Earle Bradford, Jr. talks about the Civil Rights Movement</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/532983">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Earle Bradford, Jr. talks about the early affirmative action policies</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/532984">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Earle Bradford, Jr. describes his career at the Shell Oil Company</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/532985">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Earle Bradford, Jr. recalls joining Johnson and Johnson Products</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/532986">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Earle Bradford, Jr. recalls the dress code at Johnson and Johnson Products</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/532987">Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Earle Bradford, Jr. remembers his move to Niagara Falls, New York</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/532988">Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Earle Bradford, Jr. recalls joining the Consolidated Aluminum Corporation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/532989">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Earle Bradford, Jr. recalls the National Urban League's executive exchange program</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/532990">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Earle Bradford, Jr. describes his career with the Consolidated Aluminum Corporation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/532991">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Earle Bradford, Jr. describes his early career at the ARCO Chemical Company</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/532992">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Earle Bradford, Jr. talks about his mentors</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/532993">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Earle Bradford, Jr. remembers working with Harold A. Sorgenti</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/532994">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Earle Bradford, Jr. describes his international career at the ARCO Chemical Company</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/532995">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Earle Bradford, Jr. recalls his interim directorship of The Barnes Foundation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/532996">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Earle Bradford, Jr. describes his role at the New Freedom Theatre in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/532997">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Earle Bradford, Jr. describes his work for the Community Council for Mental Health and Mental Retardation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/532998">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Earle Bradford, Jr. describes his plans for the Community Council for Mental Health and Mental Retardation</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/532999">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Earle Bradford, Jr. describes his hopes for the African American community</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/533000">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Earle Bradford, Jr. talks about his sons</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/533001">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Earle Bradford, Jr. reflects upon his life and how he would like to be remembered</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/533002">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Earle Bradford, Jr. shares the lessons he imparted to his sons</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/533003">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Earle Bradford, Jr. remembers integrating the Philadelphia Country Club</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/533004">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Earle Bradford, Jr. describes the Philadelphia Country Club</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/533005">Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Earle Bradford, Jr. talks about his awards</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/533006">Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Earle Bradford, Jr. narrates his photographs</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

4$3

DATitle
Earle Bradford, Jr. talks about the Civil Rights Movement
Earle Bradford, Jr. describes his early career at the ARCO Chemical Company
Transcript
What was your attitude towards what was happening, let's say, like Freedom Summer in Mississippi in '68 [sic.]? Or, you know, when Chaney [James Chaney], when those three civil rights workers were killed? You were in school at the same time.$$I was in school at the same time. One of my best friends was one of the early CORE [Congress of Racial Equality] members, a guy named Dave Dennis. We, I mean, on that campus [of Dillard University, New Orleans, Louisiana], we were very aware of what was going on, and we had a very activist campus. H. Rap Brown [Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin] spoke periodically, but we, we also understood, you know, we had some other requirements that we wanted to get, get through.$$So were there any sit-ins at the university? Did you take over any buildings?$$We did not.$$Did they have a black studies department at Cornell [Cornell University, Ithaca, New York]?$$Oh, at Cornell? I went to Cornell the year after the Straight take over. I don't know if you recall. In 1969, Willard Straight Hall, which was a student union, black students took over the university--took over the student union. They were pictured on the front of Time magazine as, because they had guns. And one of the kids was a guy named Keith Ferdinand [Keith C. Ferdinand] who was from New Orleans [Louisiana] whose brother I knew and had gone to school with. We came there the year after that. So, the year afterwards, there were student protests. I think that cut short the second semester. And--$$They cut your second semester short?$$Yeah, because of the student protest, I think we ended up, it was, like, one week earlier. Things--so we, I don't think we had final exams. There was something that took place at that time. And, I was, I was also challenged because I was in the business school [Graduate School of Business and Public Administration, Cornell University; Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management, Ithaca, New York], and they had a very active Africana studies center [Africana Studies and Research Center], and Cornell was one of the first schools to have a black studies program. And so on occasion I'd be challenged, "Well, why don't you take courses at the Africana studies center?" And I remember, and because I was working at the university at the time, as a, in the financial aids office. And my reaction was, I want to know everything my competitor's gonna know. So while, you know, I'm not--I don't mean to denigrate what you do, but the reality is if I'm gonna be competitive in the business market, I've gotta learn as much as every one of my white colleagues is gonna learn. So, I appreciate your interest in my education, but, but I'll focus on the business school.$$So what was the result of them having that sit-in the year before? How did it end? Did they get what they wanted?$$Oh, I think (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) What did they want and what did they get in the end?$$Well, I think they wanted more support for African American students. I think that there, there was a specific program at the time called COSEP, C-O-S-E-P [Committee on Special Education Projects]. And part of my job at the time working for the university was to manage the distribution of financial aid. And a big portion of that was related to the COSEP program. And it was a tremendous effort on the part of the university to ensure diversity on campus, and they provided a lot of support mechanisms. And, and I think, I think it was a very successful program in that regard. So I don't remember exactly what the requirement was. The re- the, I think there was just a lot of, of energy on campuses at that time, both in terms of affirmative action as well as the war [Vietnam War].$So with that in your back pocket, I mean once you've achieved that sort of success--$$Um-hm.$$--I mean, you, you, you can go on to the next place? Or you, you stay there for a while?$$Well, you go on to the next place. You build on that success. I got re- (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) But you can only do that at the next place?$$Right. You can really only do it at the next place. I was not an aluminum person, so I was never going to ascend to the throne of being the top aluminum guy. I was a generalist who had good, reasonably good management skills, and could apply those to a number of situations. But, and some jobs, unless you had worked in a foundry, unless you had worked in a sheeting plate, plate plant, you wouldn't have the credentials, you wouldn't be accepted. So I ended up taking a job actually working for ARCO Metals [ARCO Metals Company]. And the only reason I took the job at ARCO Metals was because they indicated to me, this is really not a metals company, this is really a division, a metal division of a large petroleum company, so you have the opportunity to move into some other things. So I, I took that job, I went to ARCO Metals in Chicago [Illinois], basically des- in a position as a marketing VP. And I had my marketing, my marketing books so I could read the book and understand what I was supposed to do. But it was a program designed to acquire a number of businesses and to build a business around advanced materials.$$So you had to acquire other businesses--$$Yes.$$--to build a larger business?$$Correct.$$Okay.$$And I made the pitch along with the president of ARCO Metals, a guy name Bill Chamberlain [Willard Thomas "Bill" Chamberlain], to the executive committee of Atlantic Richfield [Atlantic Richfield Company], and we talked about a billion dollar investment. 'Cause you had to be at least a billion dollars for it to be meaningful to an oil co- oil company. And we did that in December, and I think by the end of March, ARCO had decide the price of crude oil, rather than going from twenty-nine to thirty dollars a barrel, was actually going to decline to as low as eighteen dollars a barrel. So they divested, or made the decision to divest any of the businesses that weren't cash positive. And so I'm, very quickly moved from a guy who was about to buy businesses to one who was now going to sell businesses.$$(Laughter) Liquidate 'em, yeah.$$Liquidating and actually ultimately shutting down ARCO Metals. So I ended up being responsible for the sale of American Brass [American Brass Company], which was the largest brass company in the country at the time, about 560 (unclear) $5 million in sales. And Wisconsin Centrifugal [Waukesha, Wisconsin], which I was the chairman of the board of that before selling it, and that was about a $65 million business. So I did that, then basically ARCO Metals was shut down, I moved to ARCO Chemical [ARCO Chemical Company] in Philadelphia [Pennsylvania] in the mid-'80s [1980s], and then did a number of things at ARCO Chemical.$$And what are some of the highlights at ARCO Chemical?$$Well, I guess I was the first African American officer, I became--I ran a--I was responsible for Europe and Asia for a plastics business, then moved to public affairs. Became the VP of public affairs, did that for a while. It was a newly public company, so I had a more, much more, much more public stance. I ended up becoming vice president of national accounts, responsible for about 40 percent of the company's sales, did that for a while. Became vice president of purchasing and supply, as well as had responsibility for transportation services and customer service. I did that for a while, and then I became, then I had worldwide continuous improvement.