I am an African American male with 26 years of success in business, government, and academic environments, I have also been a veteran of the Unites States Army (13 years Active Duty and 13 years Army Reserve) and have now retired from the Army as a Warrant Officer last January 3, 2007
Growing up in Detroit, Michigan, I feel that the city concentrated on automobile production such that it resulted in a high education failure that contributed to mass poverty levels, social unrest, and unhealthy family lifestyles. The environment in Detroit during my childhood created a society of socially-disadvantaged African Americans.
Detroit Michigan during the 1960s was a tough time for African Americans. I lived on 12th street in the heart of three race riots between 1965 and 1967. I was nine years old when I saw my home burned to the ground in 1967 because African Americans tried to clamor for social equality. By the time I was in high school, Detroit was over 90% black, and therefore, social and educational influence was primarily African American. Unfortunately the majority of the youth were drug users and belonging to fatherless homes was the norm. Being a native of Detroit has created a social divide for me since Detroit is over 90% black, therefore my social and educational influence had mainly been African American. Since I was not in an environment where I could freely socialize with other races, my social skills with culturally-diversed people were stunted.
As I look back, though, I learned many important lessons about life during my childhood years. These experiences showed me that with sacrifice and hard work, our family would be able to get through the hard times. My brothers had to undergo a lot of trying times and I had to remain steadfast for them in order to set a good example of how things would turn out well if I become a good role model. Those crises gave me a greater appreciation for the things that I now have.
I attended technical school after high school and joined the Army at the age of 21 because I did not see a future for me and my family in an environment of socially-disadvantaged and segregated people. At this time I discovered that I was unable to read at a 12 grade level. Immediately, I set it upon myself that my education would become one of my priorities. I studied diligently to raise my educational level to the highest. In 1983, I retook the ARMY Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test and the results indicated an improvement from 98 to 126. Aside from that, all my scores were over 120 in each of the 8 individual test categories.
Raising my General Technical score allowed me to re-class from artillery to a computer job as a mainframe repair person and a computer programmer. Over the years I helped many people from all walks of life. In 1988, General Grubbs suggested that I work on writing and speaking skills, which I did. He was a mentor to me, and I appreciated it. During this time, I began to engage myself in many self-improvement projects. Topping this was when I earned a Masters Degree in Business Administration and Technology Management in 2004. The difficult times I endured during my growing up years in Detroit are largely responsible for the work ethic that has resulted in my accomplishments to date.