ACBC 3RD WINTER AWARD DINNER NOV. 2012
PROFILE OF AWARDEES:
1. ACBC AWARD FOR LEADERSHIP:
a). Senator Mike Brubaker:
Senator Mike Brubaker
Senator Mike Brubaker is currently serving his second four-year term representing Lancaster and Chester County residents in the Pennsylvania Senate. Constituent service is Senator Brubaker’s highest priority as a legislator. He holds monthly town hall meetings throughout the district to stay connected with local residents, and he enjoys taking part in a number of community events throughout the region.
Senator Brubaker serves as Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, which is tasked with reviewing legislation affecting Pennsylvania’s tax codes, including any future tax increases or cuts and local, municipal and school tax issues. The Committee also provides oversight over the Department of Revenue, the Pennsylvania Lottery and public pension programs. Senator Brubaker also serves as Vice Chairman of the Senate State Government Committee and a member of the Senate Committees on Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Appropriations, Game and Fisheries and Local Government.
Senator Brubaker served as Chairman of the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee from 2007 through 2010. He was elected to serve as Chairman of the Chesapeake Bay Commission in 2011, and he was elected Chairman of Pennsylvania’s Delegation to the Commission in 2010 and 2011. Senator Brubaker created and serves as Chairman of the legislative Hunger Caucus and the International Commerce Caucus. He also has authored new laws to protect local consumers from mortgage fraud and help municipalities reduce energy costs to consumers.
Prior to his election to office, Senator Brubaker served as President and CEO of three private companies that offer expertise in agriculture development and engineering. Senator Brubaker is a graduate of Manheim Township High School and a recipient of the Manheim Township High School Distinguished Alumnus award, and he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Agronomy from West Virginia University. He also completed the Program for Emerging Political Leaders at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business and the PA Rural Leadership Program. He lives in Lancaster County with his wife, Cindy. They have been married for 28 years and have three adult children.
b). Ambassador of Nigeria to USA: H.E. Prof. Ade Adefuye
Ambassador Adebowale Ibibapo Adefuye
Professor Adefuye is an academic diplomat and a conflict and governance specialist with 22 years experience in international affairs and development, and 12 years of research and teaching experience. Some positions he has held in the past decade include Nigeria’s Ambassador to Jamaica, Deputy High Commissioner to the United Kingdom and Director, Africa Section – Commonwealth Secretariat, London. He was also the Special Advisor to the Commonwealth Secretary-General on African affairs since 2000 and advisor to ECOWAS President on Democracy and Good Governance since 2008. Ambassador Adefuye holds a PhD in history and was a senior lecturer at the University of Lagos between 1985 and 1987. Ambassador Adefuye is married and hails from Ogun state in southwestern Nigeria. Professor Ade Adefuye, was appointed Nigeria’s ambassador to the United States in March 2010
c). Ambassador of Ghana to USA: H.E. Daniel Ohene Agyekum
Mr. Daniel Ohene Agyekum
Daniel Ohene Agyekum was born 68 years ago at Juaso in the Ashanti Region of Ghana on March 10, 1942.
He started school at the Juaso Government Primary School in 1948 and continued thereafter to the Nkawkaw Anglican Primary School in 1951. In 1953, he entered Adumasa Catholic Middle School where he completed his first cycle education in 1955. He then proceeded to Achimota School where he attained his G.C.E. Ordinary Level in 1960 and Advanced level in 1962.
Mr. Ohene Agyekum graduated with a Bachelor of Arts, Honours Degree in History from the University of Ghana, Legon, in 1965. Inspired by a strong belief in service to his country and people Mr. Ohene Agyekum applied to join the Ghana Foreign Service and was appointed Foreign Service Officer , Branch A5 that same year. In 1966, he obtained a post graduate Diploma in Public Administration at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) and as part of his diplomatic training, undertook further studies at the Australian National University, Canberra, where he obtained an International Certificate in Diplomacy (1970) .
He was seconded to the Ashanti Regional Administration as a District Administrative Officer from 1966 to 1969.
His first diplomatic posting was to the Ghana Embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel where he served creditably from 1971 to 1974 and earned promotion to the grade of Foreign Service Officer, A3. He also served in the Ghana Embassy in Copenhagen from 1976 to 1981, and was promoted to the grade of Foreign Service Officer, A2 during his tour of duty. After reposting to Accra in 1981, he served as Deputy Director with responsibility for the Middle East and Asia Divisions of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, until 1982 when he was seconded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) as Adviser on International Relations. He was subsequently appointed Acting Eastern Regional Secretary, Koforidua, from 1983 – 1986. Shortly thereafter, in 1986, he was promoted to the grade of FSO A1. In December 1986, he was appointed Ghana’s High Commissioner to Canada, where he served for six (6) years.
In his distinguished career, Ambassador Ohene Agyekum served on several delegations to international conferences. During his tenure as High Commissioner in Ottawa, he led Ghana’s delegation to negotiations leading to the adoption of the Montreal Protocol on the Substances that deplete the Ozone Layer, held in September 1987; and also attended the international Conference on Financial Leasing in Ottawa in 1988 and the UNDP Environmental Conference in Nairobi, Kenya.
Mr. Ohene Agyekum’s political career began in earnest in April 1992 with his appointment as Acting PNDC Ashanti Regional Secretary. He was confirmed in 1993 as substantive Minister in the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Government. Cabinet reshuffle in 1996 sent him to the Greater Accra Regional Minister until December, 1999.
He became Minister in Chieftaincy Affairs and State Protocol from December 1999 to December 2000.
He has proven his mettle as a strong political activist and a force to reckon with in the NDC Party, particularly in the Ashanti Region of Ghana, where he contested and won the position of Regional Chairman in 2001.
Ambassador Ohene Agyekum was appointed to his current position by His Excellency, Professor John Evans Atta Mills, President of the Republic of Ghana in January 2009. An accomplished diplomat and a discerning and astute politician, he comes to Washington, DC imbued with a rich experience in both fields of endeavour and motivated by an unwavering personal commitment to the pursuit of progress and prosperity for Ghana. Ambassador Ohene Agyekum is married with five (5) children.
d). Ambassador of Burkina Faso to USA: H.E. Seydou Bouda
MR. Bouda Seydou,
Ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of Burkina Faso
Seydou Bouda became Ambassador of Burkina Faso to the United States on September 2, 2011. Prior to his appointment he served as Minister of Economy and Development and also Minister of Health in Burkina Faso. He has also served as Cabinet Secretary General of the Government of Burkina Faso.
EMBASSY: Embassy of Burkina Faso
2340 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20008
Phone: (202) 332-5577
Fax: (202) 667-1882
e). Ambassador of Trinidad and Tobago to USA: H. E. Dr. Neil Parsan DVM, MBA, CACM, RFC
His Excellency Dr. Neil Parsan DVM, MBA, CACM, RFC
Ambassador of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago to the United States of America and Mexico &
Permanent Representative of Trinidad and Tobago to the Organization of American States
Dr. Neil Parsan assumed the position of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the United States of America and The United Mexican States and Permanent Representative of Trinidad and Tobago to the Organization of American States (OAS) on February 7, 2011.
Dr. Parsan did his Undergraduate Medical Degree at the University of the West Indies, Faculty of Medical Sciences where he graduated with Distinction. After spending eight (8) years as a Lecturer/Tutor at the Faculty of Medical Sciences (UWI), he pursued a Master of Business Administration (MBA) where he graduated as Top Student with Distinction.
He also holds a Registered Financial Consultant (RFC) Degree, a CACM from Harvard University School of Public Health and a Diploma in International Trade Management (Dip. ITM) from ITM Worldwide in Sweden.
He was a Director in several Companies – locally and regionally. He is presently a Director at the Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business (GSB) Alumni Board and Vice President of the Private Hospital Association of Trinidad and Tobago (PHATT). He has consulted on several Special Projects locally and internationally.
An avid runner and sports enthusiast, he does a lot of traveling and is fluent in Spanish as a Second language.
f). Ambassador of Botswana to USA: H. E. Ms. Tebelelo Seretse
Her Excellency Tebelelo Seretse
Tebelelo Seretse (Nee) Mazile became Ambassador of Botswana to the United States on February 16, 2011. This is her first ambassadorial assignment.
From 1999 until 2004 she served in the government of Botswana. She was Minister of Works, Transport & Communications from February 2002- October 2004; Minister of Trade Industry, Wildlife & Tourism from September 2000-January 2002; Acting Minister for Presidential Affairs from January 2000-August 2000; and Assistant Minister for Presidential Affairs from October 1999-December 1999.
She served as Senior Research officer from 1978-1984 at the Bank of Botswana, and Finance Manager for BP Botswana (Pty) Ltd from 1984 – 1989. She has been a member of a variety of boards, at different times,from 1996-2010, including Denel, Bank of Botswana, Debswana Diamond Company, and Botswana Insurance Holding Ltd, and has served as a chairperson of the Labour Advisory Board, RPC Data, Funeral Services Group, and Diragake (Pty) Ltd. She was Director of the board of Excess Petroleum (Pty) Ltd. She was head of the African delegation group for the Fourth World Trade Organisation, Ministerial Conference in DOHA in 2001.
Seretse has been a member of the Law Society of Botswana and Admitted Attorney since 1995, and is a member of the Delta Mu Delta Honour Society for Economics. Since 2009 she has been a member of the Central Committee Botswana Democratic Party. Seretse received a Bachelor of Law from the University of Botswana in 1995, an MA in Economics at the University of Cincinatti (Ohio) in 1980, a BSc in Accounting from Morgan State University (Maryland) in 1978, and a BA in Economics from Morgan State University in 1978. She speaks English, Setswana and I’Kalanga.
She has four children. Her hobbies are squash, reading, aerobics and walking.
2. ACBC Award for Entrepreneurship
a). Mr. Mike Perason
Michael K. Pearson (“Mike”) is president, founder, and owner of Union Packaging, LLC (“UP”). Established in 1999, UP is a Yeadon, Pennsylvania based maker of earth-friendly Food Service and Quick Service Restaurant paperboard packaging. Food is served around the nation in clamshell, folded, and nested cartons made by UP.
Mike has a prolific history of nonprofit service. He currently is on the board of directors for the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce (Executive Board of Directors), Philadelphia Health Management Corporation (Treasurer), ACHIEVEability, United Way of Greater Philadelphia & Southern New Jersey, and the Committee of Seventy. Mike is presently part of the Governor’s Manufacturing Advisory Council for Pennsylvania.
He has held leadership positions with the U.S. Small Business Administration National Small Business Development Center Advisory Board, St. Christopher’s Foundation for Children, the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce, the Delaware Valley Industrial Resource Center, Philadelphia Safe and Sound, the Community YMCA of Eastern Delaware County, the Big Picture Alliance and the Team Pennsylvania Foundation, the Delaware County Community College Regional Advanced Manufacturing Committee, and Local Advisory Committee for the Delaware County Technical Schools, William Penn School District.
May 2012, the Urban League of Philadelphia presented the Spirit of Innovation Award to Union Packaging. In 2010, Mike was the recipient of the Philadelphia Business Journal’s Minority Business Leader Award and was honored by Richard E. Marriott, Chairman of the Marriott Foundation for hiring young adults with disabilities. Burger King Corporation selected Union Packaging 2006 Supplier of the Year for outstanding performance in their procurement system. In 2005, the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Philadelphia District Office selected Mike as Eastern Pennsylvania Small Business Person of the Year. In 2007 the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce honored Mike and Union Packaging as Manufacturer of the Year at its small business awards ceremony. On July 23, 2007 the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency selected Union Packaging the Minority Manufacturer of the Year.
June 2012, Mike was a panelist on “Keeping America Competitive: Addressing the Skills Gap in Manufacturing” at the Society for Human Resource Management (“SHRM”)’s Worldwide Conference and Exposition, an event co-sponsored by SHRM and U.S. Department of Labor. In February 2012, he served as keynote speaker for the Philadelphia Chapter of The Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, a group dedicated to cultivating students with an entrepreneurial spirit. On September 15, 2011, he testified as a roundtable panelist for “The Future of Employment for People with the Most Significant Disabilities” before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee and the U.S. Department of Labor – Office of Disability Employment Policy. In November 2011, he was the keynote speaker at the New Mexico Business Leadership Network (“NMBLN”)’s 5th Annual Employer Training, the symposium was titled “Disability at Work”.
He has been an entrepreneurial presenter at The Wharton School graduate business course on Entrepreneurship in 2000 and the Michigan State University School of Packaging, undergraduate course in Packaging Economics (2002, 2003, and 2004), and Philadelphia University’s MBA Program in fall of 2010. He has also addressed free enterprise at the City of Chester, PA Micro-enterprise Center (2003) and on small business technology integration at the Pennsylvania Minority Business Development Center (2004).
Mike served in the United States military as combat duty Army Officer in the Persian Gulf War, where he received the Bronze Star. Prior to starting UP, Mike was employed with Pfizer, Inc., Wyeth, Laboratories, and Westvaco (known today as MeadWestvaco). He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania.
He is originally from West Philadelphia and was raised in Lansdowne, PA. He currently resides in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
b). Ms. Chetachi Dunkley:
Casmir Care Services, Inc
Casmir Care Services, Inc. is a service-based organization formed in 2007 to provide quality and compassionate care to those who are developmentally and/or behaviorally challenged, physically disabled or limited because of mental retardation and/or mental health issues.
Under the guidance of its founder and CEO, Ms. Chetachi Dunkley, it has shown consistent growth since its inception and currently employs close to 200 people who service more than 150 clients.
Being a service-based organization requires that proper licensing, certificates, training and professional development be ongoing features—which the organization pushes at every turn.
“It’s not good enough to be one of the best,” says Ms. Dunkley. “We want to be THE best.”
With that in mind, quality of service is always at the forefront of the organization’s mission of care. From in-home support services, day program support services, to in-home respite and round-the-clock residential support, Casmir is always ahead of the curve when it comes to providing our consumers with best care possible.
The organization has also established a parents and family advisory committee which acts as both an advocate and supporter of their loved ones and their quality of life.
c). Ms. Phoebe Coles:
Ms. Coles has worked consistently for 20 years in the “people” business. Ms. Coles joy comes from helping communities address their needs. She currently serves as Executive Director for Keep Philadelphia Beautiful, an environmental non-profit agency.
In addition to her work with Keep Philadelphia Beautiful, Ms. Coles is also a partner in a family-owned marketing company, Community Marketing Concepts. Most of the work Ms. Coles does is community resource based and focused in the areas of health education, higher education and environmental education.
Ms. Coles’ professional experience is in the areas of public relations, advertising, sales and communications. Some of her previous positions include: marketing executive for the Utility Services Fund, advertising sales for the Philadelphia Tribune, and public relations specialist for Freedom Theatre.
Ms. Coles is the Vice President for the Board of Directors of the League of Woman Voters Philadelphia Chapter and a member of the Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful Board of Directors and a member of the Community Advisory Committee for SEPTA. She is graduate of the Philadelphia High School for Girls and Temple University School of Communications. Ms. Coles is most proud of the mom-work she does for her only son.
ACBC Award for Excellence :
Chief Dr. Stan Straughter
STANLEY L. STRAUGHTER
Mr. Straughter has nearly thirty (30) years experience in international development. He has lived and worked in countries on the continents of Africa, Central Asia, the Caribbean and Russia. As a finance specialist, Mr. Straughter has provided services to foreign governments in governance and transparency worked with Finance Ministers and provided advice and counsel to governments on trade policy and foreign direct investment. Mr. Straughter speaks French and has considerable experience working with bi-lateral and multi-lateral financial development entities such as USAID, African Development Bank, African Development Foundation, Eastern Caribbean Investment Promotion service (ECIPS), U.S. Trade and Development Administration and the World Bank; Mr. Straughter has experience in the following countries.
Cameroon, Egypt, India, Cote d ‘Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Haiti, Jamaica, Kenya, Israel, Niger, St. Lucia, St. Kitts, Senegal, Togo, Virgin Islands, Russia, Uzbekistan, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Brazil, Haiti, Nigeria, and Jamaica.
Mr. Straughter advises public and private sector entities on issues related to international trade, exporting and importing, marketing analysis, and preparing market penetration strategies to emerging markets for small and medium sized businesses. He has organized trade and investment missions to emerging market countries and organizes investment promotion seminars in the United States on behalf of developing countries, particularly African and Caribbean countries. Successful trade missions have been organized to Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Senegal, South Africa, Zambia, Ghana, Cameroon and Zimbabwe. Mr. Straughter is also a specialist on issues affecting small and medium enterprises in developing countries and the United States.
Mr. Straughter is involved with many international organizations as reflected in his resume. In particular he is the Honorary Consul for the Republic of Guinea, he was appointed by the Mayor of Philadelphia to Chair the Mayor’s Commission for African and Caribbean Immigrant Affairs and is a founding member of the Jamaican Trade Council of Greater Philadelphia. He is also a board member of the Global Interdependence Center, the Constituency for Africa and serves as one of the founders and coordinator of the African-American Unity Caucus.
Mr. Straughter serves as a senior advisor and consultant to large and small organizations both public and private sector and not-for –profit entities. The following is a listing of recent engagements.
OIC International, Inc Philadelphia, Pa. 1996 – 2005
Assistant to the President
Mr. Straughter provided advice and counsel to the President of OIC International, Inc. a NGO serving, Poland, Philippines, Haiti, and eighteen (18) countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. As a assistant to the president Mr. Straughter assisted the organization in the design, implementation and obtaining funding of projects in the countries of Guinea, Ghana, Togo, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Angola, Uganda, Nigeria.
As a direct result of Mr. Straughter’s advice and counsel OIC International has received nearly $10 million in project funding from the USDA and USAID. This funding has included working with the congressional leadership to draft earmarks and write specific legislation to support funding for OIC International initiatives. On behalf of OIC International, Mr. Straughter has conceived and organized several major events such as the African Women’s and Children’s Health Symposium at the World Bank for five (5) years and in Philadelphia the Annual Jazz Program. Both events have raised money for the organization and assisted in outreach to potential individual donors, corporations and foundations.
Mr. Straughter’s work has also included introducing the leadership of OIC International to many corporate leaders. This work has led to the organization of OIC International Business Advisory Committee (BAC). The BAC was an organization of twenty (20) corporations that worked with Mr. Straughter and the president on programs and special initiatives.
OIC of America, Inc Philadelphia, Pa. 1996 – Present
Assistant to the President
Mr. Straughter serves as the Senior Advisor to the President on forming public/private partnerships. OICA is a vocational job training organization with sixty (60) affiliates in thirty-three (33) states. Headquartered in Philadelphia, OICA provides technical assistance; design programs and assist its affiliates in identifying resources for program implementation.
As a result of Mr. Straughter’s work, OICA has developed partnerships with Fannie Mae, the National Black Caucus of State Legislators, the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the World Conference of Mayors. Fannie Mae annually provides funds to host the OICA executive directors to visit the Fannie Mae Headquarters in Washington to discuss housing policy for low income and minority individuals. Fannie Mae has also provided $2 million to Central Alabama OIC to fund affordable housing development.
Mr. Straughter has also assisted the president in achieving an important legislative initiative. This includes working with members of the US Senate and House of Representatives to obtain several “earmarks” for OICA projects. He also organizes the OICA initiative in Washington, DC every other year. Mr. Straughter meets with leaders at the local, state and federal level on behalf of OICA and its affiliates.
International Foundation for Education & Self-Help Phoenix, AZ 1999-Present
Assistant to the Chairman and President
Mr. Straughter has served as a senior advisor to the International Foundation for Education and Self-Help (IFESH). For IFESH, he has participated in the organization of the African African-American Summits. He has organized workshops and seminars for the organization’s Bankers for Africa programs and has provided counsel on its government relation’s activities for African countries.
For many years Mr. Straughter consulted directly with Rev. Leon H. Sullivan, the founder of IFESH and OIC International. This work included arranging and attending meetings with leaders of Corporations, Foundations and government agencies with and for Rev. Sullivan. Most recently, working with the new president Dr. Julie H. Sullivan, Mr. Straughter has assisted IFESH in obtaining funding from the World Coca Foundation, Hershey Foods and Mars, Inc. He is also arranging funding from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), ALCOA and the World Bank..
World Conference of Mayors (WCM) Tuskegee, Ala.
Advisor to the Founder
Mr. Straughter serves as advisor to the World Conference of Mayors (WCM). This organization is composed of mayors from around the world. Founded by Mayor Johnny Ford, Tuskegee, Alabama, the organization convenes seminars and conferences for its membership to network and exchange views on democracy and governance, civil society advocacy, government ethics, legislative oversight and local government transparency. Mr. Straughter advises the Director General of the World Conference of Mayors and organizes delegations to sub-Saharan African countries.
Eastern Caribbean Investment Promotion Service (ECIPS) Washington, DC
As a Senior Advisor on Trade, Mr. Straughter represented the Eastern Caribbean Investment Promotion Services (ECIPS) in the United States. He organized in-bound and out-bound trade missions between the United States and the member countries of ECIPS. He was directly involved in the increased foreign direct investment into the ECIPS member countries from the United States. The investments benefited small and medium enterprises in the Caribbean
Pennsylvania Department of Commerce Harrisburg, Pa
Mr. Straughter designed and directed the Minority Export Development Technical Assistance Program (MEDTAP). IN this capacity he successfully involved minority firms based in Pennsylvania, in international trade, exporting, importing, joint ventures, and trade missions. MEDTAP served over 300 minority firms state wide, providing export counseling, financial packaging, export marketing, outreach and advocacy; international trade workshops and seminars and assistance in obtaining contracts and export sales. Under Mr. Straughter’s direction MEDTAP assisted its clients in getting direct loans, loan guarantees and risk insurance for the completion of international transactions. The Pennsylvania Department of Commerce and the U.S. Trade and Development Administration funded the project.
FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT CONSULTING
In the area of financial management Mr. Straughter engagements included serving as Senior Finance Advisor to the OIC International project in Lome, Togo As a Senior Finance Advisor he designed and implemented an accounting system for the production farm and training center.
For the Republic of Niger Mr. Straughter was a Senior Advisor to the Nations Agricultural Bank. Under contract to the US Agency for International Development he restructured the Banks loan portfolio.
Mr. Straughter served as a Senior Advisor to the African Development Bank in the Ivory Coast. Mr. Straughter assisted the institution in its efforts to sell its securities in the United States to public sector retirement funds. Mr. Straughter was instrumental in getting over thirty (30) state legislatures to amend their banking laws to allow African Development Bank securities to be sold in their states.
In the Virgin Islands Mr. Straughter served as a senior advisor to the government Employees Retirement System (GERS). He assisted the GERS in the restructuring of its loan portfolio and the design of a system of accountability for reporting transactions to management.
ACBC Award for Innovation
High Chief M.C. Orji
Royal High Chief M. C. Orji came to the United States of America in 1997 as a certified British licensed Aeronautical Engineer. After his training in Amsterdam , Holland , he worked for the Nigeria Airways for some years. He became certified to maintain aircrafts in the United States after successfully going through a U.S. College of Aviation Engineering Technology program.
He got a job in Minnesota , but left the job after two years as he could not withstand the Minnesota cold weather. He moved to Dallas Texas and later to Philadelphia , Pennsylvania , where he taught Aircraft Engineering Maintenance at the School of Aviation Maintenance , North-East Local Airport , Philadelphia ; he left this teaching job and worked for PSA Airlines and US Airways at the Philadelphia International Airport . In 2002 he branched out to study Automotive Engineering; he later became a licensed Motor Vehicle Inspector for Penndot.
With his High Lolo – Mrs. Martina Orji who also came to the United States as a Chartered Accountant but now a Registered Nurse, they built from scratch a state certified auto repair and inspection station – the Iroko Motor Vehicle Authority LLC, 4816 Woodland Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19143 that provides a wide range of auto repair and related services, including Auto Tags, Title Transfer and a very low Insurance coverage. Royal High Chief M. C. Orji is a community leader; he is President Emeritus of the Mbaise Association that covers the state of Pennsylvania , Delaware and New Jersey. H e has built a secretariat for community leaders and titled Chiefs to meet and discuss.
ACBC Award for Service
a). Ms. Darlene R. Walker:
Darlene R. Walker
Prepare International, Inc. came to life in the heart and soul of one ordinary woman without portfolio. Darlene Walker, a 25 year resident of Williamstown, New Jersey, was once called a “little warrior.” Over the years, that title has proven true. Darlene is the President/CEO of Prepare International, Inc. an organization which she founded almost single handedly to foster lasting relationships between Africa and the United States. As the United States straddles the world as the sole super power, Ms. Walker saw the urgent need for ordinary American to become more knowledgeable citizens of the world and to increase international understanding as the path to world peace and she undertook to address that problem alone with no financing, and no support. All that she had was her burning desire to make the world a better place for her children, grandchildren and her community.
While on travel to West Africa in the early 90’s, Ms. Walker saw the opportunity to help students there while bringing the world to South Jersey. In 1996, she launched a program to build bridges of understanding between Africa and America through the interaction of young people. Her efforts helped to fill the void in educational and cultural exchange opportunities between Africa and United States. She envisioned a program of student-to-student and school-to-school exchanges which on both sides of the Atlantic would gain from the exposure to new cultures and educational opportunities – at the same time beginning the process of building bridges of understanding across the Atlantic.
Since 1996 with the help of an exemplary Board of Directors and community volunteers, Ms. Walker has a litany of accomplishments on the international arena:
More than 30 students from Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Senegal, and Togo have come through Prepare International, Inc.’s College Education and have since graduated with at least a Bachelor’s Degree with some holding Master’s and Law Degrees
In 2002, with the support of a $60,000 grant from the US Department of State, Bureau of Cultural Affairs, Ms. Walker launched the Sankofa School-to-School Partnership Program between Monroe Township schools and the International Model School in Cotonou Benin, which included teachers and students traveling from NJ to Benin and vise versa, living with hosts families, respectively each participant learning a new culture and new way of life.
2004 during the 8th Anniversary of Prepare International, Inc. 8 students from West Africa and 7 students from Monroe Township were awarded over $20,000 in scholarships and each student received a computer donated by Texas Instruments
2006 Ms. Walker lead a 12-Member Host Family Delegation (12 individuals) on a tour of Benin, Ghana and Togo—a trip that was offered families who volunteered home stays for college-bound African students.
2006 Ms. Walker awarded more than $678,000 in textbooks and computer programs to more than 35 designated school in Benin
2009 to the present, Prepare International, Inc. has supported the education needs of several rural villages outside of Accra, Ghana, providing uniforms, shoes, school supplies for students, and stipends for teachers to teach approximately 200 students, who otherwise would not have had an opportunity to be educated.
Prepare International, Inc. has come a long way, starting with the vision of Darlene Walker, its founder, and growing into an organization that is touching lives, bringing together students of all ages, parents, and teachers, and facilitating cultural understanding across the globe. While Prepare has achieved significant milestones, the communities in West Africa she has touched, still require more assistance. However, we know with the passion and love for Africa, a firm belief that “if each of us do a little something, we can get a lot done,” and the drive of Darlene Walker, the will be more success stories as the journey continues.
Darlene is a seasoned international traveler, and a tri-athlete. She is a long distance cyclist who rides 178 miles (MS 150 City to Shore Bike Tour) over two days to raise money for Multiple Sclerosis research. She is also an indoor cycling instructor, and has traveled to more than 25 countries in Africa, the Caribbean, Central America, North America, and Europe.
Darlene Walker received a degree in Business Administration from the Wharton School of Business, and has over 40 years of professional experience in the corporate and non-profit arenas. She is a member of St. Matthew’s Baptist Church in Williamstown, New Jersey where she resides with her husband Ronald of 43 years. They are the proud parents of 3 adult children, Ronald, Jr., Tyrus, and Adenike, and proud grandparents of 5 grandchildren.
b). Mr. Jude Arijaje:
Jude Arijaje owns and operates the Philadelphia store of Minuteman Press International, the number 1 printing franchise in the world. Minuteman Press provides high quality and affordable printing services for businesses and organizations in the Delaware Valley region and beyond
Prior to owning the franchise, Jude Arijaje had been a real estate provider and investor with Century 21 Chapel where for 2 consecutive years was a Ruby Award winner given to top real estate producers in the region.
Born in Nigeria, Jude Arijaje graduated in 1987 from the University of Benin with a Bachelors Degree in English and Literature. He has a Post Graduate Degree in Journalism and Certificate in Real Estate from Temple University.
He was a journalist with The Punch, the most widely read newspaper in Nigeria for 12 years. During his time at The Punch, he, for 3 consecutive years, won the Best Entertainment Writer of the Year Award at the Prestigious Nigerian Music Awards
Following the highly challenging, but successful career as an entertainment journalist, which culminated in him the Features Editor of one of the leading newspapers in Nigeria, Jude immigrated to the US in 2000 in search of more challenge and of course, greener pastures.
In the United States, Jude worked as Advocate at the Philadelphia Youth Advocate Program, and also worked as a Case Manager at Transitional Work Corporation where for many years helped to transition people from welfare to work.
In 2008, Jude bought into the Minuteman Press franchise and became the first black owned printing franchise in Philadelphia. In 2011, Minuteman Press, Philadelphia won the “Best of Philadelphia, Printing Services” an award given by the US Commerce Association.
He is affiliated to and holds leadership and Board positions in several organizations including Business Network International, (BNI), Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, African American Chamber of Commerce, African And Caribbean Business Council and The Kingdom Chamber of Commerce of South Jersey
He has participated in several business and leadership program including the highly prestigious E200 Program organized by the Small Business Administration, SBA
Jude spends his free time reading and being a father to his 2 kids, Mejire and Tejire and a husband to his wonderful wife, Edith
c). Mr. Benson Muluh:
Benson Muluh with BS was born in Pinyin, a village in English speaking North West Province of Cameroon on January 1, 1963. Mr. Muluh hails from an extended family of traders. His father’s primary business was cattle farming and real-estate. Benson’s early years were spent helping his father to develop these businesses. In 1985 Benson came to the United States on a student visa to study management planning. He enrolled at Roosevelt University, Chicago, Illinois, to pursue a bachelor’s degree (BS), in accounting; he graduated from Roosevelt in 1989 with a BS degree. He later matriculated into the University’s Master Program in Business Management and in 1990, graduated with an MBA in management.
In 1991, Mr. Muluh was hired by the City Of Chicago as a Project coordinator, for its Maternal Child Health program with a responsibility to design the program’s fiscal compliance policies, outcome measurement, and general impact of program participants. With a budget of over 15 million, Benson coordinated relationship between policy makers, program implementers and consumer. Benson worked in this capacity for seven years.
IN 1999, he after resigning his position with the city of Chicago, he was employed by BOBBY E. Wright Mental Health Program as program Comptroller, he serves in this capacity for three years and in 2002, relocated to the Philadelphia region to peruse his life’s passion and ambition as an entrepreneur. Along with two of his siblings and three children, they established the Farmers International Groceries (FIG) which focuses on serving predominately African and Caribbean customers.
Today, FIG grosses over 3 million dollars in sales revenue and has about 25 employees. FIG has also expanded its businesses into Cameroon and Liberia with a hope of expanding its presence in other parts of Africa. Benson is the father of four children, two girls and two boys all of whom are actively involved in the management of FIG. He also heads a family of 10 in the Philadelphia region. Under Benson leadership, FIG has been active into community events, including support to several organizations including the African Cultural Alliance of North America (ACANA), the African and Caribbean Business Council (ACBC), and the Senegalese amongst others. Benson also serves on the board of the Africaribe Credit Union and the advisory board of the ACANA.
Award for ACBC Person of the Year
Robert O. Agbede
Chairman, CEO & President
Robert O. Agbede is President and CEO of Chester Engineers, a leading water/waste water, facility design build, scientific research and management company. Chester, headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with offices throughout the country as well as international affiliates. Mr. Agbede acquired the firm, that turned 100 last year, in 2003, making it part of the ATS Group, the company he founded in 1987. Chester Engineers is the largest African-American-owned environmental and engineering design firm in the United States and the largest Water and Wastewater treatment plant design and management firm in Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania.
A recognized expert in the field of environmental engineering, Mr. Agbede is a University of Pittsburgh School of Engineering graduate with Bachelors and Masters Degrees and a holder of several U.S. patents. In 2000, he was inducted into the school’s Engineering Hall of Fame, joining other prominent graduates who have made significant contributions to American industry. Mr. Agbede is the recipient of the 2009 Distinguished Alumnus Award of the University of Pittsburgh.
Engineering News-Record [ENR], a recognized authority for engineering and technical news with a subscriber base of 78,000, has consistently ranked Chester Engineers on its Top 500 Design Firms List since 2007. ENR also ranked Chester on its Top 200 Environmental Firms list. The Pittsburgh Business Times honored Chester as a Pittsburgh 100, distinguishing it as one of the 100 fastest growing companies in the region.
Mr. Agbede has developed a work culture that emphasizes the importance of giving back, viewing corporate social responsibility as good business. Chester engages with small/minority businesses and students in areas of mentoring. The Robert O. Agbede Scholarship at the University of Pittsburgh benefits African American students pursuing engineering degrees. Also at the University of Pittsburgh, the Robert O. Agbede Annual Diversity Award encourages recruitment and retention of African American faculty and students. Chester endowments at the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University, presently valued at over 3 million dollars, support African American student enrollment and retention primarily in Engineering and Sciences.
A partial listing of Mr. Agbede’s board memberships and noted appointments follow:
Board member, UPMC, a 10-billion dollar medical system that employs over 50,000 employees; Board of Visitors – UPMC
Former Board member, The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, where he later served as Chairman of the Board of the Pittsburgh branch;
Board member, the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, a private sector leadership organization with over 3,000 regional investors committed to economic growth in southwestern Pennsylvania; Member, Executive Committee
Member of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development CEO Leadership Group of the Energy Alliance of Greater Pittsburgh;
Member of National Advisory Councils to the last three U.S. Secretaries of Energy. Presently serves as a Member of the National Coal Council Advisory Body to the current U.S. Secretary of Energy under President Obama;
Board Member of the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Engineering Board of Visitors; Chairman, Diversity Committee;
Founding Board Member and former Chair of the African American Chamber of Commerce of Western Pennsylvania for seven years;
Former member of the Governor of Pennsylvania Advisory Commission on African American Affairs to advise the Governor on matters pertinent to African Americans in the commonwealth;
Board Member of the Pennsylvania Minority Business Development Authority;
Former Board of Trustees of LaRoche University, Pittsburgh.
Former Board Member of the Fox Chapel Water Authority;
Former Board Member of the United Way of Western Pennsylvania;
Former Board Member of the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh;