ITSMF Founding Member and Chair Emeritus Carl Williams passes away at 84

DURHAM, NC—Information Technology Senior Management Forum (ITSMF) Founding Member and Chair Emeritus Mr. Carl Chanson Williams passed away at the age of 84, on July 2, 2022. Mr. Williams of Durham, North Carolina, was born in Cincinnati, Ohio.

With a Bachelor of Science degree from State University of New York-Brockport and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Rochester, Mr. Williams’ career included duties as Manager, Finance Systems, for the Xerox Corporation, in Rochester, NY; Director, Information Management, American Can Company, Greenwich, CT; and Vice President, Information Technology, for the Amoco Corporation in Chicago, IL prior to its merger with BP in 1998. 

Mr. Williams served as an executive director for Concerned Association Rochester, New York, 1971-1975; board of directors for Stamford Community Arts Council, 1983-1984; as a trustee with Roosevelt University, 1995-1997 and University of Rochester, since 1999; and he served with the Executive Leadership Foundation, since 2000.

Mr. Williams also was a member of the Executive Leadership Council since 1993; member of the Society for Information Management (executive council 1980-1983, president 1985, president council since 1986); and served with the Executive Leadership Council on its foundation board of trustees. He was an Adjunct Professor at Fordham University, since 1991.

Mr. Williams is survived by his wife Clare; his daughter Ryan Michelle Bathé; his son-in-law Sterling K. Brown; his grandchildren, Andrew and Amaré Brown; and his sisters, Juanita Collins and Sylvia Torrey.

In lieu of flowers, the family desires that donations be made directly to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

About ITSMF

The Information Technology Senior Management Forum (ITSMF), formed in 1996, began with a conversation between a few prominent technology executives who discovered that only 3% of information technology management roles were held by Black professionals. Studies suggested that not enough Black professionals were positioned for senior-level technology positions. This discussion sparked those executives, most of whom were CIOs of major corporations, to action as they were compelled to reach, teach and nurture aspiring technology professionals.

Under the leadership of Mr. Carl Williams, this IRS 501(c)(3) organization began recruiting Black professionals who ranked among the Who’s Who in technology, along with companies and individuals that boldly dared to disrupt the status quo and seek more diversity, equity and inclusion among technology executives.

For over 25 years, ITSMF has remained the premier national organization dedicated exclusively to cultivating executive talent among Black technology professionals. The organization is extremely proud of their history, encouraged by today’s progress and excited about the work still needed to fulfill tomorrow’s promises.

Source and photos: ITSMF


BDPA Co-Founder, IT Hall of Famer, and Tech Industry Legend Earl A. Pace, Jr. passes away at 79

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

By Norman Mays, Kenneth Wilson, and Sharrarne Morton, BDPA

Earl A. Pace, Jr.

National BDPA photo by Charlie Perkins

LARGO, MD (BDPA) – Earl A. Pace, Jr.,  a computer programmer trainee at the Pennsylvania Railroad who went on to become an entrepreneur, an iconic figure of civil rights in the tech industry, and a staunch proponent of technology inclusion initiatives, died February 19, 2022, after enduring a long illness his family said in a statement.  He was 79.

“All of us will miss his caring, his love and his sound wisdom as co-founder of Black Data Processing Associates (BDPA). The date and details of a memorial service will be announced in the near future. Please keep us in your hearts and prayers.”

A distinguished alum of The Pennsylvania State University (Penn State), Mr. Pace has been in the Information Technology (IT) industry since 1965. He left the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1967. Over the next decade he rose through the ranks of programmer, programmer analyst, programming manager, and on to Vice President of a financial telecommunications company in Philadelphia, PA. He became a business owner in 1976 when he incorporated Pace Data Systems, a full service information technology firm providing services and support through its Philadelphia, PA and Washington, D.C. offices primarily to banks and savings banks.

In 1975, Mr. Pace co-founded BDPA  in Philadelphia and operated as its president for two years.  In 1978 he coordinated the formation of BDPA into a national organization and functioned as its first National President until 1980. National BDPA has grown into one of the largest professional organizations representing minorities across the IT industry.  In 1992, the BDPA Education and Technology Foundation (BETF or BDPA Foundation) chaired by Mr. Pace, was founded to support the education and technical programs of BDPA. In 2011, Mr. Pace was the first IT Innovator honored during CompTIA’s IT Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

Within BDPA and on a broader industrial scale, Mr. Pace was a vocal advocate for business ownership. His primary message since starting BDPA has always been minorities should strive to rise above just ‘getting a job’ while pursuing  ownership, operating their own businesses, and landing a position on a Corporate Board of Directors.

About BDPA

BDPA, formerly known as Black Data Processing Associates, is an international organization with a diverse membership of professionals and students at all levels in the fields of information technology, computer science, data science, and related science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Founded in Philadelphia, PA in 1975, BDPA Members and BDPA Student Members remain actively engaged in serving their respective communities through technology inclusion programs and STEM outreach events while charting the futures of IT and digital inclusivity with Industry. 

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Contact

Norman Mays
216.310.2173
info@bdpatoday.org
Kenneth Wilson
216.773.0700
info@bdpatoday.org
Sharrarne Morton
240.463.6915
media@bdpadc.org

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This book was written to enrich lives. It is a story about helping people grow, build, and achieve greatness. The story of the Black Data Processing Associates (BDPA) – a non-profit organization of African-American computer professionals growing, building, and achieving success together – is one of developing diverse talent and improving their career options in the Information Technology industry. BDPA was born in 1975 because its founders believed African Americans in particular were marginalized in the burgeoning field of data processing, known today as information technology (IT), STEM, and cyber.

BDPA Mourns the passing of Henry E. Ford

HENRY E. FORD
Garfield Heights, Ohio
January 16, 1941 – September 8, 2021

GARFIELD HEIGHTS, OH (BDPA Cleveland)—During his 36 years employment and consulting with a world leader in the manufacture of earthmoving equipment, Henry Ford grew through the challenges of adapting to the corporate cultures of General Motors, White Motors, Daimler-Benz, Volvo, Clark Equipment Company, and Hitachi.

He survived many downsizings and reorganizations, and at retirement was retained as a long-term consultant. While still working, Henry began preparing for a second career, enrolling at Capital University, obtaining a degree in Business/Communications, and graduating magna cum laude.

An author, speaker, consultant and publisher of VISIONS Newsletter, Henry connected to audiences through personal examples, historical references and insightful vision. He inspired and challenged diverse audiences from the lectern, in his writings, and through inspirational messages shared around the world using the tools of Social Media, Internet Blogs and Opt-in Mailings.

A U.S, Army veteran, Henry’s community service included several years with REACT, helping insure safety on the nation’s highways; former board member of NAIC’s Northeast Ohio Council; a former Deputy Director of the 9th Street Project’s 1000 Churches Program, an initiative of Rainbow PUSH; and over 20 years of active involvement with National BDPA and BDPA’s Cleveland Chapter.

He was the recipient of the distinguished IEI award, Excellent Service in Education, Member of The Year BDPA-Cleveland, Achievement in Life, Bud Strong Achiever, and others. He has been recognized by the late author Alex Haley, five former members of Congress, and others. His work in Investment Education was acknowledged in the book, It’s About The Money. Henry also held an Insurance License in the State of Ohio. He was a member of the Mt. Zion Church of Oakwood Village. As a member of Eagles of Success International and People of Distinction Humanitarian Awards (PDHA), Henry continued his services to the community.

Henry’s e-books are available on Amazon.com and Kindle by visiting:
https://www.amazon.com/Henry-E.-Ford/e/B001KHB0TW .

Photos and bio courtesy the Ford Family

Vivian C. Wilson, National BDPA Matriarch and Past President, Passes Away at 77

From the Office of Earl A. Pace, Jr.National BDPA Co-Founder

It was with great sorrow that I received notice of the death of Vivian. Vivian was an incredibly special lady! I met Vivian through our membership in Black Data Processing Associates (BDPA), an organization created, in 1975, to prepare African American and other minority youth for careers in Information Technology and to affect the upward mobility of African Americans and other minorities already in the IT industry.

Vivian C. Wilson, National BDPA
Vivian C. Wilson

Vivian made an impact almost immediately upon joining BDPA and rose quickly to delivering that impact to the national level of the organization. In 1986, she received the first “Board of Directors National Outstanding Member of the Year”. Vivian was elected National Vice-President in 1987 and elevated to National President, by election, in 1989.

There have been 18 National Presidents of BDPA, eight have been women of color. Vivian was the 4th BDPA National President and the first female National President. Of all the past Presidents, I believe Vivian had the greatest impact on the organization! She had a way of making every member she met, her friend and part of the BDPA family. She introduced the “BDPA hug” that continues to be demonstrated to this day by the membership! The greatest increase in admitted BDPA Chapters occurred under Vivian’s presidency! She was organized and a true professional. After her 2 terms as president, Vivian and her developed team continued to contribute to BDPA by successfully organizing and conducting the organization’s Annual National Conferences until 1996.

Although not active in BDPA the past several years, there is no doubt that Vivian loved the organization and its objectives. It is also true that BDPA loved Vivian. ― bt

Cover photo courtesy National BDPA (L-R):
Denise Holland, Gina Billings, Milt Haines, George Williams, Diane Davis, Vivian Wilson, Norman Mays, and Earl A. Pace, Jr.

Vivian C. Wilson in Memoriam

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Dies at 87

WASHINGTON — Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died this evening surrounded by her family at her home in Washington, D.C., due to complications of metastatic pancreas cancer. She was 87 years old. Justice Ginsburg was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Clinton in 1993. She was the second woman appointed to the Court and served more than 27 years. She is survived by her two children: Jane Carol Ginsburg (George Spera) and James Steven Ginsburg (Patrice Michaels), four grandchildren: Paul Spera (Francesca Toich), Clara Spera (Rory Boyd), Miranda Ginsburg, Abigail Ginsburg, two step-grandchildren: Harjinder Bedi, Satinder Bedi, and one great-grandchild: Lucrezia Spera. Her husband, Martin David Ginsburg, died in 2010.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. said of Justice Ginsburg: “Our Nation has lost a jurist of historic stature. We at the Supreme Court have lost a cherished colleague. Today we mourn, but with confidence that future generations will remember Ruth Bader Ginsburg as we knew her — a tireless and resolute champion of justice.” 

Justice Ginsburg was born in Brooklyn, New York, March 15, 1933. She married Martin D. Ginsburg in 1954. She received her B.A. from Cornell University, attended Harvard Law School, and received her LL.B. from Columbia Law School. She served as a law clerk to the Honorable Edmund L. Palmieri, Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, from 1959–1961. From 1961–1963, she was a research associate and then associate director of the Columbia Law School Project on International Procedure. She was a Professor of Law at Rutgers University School of Law from 1963–1972, and Columbia Law School from 1972–1980, and a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences in Stanford, California from 1977–1978. In 1971, she was instrumental in launching the Women’s Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union, and served as the ACLU’s General Counsel from 1973–1980, and on the National Board of Directors from 1974–1980. She was appointed a Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 1980. During her more than 40 years as a Judge and a Justice, she was served by 159 law clerks.

While on the Court, the Justice authored My Own Words (2016), a compilation of her speeches and writings.

A private interment service will be held at Arlington National Cemetery.

— Source and photo credits: U.S. Supreme Court

Remembering Chadwick Boseman

Actor Chadwick Boseman, star of Marvel Studios’ groundbreaking film Black Panther, has passed away at the age of 43.

By Ryan Coogler

Before sharing my thoughts on the passing of the great Chadwick Boseman, I first offer my condolences to his family who meant so very much to him. To his wife, Simone, especially.
 
I inherited Marvel and the Russo Brothers’ casting choice of T’Challa. It is something that I will forever be grateful for. The first time I saw Chad’s performance as T’Challa, it was in an unfinished cut of CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR. I was deciding whether or not directing BLACK PANTHER was the right choice for me. I’ll never forget, sitting in an editorial suite on the Disney Lot and watching his scenes. His first with Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, then, with the South African cinema titan, John Kani as T’Challa’s father, King T’Chaka. It was at that moment I knew I wanted to make this movie. After Scarlett’s character leaves them, Chad and John began conversing in a language I had never heard before. It sounded familiar, full of the same clicks and smacks that young black children would make in the States. The same clicks that we would often be chided for being disrespectful or improper. But, it had a musicality to it that felt ancient, powerful, and African. 
 
In my meeting after watching the film, I asked Nate Moore, one of the producers of the film, about the language. “Did you guys make it up?” Nate replied, “that’s Xhosa, John Kani’s native language. He and Chad decided to do the scene like that on set, and we rolled with it.” I thought to myself. “He just learned lines in another language, that day?” I couldn’t conceive how difficult that must have been, and even though I hadn’t met Chad, I was already in awe of his capacity as actor. 
 
I learned later that there was much conversation over how T’Challa would sound in the film. The decision to have Xhosa be the official language of Wakanda was solidified by Chad, a native of South Carolina, because he was able to learn his lines in Xhosa, there on the spot. He also advocated for his character to speak with an African accent, so that he could present T’Challa to audiences as an African king, whose dialect had not been conquered by the West. 
 
I finally met Chad in person in early 2016, once I signed onto the film. He snuck past journalists that were congregated for a press junket I was doing for CREED, and met with me in the green room. We talked about our lives, my time playing football in college, and his time at Howard studying to be a director, about our collective vision for T’Challa and Wakanda. We spoke about the irony of how his former Howard classmate Ta-Nehisi Coates was writing T’Challa’s current arc with Marvel Comics. And how Chad knew Howard student Prince Jones, who’s murder by a police officer inspired Coates’ memoir Between The World and Me.
 
I noticed then that Chad was an anomaly. He was calm. Assured. Constantly studying. But also kind, comforting, had the warmest laugh in the world, and eyes that seen much beyond his years, but could still sparkle like a child seeing something for the first time.    
 
That was the first of many conversations. He was a special person. We would often speak about heritage and what it means to be African. When preparing for the film, he would ponder every decision, every choice, not just for how it would reflect on himself, but how those choices could reverberate. “They not ready for this, what we are doing…” “This is Star Wars, this is Lord of the Rings, but for us… and bigger!” He would say this to me while we were struggling to finish a dramatic scene, stretching into double overtime. Or while he was covered in body paint, doing his own stunts. Or crashing into frigid water, and foam landing pads. I would nod and smile, but I didn’t believe him. I had no idea if the film would work. I wasn’t sure I knew what I was doing. But I look back and realize that Chad knew something we all didn’t. He was playing the long game.  All while putting in the work. And work he did. 
 
He would come to auditions for supporting roles, which is not common for lead actors in big budget movies. He was there for several M’Baku auditions. In Winston Duke’s, he turned a chemistry read into a wrestling match. Winston broke his bracelet. In Letitia Wright’s audition for Shuri, she pierced his royal poise with her signature humor, and would bring about a smile to T’Challa’s face that was 100% Chad. 
 
While filming the movie, we would meet at the office or at my rental home in Atlanta, to discuss lines and different ways to add depth to each scene. We talked costumes, military practices. He said to me “Wakandans have to dance during the coronations. If they just stand there with spears, what separates them from Romans?” In early drafts of the script. Eric Killmonger’s character would ask T’Challa to be buried in Wakanda. Chad challenged that and asked, what if Killmonger asked to be buried somewhere else?
 
Chad deeply valued his privacy, and I wasn’t privy to the details of his illness. After his family released their statement, I realized that he was living with his illness the entire time I knew him. Because he was a caretaker, a leader, and a man of faith, dignity and pride, he shielded his collaborators from his suffering. He lived a beautiful life. And he made great art. Day after day, year after year. That was who he was. He was an epic firework display. I will tell stories about being there for some of the brilliant sparks till the end of my days. What an incredible mark he’s left for us.
 
I haven’t grieved a loss this acute before. I spent the last year preparing, imagining and writing words for him to say, that we weren’t destined to see. It leaves me broken knowing that I won’t be able to watch another close-up of him in the monitor again or walk up to him and ask for another take. 
 
It hurts more to know that we can’t have another conversation, or facetime, or text message exchange. He would send vegetarian recipes and eating regimens for my family and me to follow during the pandemic.  He would check in on me and my loved ones, even as he dealt with the scourge of cancer. 
 
In African cultures we often refer to loved ones that have passed on as ancestors. Sometimes you are genetically related. Sometimes you are not. I had the privilege of directing scenes of Chad’s character, T’Challa, communicating with the ancestors of Wakanda. We were in Atlanta, in an abandoned warehouse, with bluescreens, and massive movie lights, but Chad’s performance made it feel real. I think it was because from the time that I met him, the ancestors spoke through him. It’s no secret to me now how he was able to skillfully portray some of our most notable ones. I had no doubt that he would live on and continue to bless us with more. But it is with a heavy heart and a sense of deep gratitude to have ever been in his presence, that I have to reckon with the fact that Chad is an ancestor now. And I know that he will watch over us, until we meet again. 
 
Ryan Coogler 

Press release and photo ©2020 Marvel Studios

Obituary: Rod W. Flakes, BDPA Boston Metrowest

BOSTON, MA — Roderick “Rod” Wesley Flakes passed away on Friday, April 17th at the age of 74 from the COVID-19 virus. Rod was born on October 3, 1945, son of the late John and Lurlene Flakes of Birmingham, AL.

rod-flakes-obitRod grew up in Birmingham, graduated from Ulman High School in 1963, went on to earn a BS in Electrical Engineering from Howard University in 1968 and continued his studies to earn a MS in Engineering Management from Northeastern University in 1976.

Rod lived in Washington, DC and Philadelphia, PA before settling in Medway, MA to raise his family. Rod spent 20 years working for Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) as a Sales Engineer, then retired from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 2012 as an IT Administrator.

In retirement, he continued to serve as the President of the Boston Metrowest Chapter of Black Data Processing Associates (BDPA) – a networking organization for diverse working professionals in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). Rod found fellowship at the Greater Framingham Community Church where he was a faithful member of the choir and worked on the church’s scholarship fund. When his kids were younger, he logged countless miles on the road and endless hours on the field watching his kids play soccer. He enjoyed listening to jazz music, reading, playing golf and finding ways to stay warm through the winters.

He was a proud grandpa to four grandkids – traveling from Coast to Coast to spend time with them. His kind demeanor, infectious smile and joyful commentary made him a pleasure to be around. He will be missed by many. Rod is survived by his partner Lynda Wik of Auburn, his children Erica J. Flakes, John R. Flakes and his wife Maribeth of Milton, Phillip R. Flakes and his wife Abigail of San Diego, CA. He is also survived by his grandchildren;  Grace and Olivia (MA) and Wesley and Parker (CA). In addition, Rod is survived by one sister, Janet E. Flakes of Birmingham, Alabama. His brother Larry Flakes and sister Auberrie Flakes preceded him in death.

A celebration of life service will be held at the Greater Framingham Community Church at a later date when we can all gather together again. In the meantime, the family invites you to share your memories of Rod virtually by visiting https://everloved.com/life-of/roderick-flakes/.

In lieu of flowers, expressions of sympathy may be made in his memory to Howard University – School of Engineering.  Kindly visit our link provide below.  https://giving.howard.edu/givenow. 

BDPA Birmingham | BDPA Boston | BDPA Philadelphia | BDPA Washington, D.C. 

Sources and photos: Flakes family, National BDPA, Digital Equipment Corporation [HP],  and legacy.com

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BDPA Mourns Loss of Former CIO

National BDPA (NBDPA) is mourning the loss of one of its Distinguished Members. Former National Executive Committee (NEC) Member and former NBDPA Chief Information Officer (CIO), Julius Clark, Sr., passed away on Saturday, September 7, 2019. He was 51.

In 2012, Mr. Clark (left, top photo) won NBDPA’s Epsilon Award for Professional Achievement during National BDPA’s annual Technology Conference. In 2001, he served as National BDPA’s Charlotte Chapter’s High School Computer Competition (HSCC) Coordinator. In 2007, he became the Chapter’s President-Elect and eventually served as the Chapter’s President from 2010 to 2012.

A native of Boston, Massachusetts, Julius Clark, Sr., MBA BSEE, was an Information Security Professional receiving CISSP, CISA, and MSCE Industry Certifications. He served on the Boards of National BDPA and CompTIA’s Creating IT Futures Foundation.

Memorial services for Mr. Clark will be this Saturday, Alexander Funeral Home, September 14, 2019 from 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM local time in Charlotte, North Carolina.

julius-JC-2012Epsilon-memoriam

— BDPA photo © 2012

National BDPA mourns the loss of Wayne Hicks

CINCINNATI, OH — OBITUARY | Richard Wayne Hicks, Jr.

It is with enormous sadness that we announce that Richard Wayne Hicks, Jr. passed peacefully at home on June 7, 2018.

For more than thirty years, Wayne was a tireless champion of the Black Data Processing Associates (BDPA) and promoting diversity in technology and expanding STEM experiences for youth in under-served communities and growing BDPA chapter membership and participation in Cincinnati, Detroit, and Los Angeles.wayne-hicks-mem18

For the last twelve years, Wayne was the Executive Director of the  Black Data Processing Associates Education and Technology Foundation (BETF). He also held various leadership positions within the IT professional organization, Black Data Processing Associates (BDPA), including President of the National BDPA, 2004-2005 and Director of Corporate Sales.

Wayne started his career with the Internal Revenue Services (IRS), starting as a summer intern and progressing to a member of the Senior Executive Service. Later, Wayne led the Cincinnati Business Incubator as president (2003-2008).

Wayne is survived by his daughters Laura Hicks and Nailah McCloud, son Khalis Hicks, granddaughter Amara McCloud, his mother Elizabeth Hicks, sister Kyra, and a host of aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, other family, friends and colleagues.

The memorial service, with viewing, will be held Saturday, June 23, 2018, 1pm, at Thompson, Hall & Jordan Funeral Home, 11400 Winton Road, Forest Park, OH 45240, (513) 742-3600.

— Source and photos: BDPA and The Hicks Family

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