Getty Images

Bryant Gumbel Says NBA Commissioner Treats Players Like Slaves

On his recent HBO's Real Sports broadcast, Bryant Gumbel said that NBA Commissioner David Stern, who has been going one-on-one with the NBA Players Association over a new collective bargaining agreement for months, continually used tactics that were demeaning to the athletes. "[Stern] has always seemed eager to be viewed as some kind of modern plantation overseer, treating NBA men as if they were his boys. It's part of Stern's M.O., like his past self-serving edicts on dress code and the questioning of officials. His moves were intended to do little more than show how he's the one keeping the hired hands in their place," said Gumbel.

Advertisement

The television host has every right to stand up for millionaires working for billionaires, but he should remember that slaves received no salary, saw family members sold off and were whipped. NBA players should be offended by Stern's tactics, but they are definitely not wage slaves.

ELC Salutes Top Corporate Execs

Ursula Burns, CEO of Xerox; Hazel O'Leary, president of Fisk University; and Price WaterhouseCoopers International were honored last week at the annual gala of the Executive Leadership Council, the organization of top-ranked African Americans in corporate life.

Advertisement

Some 2,200 senior executives at corporations and other institutions attended the ELC's 25th Annual Recognition Gala, a black-tie event last Thursday outside Washington, D.C. Hosted by Deborah Roberts and Al Roker, the event was held at the Gaylord National Hotel in National Harbor, Md.

The ELC is an elite membership organization for senior black business leaders. The organization reports that senior executives at 380 Fortune 500 companies belong to the ELC and that the average member has 27 years of experience and oversight for $4 billion to $6 billion. Find out more here.

Musical Creative Artists Have a New Best Friend and Enforcer: Susan Austin

Susan Davenport Austin was elected chairman of the board of directors of Broadcast Music, Inc. The company represents more than 500,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers and collects license fees on their behalf, then distributes the royalties to members whose work has been performed publicly. Austin is the first woman and the first black elected to serve as BMI board chairman.

Advertisement

She is a director, senior vice president and chief financial officer of Sheridan Broadcasting Corp., which her family founded, and president of the Sheridan Gospel Network. Sheridan also owns American Urban Radio Networks. The former investment banker received her B.A. in math at Harvard University and an M.B.A. from Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

Oklahoma House of Representatives Makes Historic Selection

In Oklahoma's local politics, Republicans have a 2-1 majority. That puts State Rep. T.W. Shannon, now speaker designate, on a path to become the first black Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives in 2013 — unless a Democratic political tsunami occurs.

Advertisement

He currently chairs the House's transportation committee and is on three other business-oriented committees. Shannon was an aide to ex-U.S. Rep. J.C. Watts and Rep. Tom Cole. Shannon was southern Oklahoma's first elected black representative and is also a member of the Native American Chickasaw Nation.

Downtown Detroit Gains 1,500 Jobs, and Mayor Rejoices

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing embraced Quicken Loan CEO Dan Gilbert enthusiastically after the latter announced that he has moved 1,500 Quicken employees from suburbia to downtown offices in buildings that he purchased. It was positive news and will inject revenue from goods and services into city coffers. But — and it's a big "but" — it doesn't make much of a dent, even with move-related hires, in the city's 12.9 unemployment rate.

Advertisement

This is not Gilbert's only gamble on transforming Rust Belt cities, as the next article shows.

Will Small Businesses and Job Seekers Win at Ohio's New Casinos?

In Cincinnati, Rock Gaming LLC "has pledged that at least 20 percent of a $400 million casino project will go to firms owned by women and minorities." Billionaire Dan Gilbert, who owns the NBA Cleveland Cavaliers and founded Quicken Loans, also owns Rock Gaming.

Advertisement

It may be a win-win for the city and owner, but Cincinnati Business Courier reporter Lucy May pointed out potential problems. These include large companies using small ones as beards to snag the work that they actually do, which will be mostly on the Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati's interior, or making bids so low that small firms can't make a profit. Casino construction generates 2,100 construction jobs, and the gaming concession will employ about 1,700 when it opens next year. It is projected to earn $517 million in annual revenue.

In Cleveland, the $600 million Horseshoe Casino will open in a renovated downtown building in 2012 and provides 2,000 construction jobs now. There will be 1,600 more jobs in the casino, including 500 dealers. At least 90 percent of those hired are supposed to be Cleveland-area residents. The casino's general manager, who is African American, is Marcus G. Glover, the former assistant general manager and vice president of operations at Harrah's St. Louis.

Major Architecture Firms Merged in Dallas

The firm of Moody Nolan/VAI LLC was incorporated during the summer. The move joined two of the nation's prominent architecture firms, after eight years of collaboration. Black-owned Moody Nolan, of Columbus, Ohio, specializes in architecture, design and civil engineering. It was founded in 1982 by Curtis J. Moody and Howard E. Nolan. Moody Nolan has worked in more than 40 states and focuses on education, sports-recreation, health care and public-service facilities.

Advertisement

VAI Architects, based in Dallas, is an award-winning, Hispanic-owned firm founded in 1985 by Guillermo Vidaud and his son William Vidaud. VAI has worked with governments, transportation and aviation authorities and religious organizations, among many clients.

Learn more from the National Organization of Minority Architects, and about another prominent architect.

Meet Two Companies Selected for Comcast's Minority Startup Program

The venture capital unit of Philadelphia's cable giant Comcast, the Minority Enterprise Accelerator Program, which is part of DreamIt Ventures, chose five companies in a national search. Among them are black-owned companies Metalayer and ThaTrunk, Inc. MetaLayer, says its co-founder, serial entrepreneur and software developer, Jonathan Gosler, was created to change how images and text are analyzed and to make that process more efficient. ThaTrunk, Inc., is a website that CEO Hassan Johnson says will unite mobile commerce and geocast technology to help "creative extroverts resonate with their fans and the people around them."

Advertisement

Tennessee Pharmacy School Hires a Dynamic Leader

Marie Chisholm-Burns was hired as the new leader of the 113-year-old University of Tennessee College of Pharmacy, which just opened a 183,000-square-foot facility. She assumes her post in spring 2012 and is currently head of the department of pharmacy practice at the University of Arizona, College of Pharmacy. She is the author of 240 publications, has received $8 million in external funding and is known for her ability to raise funding in the millions for her department. She received her bachelor's and pharmacy degrees from the University of Georgia and a master's of public health from Emory University. Chisholm-Burns is the first African American to head the Tennessee College of Pharmacy.

Kwame Kwei-Armah is in the midst of his first season as artistic director of Baltimore's Centerstage, the city's leading professional theater. Check out an interview with Kwei-Armah. Watch his Centerstage video and his view of multicultural Britain. Follow him on Twitter.

Advertisement

Raising Capital to Serve Atlanta

Raising capital is never easy, particularly for small financial institutions these days. But Atlanta's Capitol City Bank & Trust Co., the nation's ninth-largest black-owned bank, has raised more than $1 million from community investors in amounts from $500 to $5,000 and is negotiating to get up to $5 million more, says bank president and CEO George C. Andrews. The goal is to raise $9.5 million to reach normal capital levels.

Smooth Moves

Baltimore: Anthony P. Ashton, a partner at DLA Piper, has joined the Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service board of directors.

Advertisement

Birmingham, Ala.: Leah Butler, former district director for former Rep. Artur Davis, has been hired as the director of media relations for Alabama's leading public relations and marketing firm, Wilbanks Agency.

Zachery Gilbert was hired as a financial adviser by Pittman Financial Partners, a subsidiary of Strategic Financial Partners, Inc. Gilbert received both his B.A. degree in public administration and M.B.A. in finance from Auburn University. He is a member of the National Black MBA Association and the National Association of Black Accountants.

Boston: Jay Knott, executive vice president for global business at Abt Associates, a global international development company, has joined the board of the Society for International Development's Washington, D.C., chapter.

Advertisement

Charlotte, N.C.: Andreas Biermann has been hired as a consultant in the general management division of ProSidian Consulting. The black-owned firm specializes in risk management, energy and sustainability, compliance, business process, IT effectiveness and human resources talent management. Biermann is a graduate of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Louisville, Ky.: Kimberly Reed, director of metering and billing operation at the Louisville Water Co., was honored as one of the city's 40 Under 40 by the Louisville Business Journal.

Memphis, Tenn.: Dr. Uzoma Ibebuogu was hired by the University of Tennessee Medical Group, Inc., as an interventional cardiologist. He has expertise in structural heart disease interventions, including aortic valvuloplasty, percutaneous aortic valve implantation and closure of certain heart defects.

Advertisement

Orlando, Fla.: April Dixon was promoted to vice president of construction at R.L. Burns Inc. Dixon, who has a B.A. in architecture and design from the University of Florida, had been the company's pre-construction estimator and project manager.

Philadelphia: Steven D. Higgins, a managing director, strategic advisory and financial sponsors coverage, at Janney Montgomery Scott, has joined the board of directors at Main Line Health.

Karolyn Banks, a managing associate at Drucker & Scaccetti, P.C., was selected as a Pennsylvania Certified Public Accountants Member to Watch.

Advertisement

Washington, D.C.: Ellis Stanley Sr. was named the chair of the Disasters Roundtable of the National Academy of Sciences. Stanley is a vice president at Dewberry, a national professional services company. He has a B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is on the faculty at Harvard University, teaching meta-leadership.

Frank McCoy writes about business and technology for The RootYou can contact him here.

Like The Root on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.