picture of Walter S. McAfee

A Hidden Giant

community

Though I lived and worked just a few miles from where this hidden giant of science lived and worked; though his nephew was my professor and thesis advisor at University of Michigan; though we frequented the same barbershop, for Christ’s sake; I never met Walter S. McAfee. I didn’t even know who he was until after he died. I now know that he could have, as much as anyone, claimed to be a founder of The Space Age.

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AT&T Black Innovators Panel program flyer

Black Technology Trailblazers

business

I am honored to participate on the AT&T Black Innovators Panel on Feb. 9. I especially want to highlight two Bell Labs contemporaries on the panel. My friend Dr. Marian Croak pioneered voice-over-IP technology and holds more than 100 patents in the field. Dr. James West is the inventor of the electret transducer microphone that […]

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electricity

I’ve Been Electrified

gadgets

More than six years ago, in September 2014, I took delivery of my first electric vehicle – a Tesla Model S. Around that same time, I bought Tesla stock. Both decisions turned out to be fortuitous, if not downright prescient, in light of the current excitement about Tesla in particular and electric vehicles in general. Tesla has changed my perception of cars and personal transport. Somewhat sadly, my love affair with internal combustion engine (ICE) automobiles is fading. I’ve been electrified.

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The Good People

community

My favorite uncle, William Wise Hayden, died in 2004. Uncle Bill was a factory worker at Ford Motor Company and a proud United Auto Workers member, and in his off hours he was a man about town and an avid photographer. I visited Uncle Bill at his Detroit home a few months before he died, and during that visit he gave me one of his most prized photo albums. I felt as if he was bequeathing the album to me, and that feeling was reinforced when I read the words on the cover. The words, typed on a blue plastic label affixed to the green vinyl album cover, were: ”BETWEEN THESE COVERS ARE THE GOOD PEOPLE.”

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The Brenda Perryman “Tapes”

community

My friend Brenda Perryman succumbed to Covid-19 on April 5, 2020. Shortly after she passed, I vowed to publish the video interviews she produced for the Urban Entrepreneurship Initiative (recorded and edited by our friend Michelle Wyche Watson). These interviews are a testament to Brenda’s community involvement, her commitment, and her talent. Take some time to watch and enjoy, and if you knew Brenda, to remember.

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Change the (urban) World – Fall 2020 Edition

education

The Fall 2020 edition of the Urban Entrepreneurship course is a wrap! In the course, students learn what it takes to build an “urban-focused” business, i.e., an enterprise that addresses an important urban community need. The Covid-19 pandemic presented unique challenges, but thanks to great entrepreneur partners and hard-working students, we turned those challenges into opportunities.

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Seeking Urban Entrepreneur Partners for my Fall 2020 class at University of Michigan

education

My urban entrepreneurship course prepares students to deliver game changing business innovation and solutions for urban communities. The course pairs teams of talented students with entrepreneurs who have developed or are developing an urban-focused business. Urban Entrepreneur Partners benefit by having enthusiastic, talented U-M students helping to document, evaluate and improve their business model.

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Remembering a Magical Night

community

August 3, 2005 was a very special night in Red Bank, New Jersey, and it was honestly one of the best evenings of my life. That was the night when Karen Smith of Montego Bay, Jamaica brought her enormous talent, transcendent spirit, and warm personality to the stage of the sparkling new Two River Theater.

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Still Struggling

community

I try to publish an e-mail newsletter regularly as a means of sharing and discussing current events with friends and colleagues. I haven’t published one lately because I haven’t known where to begin. As soon as I decide to write about one travesty occurring in our world, an even greater one seems to rear its ugly head. Viral pandemic. Economic collapse. Police brutality. Climate destruction. Racial subjugation. Military misapplication. Voter suppression. Tribal politics. Failing alliances. Following the rate of real and potential disasters is like drinking from a fire hose – it’s just too much.

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Quality is Free

health

The Covid-19 pandemic is causing us to retreat to our cocoons as we try to stay safe and “bend the curve” of the viruses’ spread. It is also providing us the opportunity to think and reflect on the lessons we may be able to take away from this experience. One of the most prominent lessons reverberating inside my head is one I found quite awhile ago in a book called Quality is Free.

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