When Warner Granger ended up on dialysis, he anticipated a long wait for a kidney transplant.
Due to a paired donor transplant program, Granger’s wait for an organ went from perhaps years to three months.
The paired donor transplant program enables a willing but incompatible donor to give a kidney in exchange for a new kidney for their loved one. In paired donation, the donor and recipient are matched with another incompatible donor/recipient pair and the kidneys are exchanged between the pairs.
Granger’s daughter, Kim Lewis, decided to donate her kidney so that her father could tap into the paired donor program.
After 23 years of coping with diabetes, Granger, received his new kidney at Albert Einstein Medical Center on September 16. Five weeks later, Lewis donated her kidney to another patient at Einstein.
Granger was the sixth patient to receive a kidney in a chain that began when a woman volunteered to donate a kidney at another hospital. The recipient of his daughter’s organ was the seventh and the last in the chain.
Granger admits he didn’t think he’d have a real shot at obtaining a kidney. He was under the impression that he would be in for a three- to five-year wait.
“I really didn’t have the faith at the beginning,” says Granger, who is a former Army paratrooper.
However, his daughter had a different take on the situation. She had faith that everything was going to work out.
“I told him ‘no worries.’ This is going to happen,” Lewis said.
For Lewis, donating a kidney on her father’s behalf was a “no-brainer.”
“What more could a human being do for another human being than give them a part of themselves with no strings attached? It’s a beautiful thing,” she says.
“I just think that everybody should just do it.”
Lewis, who has a background as a medical assistant, said early on she started preparing herself for the day that her father would eventually need a kidney transplant. After conducting some research, she learned that Einstein participated in the paired donor process.
Granger, a 70-year-old retired SEPTA operator, is overwhelmed by his daughter’s generous gesture.
“I can’t say enough about her giving up her kidney for me,” he says.
Prior to receiving his kidney, Warner underwent dialysis three days a week, four hours at a time. When he recalled his trips to the dialysis center, Warner noticed that there were many young people undergoing the process.
While he’s had a few complications since he returned home from the hospital, Granger feels good.
“I’ve been feeling good ever since I had the surgery,” says Granger, who turns 71 next month.
“I’m really been blessed.”
Lewis hopes to motivate other families into taking action by sharing their story.
“His daughter is amazing. She could have backed out during the process and her father still would have gotten his kidney, but she decided not to,” said Granger’s surgeon Dr. Radi Zaki of Einstein’s transplant chairman.
Zaki referred to the paired donor program as a supplement to the traditional transplant process.
“We have such a shortage of organs that we need out-of-the-box thinking,” said Zaki, who noted there are approximately 1,000 Einstein patients waiting for a kidney.
Granger received his organ at a time when there are thousands of people waiting for a kidney transplant. According to the U.S. Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, there are more than 90,000 candidates on the waiting list for a kidney. Blacks represent more than 30,000 of those who are waiting.
Dr. Wayne P. Weddington Jr. was an otolaryngologist with the Albert Einstein Medical Center.
He died May 6, 2012, following a long battle with cancer. He was 75.
He was the second of four children, born to the Rev. Wayne P. Weddington Sr. and Amanda Lee Weddington on Dec. 24, 1936, in McGehee, Ark.
In 1954, following graduation from Merrill High School in Pine Bluff, Ark., Weddington was awarded a full, eight-year, medical scholarship from the Reliable Life Insurance Company of St. Louis, Mo.
He married Dolores Jean Johnson in December 1957.
Weddington enrolled at what was then Arkansas AM&N College in Pine Bluff (now University of Arkansas – Pine Bluff) and graduated in May 1958. He enrolled in the Howard University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C., and graduated with his medical degree in 1963.
He enlisted and completed his medical internship as a member of the United States Air Force. After completing tours of duty in Vietnam and Thailand, he was honorably discharged with the rank of captain in 1968.
Weddington and his family moved to Philadelphia in 1968 as he completed his residency at Temple University Hospital.
He established a board-certified ear, nose and throat practice in Philadelphia, which he maintained for decades until 2005. He became chair of the department of otolaryngology at Germantown Hospital. In 2005, he joined a medical group at Einstein Medical Center.
Weddington was a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. and past commodore of the Northstar Yacht Club. He was an avid fisherman and hunter.
He was preceded in death by his parents and two sisters, Emaluise Weddington Cann and Gwendolyn K. Bailey.
He is survived by his wife; three children, Pamela, Wayne III and Brian Weddington; grandson, Perrin Weddington B. Tomlin; sister, June Weddington Fucles; and nephew, Clement Cann.
Services will be held May 15 at Grace Baptist Church of Germantown, 25 West Johnson St. Viewing will be at 9 a.m. Services will follow at 11 a.m. The service will be followed by a Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity ceremony. Burial will be in Washington Crossing National Cemetery, Newtown.
In memory of Weddington, donations can be made to the Howard University Alumni Association, 2225 Georgia Ave. NW, Suite 801, Washington, D.C. 20059 or the American Cancer Society.
Louise E. and William W. Savin Funeral Home handled the arrangements.
Don Wilson was a noted jazz musician and retired Philadelphia police officer.
Wilson died May 17, 2012, at Chestnut Hill Hospital. He was 76.
He was born April 4, 1936, in Philadelphia.
His family said he was a musical genius and was often referred to as “maestro” because of his great musical abilities and keen sense of tone. He was able to play any song upon request and his playing would make the worst singer sound good.
Wilson was always interested in arranging and rearranging music from gospel in church to classics, to jazz and popular music. He began playing piano at an early age.
In addition to playing the piano, Wilson began studying trumpet with the renowned Ed Wynne and Sigmund Herring. Later he studied with Tony Marcione and Danny Forlono.
Wilson’s interest in writing, arranging and composition continued to flourish. He studied with Denny Sandoli and Jack Ebbert. He began writing for small recording groups as well as playing with the Tommy Monroe Big Band and others. The members of this band included great names including John Splawn, Johnny Coles, John Coltrane, Lee Morgan, Bobby Timons, Albert (Tootie) Health, Reggie Workman, Archie Shepp and many others. He also backed many musicians who played in the Philadelphia area and needed a rhythm section, including Sonny Stitt, Paul Quientetche, Art Farmer, Dizzy Reese and Harold Vick.
Wilson started his own big-band which played concerts and performed at dances and special recitals with his original compositions and arrangements from 1975 and well into the 1980s.
The big-band played social and private affairs from New York to Washington, D.C., and performed in many of the Atlantic City casinos including Harrah’s, Bally’s, Showboat Resorts and the Golden Nugget.
Wilson was the musical director of the Philadelphia Clef Club. He also led the Clef Club Band in Philadelphia’s Department of Recreation concerts. He arranged and conducted the band through a series of concerts and performances.
During the 1990s, while serving as the Clef Club’s music director and conductor of the big-band, Wilson arranged and conducted a series of concerts featuring Jimmy Heath, Benny Godson, Toshiko Akiyoshi and James Moody — all giant composers and performers in the jazz world.
Wilson was employed for more than 23 years as a Philadelphia police officer. For 18 years, he played trumpet in the police and firemen’s concert and marching band. He also played piano for the “Police Pastimers,” a group created to represent the police department and the city of Philadelphia at many important functions.
He also taught jazz, piano techniques and improvisation at Temple University, two days a week. One of his greatest loves was teaching advanced piano and music theory, and arranging at the Mount Airy Cultural Center, Inc. (MACC), a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the study and appreciation of jazz music to youth and young adults on Saturday mornings.
Wilson received many awards for his musical accomplishments and was a member of the Optimist Club International. He could be found at LaRose Jazz Club on Monday nights playing with the Tony Williams Trio and on Thursday evenings playing at the Prime Rib Restaurant located in the Radisson Warwick Hotel in Center City, Philadelphia.
His family said Wilson was a delight to all who knew him. He had the ability to make everyone feel special and always took the time to work with musicians of all ages, providing all an opportunity to play and showcase their talents, his family said.
Wilson is survived by his wife, Jackie (Billman) and two sisters, Alice Womack and Ursula Hendricks.
Services will be held May 24 at the Kirk & Nice Funeral Home, 80 Stenton Avenue, Plymouth Meeting, Pa. Viewing will be 8 a.m. Services will follow at 10. Burial will be in Rolling Green Memorial Park.
In lieu of flowers, it is requested that donations be made to the Mount Airy Cultural Center of Philadelphia.
Alfred “Butchy” Turner was a graphic designer.
Turner died June 14, 2012. He was 59.
He was born Sept. 6, 1952, in Philadelphia to the late Odessa and Alfred P. Turner. Turner was educated in the Philadelphia Public School system and graduated from Bartram High School in 1970. He later earned a degree in graphic arts from the Hussian School of Art.
He was baptized on April 14, 1963, at Mt. Zion Baptist Church.
Turner married the former Natalie Williams on June 6, 2004. Their marriage exemplified the term “equally yoked.”
He continued perfecting his artistic skills, which eventually led him to start and build his own business, A. Turner Designs. For many years he performed marketing, graphic design and event planning work at Philadanco and was instrumental in the growth and development of the company.
Turner designed and performed layout work on the Solid Gold Hair magazine, a staple in Black salons. His business continued to grow and he obtained a number of exceptional clients that included Will Downing Jr., Art Jazz Gallery and newspapers New Observer, Philadelphia Tribune, Neighborhood Leader and the Black Professional Network. Philadelphia Magazine and the Philadelphia Department of Human Services also sought Turner out for his excellent and innovative graphic design work.
Turner received the Appreciation for the “Hottest” Logo Award from the Fast and Furious Bike Club and the PRAME Award for the Color of Creativity Entertainment Billboard.
He was a member of Bible Way Baptist Church and served in many ministries including New Members Ministry, Angel Tree which serves children of incarcerated parents, Gifts of God Ministry which fed the homeless, and Tract Ministry which tells people about Jesus Christ and distributes Bibles. He also supported the church on numerous art projects.
Turner attended Philadelphia New Life Bible Institute and Bible Way Baptist Church Evangelical Training Institute. In 2008, Turner and his wife, Natalie, performed missionary service in Guatemala while helping build a facility. He continued his service in Guatemala in 2010, sealing lasting friendships.
Turner was a born leader. He served as president of the Philadelphia Organization of Black Designers and was the block captain of the 54th Street Block Club (1200 block.)
His family said he impacted many lives, and was a true and loyal friend and mentor to many. He had a heart of gold, loved his music and barbecuing and yahooing with friends and family. He was a social person who led a colorful and active life. He kept a beautiful, perfect smile on his face, his family said. Turner’s family said he provided a safe haven for many friends, helping those who were down and supported them until they became whole.
In addition to his wife, Turner is survived by his in-laws, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Hankins; nephews, Maurice Williams Jr. and Antonio D. Green; niece, Myesha Williams of Baltimore, Md.; godchildren, Lauren C. Burgee, Shannon L. Pringle, Ryan M. Pringle, Andrea K. McCutcheon, Nicole E. McCutcheon, Gaia Hearns, Zephania P. Thomas, Naudia V. Thomas and R.J. Laurie; as well as other relatives and friends.
Services are pending.
Ivan B. Kimble Funeral Home handled the arrangements.
Chris C. White was the owner of Chris’ Cleaners and Tailoring in West Philadelphia.
He died June 19, 2012, after a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 80.
White was born March 19, 1932, to the late Sandy and Willie Kate White in Halifax County, Va. He was the youngest of nine children.
At an early age, White relocated to Philadelphia, where he was educated in the Philadelphia Public School system, attending Martha Washington Elementary School, Mayer Sulzberger Middle School and Overbrook High School. He later enlisted in the United States Army and served in the Korean War. White was honorably discharged in 1953.
He attended the former Craft School of Tailoring at 6th and Chestnut streets and would later go on to earn a certificate in accounting.
In 1950, White was introduced to his future bride Myra (Nonnie) Harper by his best friend, the late David 2X Shaw. He spoke often about Myra’s family. He stated that when he fell in love with Myra, he also fell in love with her parents and siblings.
After three years of courtship, they were married on Oct. 24, 1953, and went on to be blessed with three children, Gail, Rashida and Abdal Aleem.
Along with his wife, he joined the Nation of Islam in 1955, becoming Chris X and Myra X. As a Fruit of Islam (FOI), he served in numerous capacities; most notably in the secretarial and treasury departments. He would work with prominent figures within the Nation of Islam, such as Malcolm X, Imam Warith Deen Mohammed and Minister Louis Farrakhan. During the mid-1970s, the White family would receive the Islamic surname “Karim” from the Imam Warith Deen Mohammed, leader of the American Society of Muslims; Chris and Myra would also receive the names Aziz and Saafie.
Inspired by the Nation of Islam’s principle of self-help and Black entrepreneurship, White established a dry cleaning and tailoring business, Chris’ Cleaners and Tailoring in March of 1960, which is still up and running today.
Chris’ Cleaners would service several neighborhoods throughout Philadelphia, including North Philadelphia, West Philadelphia, and Northeast Philadelphia. His first dry-cleaning and tailoring shop was at Uber and Montgomery Avenue. At one time, White owned and operated a total of five dry-cleaning and tailoring shops. Today, most people associate Chris’ Cleaners and Tailoring with 52nd St. and Girard Avenue, and 56th and Stewart streets.
White was revered for his excellent skills in tailoring, especially his designs of suits, pants and coats. Chris’ Cleaners and Tailoring would go on to service many prominent Philadelphians, including civil rights activist Cecil B. Moore, members of the singing groups “The Blue Notes” and “The Delfonics,” and radio personalities Georgie Woods, Mary Mason and Nick Taliaferro. White traveled to Chicago several times to tailor suits for American Society of Muslim’s leader Imam W. Deen Mohammed.
Prior to opening his dry cleaning service, White was employed at the former Quartermaster Depot making military uniforms, and the Philadelphia Naval Hospital.
In 1977, White was instrumental in the founding of Masjidullah, Inc., where the meetings began in his West Philadelphia home.
White enjoyed community service. He served as block captain for the 5600 W. Stewart Street block. He was also a member of the Carroll Park Community Council, a member of numerous Islamic service committees and chairman of the White Family Reunion.
White often talked about the importance of family. The Sunday before he passed, his family held a Father’s Day gathering for him at his home. He enjoyed spending time with his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He supported his family endlessly throughout all of their endeavors.
He served as a mentor to many. People of all ages, faiths, races and walks of life would seek advice from White. His family said he was known for his stern, yet compassionate, talks. Neighborhood children would also call him “Dad” and “Grandpop.” To others he was known as “Brother Aziz,” “Brother Chris,” or Mr. White.
White was preceded in death by his brothers, Robert, William, George, and John and four sisters, Annie, Fannie, Alethea and Eunice.
In addition to his wife and three children, White is survived by his daughter-in-law, Lora; grandchildren, Basheer, Hamina, Walida, Amir, Khalid and Khaleef; great-grandchildren, Dahmir, Zahir, Yahsir, Zakii, Saafirah, Naimah, Ibn, Milan, Zakia and Jamira; sisters-in-law, Catherine (Ummil Karim) White, Ruby Harper Bradshaw, Lillian Harper Gary, Juanita Harper Franklin (Carl) and Mary Harper Leecan (Lee); brothers-in-law, Adam Harper (Jean), Roosevelt Harper (Queen) and Waymon Harper Jr.; special relative, Annie Cosby; and other relatives and friends.
Services were held June 21 at the Philadelphia Masjid-Sister Clara Muhammad School, 4700 Wyalusing Ave. Burial was held in Westminster Cemetery.
Myron D. Moss was a music program director and associate professor at Drexel University.
Moss died suddenly July 2, 2012, at Bryn Mawr Hospital after suffering a massive heart attack.
He was 60.
He was born Sept. 28, 1951.
Moss was a master teacher and talented orchestra and band conductor.
“He was a gentle, charming, kind man who touched the lives of many students and colleagues,” his family said.
As a scholar, Moss was nationally known for his work on African-American composers, specifically related to band repertoire. Before coming to Drexel, Moss was music department chair and director of bands at Southern Connecticut State University. He was an invited guest conductor at Yale, the Hartt School and the University of Michigan.
Moss conducted the Keystone Winds’ CD “Out of the Depths” devoted to works by Black composers. His University of Michigan Ph.D. dissertation, “Concert Band Music by African-American Composers, 1927–1998,” won the Fritz Thelen Award for the best doctoral dissertation worldwide on a concert band music subject written between 1999 and 2005.
His band arrangement of Gabriel Fauré’s “Chant Funéraire” was recorded by the University of North Texas Wind Ensemble on a 2006 GIA release and has been played by elite groups across the country. Earlier this year, Moss conducted a performance at the Kimmel Center of the Drexel Concert Band playing music by African-American composers.
Moss is survived by his parents, Sonya Kleider of Monroe Township and Robert I. Moss of Trenton, N.J.; his sister, Aleta McClelland; and nephews, Daniel and Kian.
Funeral services will be held privately July 6. The Antoinette School of Media Arts and Design will hold a memorial at a later time. Family will receive visitors and observe shiva on July 8 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the home of Charles and Peggy Morscheck, 821 Clifford Ave., Ardmore.
Platt Memorial Chapels, Inc. handled the arrangements.
Women facing hair loss are turning to Blue Sage Hair Wellness Salon for styling options.
Blue Sage owner Kimberly Nesmith is making a difference by offering healthier styling solutions for women.
“I felt like the people who have permanent hair loss were more in need of a little TLC from their salon and their hair care provider,” says Nesmith, who has been in the cosmetology industry for 27 years.
Nesmith’s focus on assisting women with hair loss comes as the American Academy of Dermatology reports that 30 million American women are coping with hereditary hair loss.
“I think it’s an area where the market is not getting enough attention,” Nesmith says in regard to serving those with hair loss.
Many of Nesmith’s clients have experienced hereditary hair loss, while others are losing strands due to genetics, stress, over processing and relaxer usage, tight braids or side effects from medications.
First time clients undergo a consultation, which enables Nesmith to assess the condition of their hair. Clients are asked about medications, health conditions or allergies that could cause irritation to the scalp or hair breakage.
To promote hair growth, Blue Sage offers scalp massages and steam treatments.
“The steam really increases circulation,” says Nesmith, who is a retired member of the Pennsylvania State Board of Cosmetology.
“It increases the blood flow to the scalp and moisturizes the hair. If you have any build up in your follicle area, it releases it. It’s an excellent way to condition your scalp.”
Clients can tap into an array of styling options at Blue Sage including press and curls, braids, coils, twists, sisterlocks, weaves and relaxers.
The focus at the Overbrook-based salon is on ensuring that the available styling options are not damaging their clients’ hair. With that in mind, Nesmith says it’s important that consumers be educated about the proper hair maintenance and procedures that could lead to breakage.
“A lot of people sacrifice their own natural hair for the sake of a hairstyle,” she says, citing the damage caused by popular lace front wigs as a prime example.
Nesmith noted that the glue used for lace front wigs tears hair out when it is removed.
As an alternative to the traditional glued-in lace front, Blue Sage uses sewn-in and latch hook weaves to protect a client’s scalp and hair from damage.
Members of the public were briefed on their hair care options when Blue Sage hosted a grand opening celebration on Sunday. The event featured healthy hair consultations, salon tours, personal fitness assessments, express manicures, live music and an open mic night.
Nesmith takes love for styling hair beyond her salon, located at 7501–03 Sherwood Road, and into the community. For the last eight years, Nesmith has served as a volunteer for the American Cancer Society’s “Look Good…Feel Better” program at Hahnemann Hospital. The “Look Good…Feel Better” program teaches beauty techniques to women with cancer.
“It’s an opportunity give back. I feel like I’ve been blessed with a talent and a gift to help people with their hair and their beauty needs,” she says.
A group of Penn Medicine researchers has issued a challenge to the public.
They’re asking community members to help save lives by using their cell phones.
The researchers are launching the MyHeartMap Challenge, a month-long contest slated to begin in January. The contest is geared toward sending thousands of Philadelphians to the streets and social media sites to locate as many automated external defibrillators as they can. AEDs are used to restore cardiac arrest victims’ hearts to their normal rhythm.
The contest is just a first step in what the Penn team hopes will grow to become a nationwide, crowd-sourced AED registry that will put the lifesaving devices in the hands of anyone at anytime. Used in conjunction with CPR, AEDs are an important part of the “chain of survival” needed to save cardiac arrest victims.
Armed with a free app installed on their mobile phones, contest participants will snap pictures of the devices wherever they find them in public places around the city. Participants will use the app to geotag the photos with their location and details about the device like its manufacturer. Next, participants will send the photos to the research team via the app or the project’s website. The data collected will be used to create an updated app linking locations of all public AEDs in Philadelphia with a person’s GPS coordinates to help them locate the nearest AED during an emergency.
The person or team who finds the most AEDs during the contest will win $10,000. Participants who find various pre-located “golden ticket” AEDs around the city will also win $50 for identifying each of those devices.
The project is modeled after the DARPA Network Challenge, a crowd-sourcing experiment in which social media users raced to be the first to submit the locations of 10 moored, eight-foot, red weather balloons at 10 fixed locations across the United States.
“More and more, scientists are learning that we can benefit from the wisdom of the crowd,” said MyHeartMap Challenge leader Dr. Raina Merchant, an assistant professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
“Participation from ordinary citizens will allow us to answer questions and make the city safer than our team could ever do on its own.”
The challenge comes at a time when less than 10 percent of cardiac arrest victims survive in most cities across the United States. The MyHeartMap Challenge aims to help change those statistics.
“Philadelphia is home to a vibrant medical community, some of the nation’s top institutions of higher education and is a growing hub for new technology development. The MyHeartMap Challenge brings all those elements together to improve the health of our people,” said Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Donald D. Schwarz.
“The city has a rich tradition of innovation, and we have what it takes to lead the nation in this new form of lifesaving community engagement.”
According to the researchers, there is an estimated one million AEDs across the nation. Some are hung on the walls in airports, casinos and recreation centers, while others are tucked away in restaurant closers and under cash registers. AEDs are not subject to regulations that would allow their makers to know where or when their devices are being used.
MyHeartMap Challenge participants can register as individuals or teams, and the Penn researchers suggest participants develop creative ways to maximize their chances of winning. For instance, teams could use Facebook and Twitter to engage participation or organize AED scavenger hunts or mini-contests to locate the devices in a workplace building.
The multi-disciplinary project combines the expertise of investigators from Penn’s Center for Resuscitation Science, the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, the Wharton School, the Cartography Modeling Lab and the Organizational Dynamics Program, and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Penn’s researchers are also collaborating with resuscitation scientists at the University of Washington and crowd-sourcing experts at MIT.
For information, visit www.med.penn.edu/myheartmap/.
Brigitte Daniel, executive vice president of Wilco Electronic Systems, Inc. is working to increase technology access in diverse, and traditionally underserved, communities.
Daniel has been appointed to the Federal Communications Commission’s re-chartered Federal Advisory Committee on Diversity in the Digital Age.
Appointed by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, Daniel is the only committee member whose business is based in the Philadelphia region.
The Committee on Diversity in the Digital Age provides recommendations to the FCC regarding policies and practices that will further enhance cultural and ethnic diversity in the industries the commission regulates.
“The role in this case would be recommending policy regarding universal access, universal broadband adoption and just recommending good policies that allows our private companies and organizations to bridge the digital divide,” says Daniel.
“For Wilco, as a minority provider, and one of the last African American-owned providers remaining in the United States, to be on this committee with renowned professional leaders in our industry is a huge deal,” she said.
Daniel joins other committee members including Debra Lee, chief executive officer, Black Entertainment Television and Marc Morial, president, National Urban League.
“I am just honored to represent our low-income marketplace, particularly the Philadelphia Housing Authority residents, and have a seat at the table just to make sure that their interests are represented as people that live in public housing — that’s seniors, families and all types of minorities,” says Daniel, who will serve a two-year term on the committee.
Wilco played a key role in bringing broadband access to Philadelphia’s low-income residents through the Freedom Rings Partnership.
Funded through a $11.8 million federal grant, Philadelphia Freedom Rings is a public-private consortium formed to provide Internet access, training and technology to residents in underserved communities. The city of Philadelphia’s Division of Technology, the Urban Affairs Coalition and Drexel University are leading the initiative.
Through the initiative, 5,000 netbook computers will be provided to PHA residents over the next three years. In August, the first 100 PHA residents graduated from a training program facilitated by the Community College of Philadelphia.
Through her work with the consortium, Daniel received a 2011 Eisenhower Fellowship award enabling her to visit India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Singapore to explore technologies that she can bring back to the marketplace.
“It’s almost a fact-finding mission for me to go abroad to kind of see what things are going on with similar types of population groups,” says Daniel, who will be out of the country until December.
She is particularly interested in bringing emerging mobile applications and technologies that focus on health and wellness to public housing residents.
“Online access is a civil right. Everything is online, everything is fueled by technology, whether that’s health, jobs or education. If you don’t have it in your home, or you don’t have access to it, you’re not at the table,” she says.
Founded in 1977 by Will F. Daniel, Wilco is one of the last remaining African American-owned and operated cable operators in the nation, and has provided cable services, telecommunications services and security systems for the last 31 years.
The Fort Washington, Pa-based firm became the first sole and exclusive provider of cable television services for PHA in 2001. Wilco is gearing up for a systems upgrade.
“We’re very niched and we’re very tailored to the marketplace that we currently serve in Philadelphia and I think that has helped us to maintain our success and I think because we offer really affordable technology and that is something that is not usually seen in our sector,” Daniel added.
As Wilco’s executive vice president, Daniel’s responsibilities include corporate communications, government affairs, regulatory affairs, public affairs and corporate administration.
Before joining Wilco, Daniel served as an officer with the city of Philadelphia’s Minority Business Enterprise Council and served as the director of Business Development and Governmental Affairs for the Academy of Screen Arts, a film school that opened in Ghana, West Africa, in 2002. She also worked with BET, the FCC and Wilkinson Barker Knauer law firm.
By tapping into the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Emerging 200 (e200) program, Keith Searles has placed his firm on the path for growth.
The e200 program provides inner-city businesses across the country demonstrating high growth potential with a free, six-month, in-depth education in organizational management, growth strategies, market development and strategic planning.
Searles credits the e200 program with helping him develop a three-year strategic plan for his firm, Innovative Alternative Energy, which specializes in energy management and contractual services.
“In three years, the strategic plan will be to grow and expand into the commercial side of energy management, which will reach out to industrial facilities,” said Searles, who has a background as an electrician.
Innovative Alternative Energy entered the marketplace in 2007 with a focus on offering solar installation services. Since then, the Merion Station-based company has diversified into the field of residential energy audits and weatherization. Searles has been successful in netting contracts with PECO for its Smart Ideas rebate program.
Searles aspires to offer energy management services for high-rise commericial buildings in major cities, including Philadelphia and New York.
He joined entrepreneurs from nine other companies who were honored during the e200 graduation ceremony held at City Hall. This year’s graduates included Leon McMillian, A-Ware Marketing, LLC; Sophy and Chris DiPinto, DiPinto Guitars; Tyraine Ragsdale, Grand Hank Productions, Inc.; Mia Mendoza, Mendoza Group Inc; Jude Arijaje, Minuteman Press; Yatsun Wen and Fenjin He, Nature Soy, Inc.; Dan Taso, New Mainstream Press; Derrick Jackson, Precision Plus Plumbing; and Yvette and Dereck Jones, Ultimate Concrete.
Addressing the graduates, SBA Deputy Administrator Marie Johns stressed the importance of small businesses as the engines of the economy.
“You are already leaders in your community. Today I am calling on you to roll up your sleeves and do what you can to drive our economy forward. Hire more workers and create more jobs,” said Johns.
“Be a mentor to young people and help create the next generation of entrepreneurs.”
She told the graduates the SBA would continue to be a resource for their businesses.
“The SBA can support you as you seize new opportunities and face new challenges. When you need capital to expand your business, we can help you get a loan. If you want to get into government contracting, we can find you contracts to bid on. Or if you just want to keep learning and growing, we can find you a counselor or a mentor,” said Johns.
In 2008, Philadelphia joined a group of major cities in launching the e200 initiative, which offers inner-city businesses an MBA-like curriculum designed to help business grow and stimulate their local economies. Participants work with experienced mentors, attend workshops and develop connections with banks and the private equity community.
Since its inception, nearly 1,000 small business owners have graduated from the national program. According to the SBA, these entrepreneurs have seen a 60 percent increase in revenue, created hundreds of new jobs and secured millions of dollars in financing and government contracts.