BDPA CollectiveX Readers, please join me in congratulating the 2008-2009 officers of the BDPA Cleveland chapter.

2008-2009 BDPA Cleveland Chapter Officers

These brothers have the challenge of maintaining the remarkable legacy of a chapter, founded in November 1980, that currently sits as the 8th largest chapter in America. Share some love for Kenneth (shown in photo) and his incoming leadership team.

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Wayne, Thanks for “the love”. The new BDPA-Cleveland administration is eager for the start of the New Year. We are sure that with our great alliance with you and the Cincinnatti chapter, as well as the rest of BDPA, 2008 will be a fantastic year. Ken is a great leader, and will definitely do a good job of filling the shoes of Willard Brown, who I am sure everyone knows, did an outstanding job during his tenure as president of BDPA-Cleveland.

I am not sure how long this BDPA CollectiveX system has been running, but I love it. This will serve to connect all of the BDPA members nationally together in one forum. I just joined less than an hour ago… its December 31, 2007. 10:08PM. I hope everyone has a HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

David Moore V.P. Finance Management BDPA-Cleveland

I've known Ken Wilson for almost 20 years. He is a remarkable brother with a strong legacy in BDPA and an accomplished entrepreneur and business owner. I was pleased to see that the BDPA members in Cleveland voted Ken into office as their chapter president. I thought you would enjoy reading his campaign message to chapter members last month when he ran for the leadership position.

Dear BDPA Cleveland Members,

My name is Kenneth Wilson. I am running for President of BDPA Cleveland chapter and asking for your vote and your active participation in the new BDPA Information Technology Thought Leaders organization that we are building.

BDPA became an inseparable part of my life 27 years ago when it rescued my drowning data-processing programming career. Rather than seeking a new vocation, BDPA empowered me to launch a successful and fulfilling information technology business career. I have been an active member ever since.

For the past several months, I have been talking with other BDPA members, Corporate Advisory Council and community leaders, planning and praying for wisdom to determine where we should go from here. During this process, more than a few members suggested that I run for Chapter President in the upcoming elections. My first reaction was that I should step aside and help mentor some of our younger leadership, as I have already successfully been there and done that. Then it was suggested to me that taking the helm would be the very best way to provide that needed mentorship. So finally I said yes.
  • Yes! I continue to believe that the African American business and technology professional will become more prepared, more highly regarded, more respected and more consistently looked upon as a world-class leader in business and technology.
  • Yes! I continue to accept as true that BDPA continues to contain the potential to make life-changing improvements in the career and business success of hundreds (if not thousands) of African American, Hispanic-American, Asian-American, Native-American, European-American and other professional people.
  • Yes! I am steadfastly convinced that as conscientious community citizens, BDPA members have the talent and the moral responsibility to become fully-engaged partners in the technological and economic renaissance and revitalization of Northeast Ohio.
If you are an active BDPA member, I ask for your continued commitment. If, for whatever reason there might have been, you allowed your membership to lapse, your participation to decline or your dream to defer, I urge you to reinstate your membership, renew your involvement and reawaken your dream.

It is with willing anticipation of committed service that I humbly ask you to trust me with the responsibility and privilege of leading BDPA Information Technology Thought Leaders, Cleveland / Northeast, Ohio to our inevitable greatness.

Kenneth L. Wilson

His words had their intended effect. Ken was overwhelmingly elected to serve as 2008-2009 president of our BDPA Cleveland chapter. CollectiveX readers, take a moment to share some BDPA-Love with Bro. Wilson! Let him know that you support his efforts in Cleveland to advance the careers of African Americans within our industry from the classroom to the boardroom.
We learned today that the Key Foundation board of directors approved $10,000 grant funding for BDPA Cleveland chapter. The funds will allow participation by Cleveland-area students in the Midwest Regional High School Computer Competition (HSCC), Youth Technology Camp and the national BDPA HSCC in Atlanta, GA on August 8-9, 2008.

A joint press release between the BDPA Foundation and Key Foundation will be issued in the next few days to announce this funding, however, we wanted our blog readers to know about it right away.

BDPA Foundation worked closely with BDPA Cleveland chapter president Ken Wilson on this joint proposal. Ken and Cleveland chapter founder Norman Mays met in person with KeyBank and Key Foundation executives last month. That meeting led to a request for a formal grant proposal. Our grant proposal for $21,145 funding was submitted to the Key Foundation executive director. She successfully shared our story with the Key Foundation board of directors and we received $10,000 funding!

BDPA Cleveland chapter will reach out to other corporations to make up the difference. In the meantime, I encourage all BDPA Foundation blog readers to consider making a small donation right now to support them. What say u?

Congratulations to the Cleveland Chapter. As a Cleveland chapter member from the old days, it's good to see that Cleveland BDPA is continuing to shine.

And congrats to president Ken Wilson, whom I've known for 30 years!
He's someone I've always respected and admired.

And, while I'm at it, a shout out to Norm Mays too.


Dear Sandra,

Thank you for the warm congratulatory greeting.  We are not the same here in Cleveland without you.  But we are working hard to continue to make you proud.

See you in Atlanta,



BDPA Cleveland Chapter Honors 2009 SITES Participants . This 3-part video was taken at Community Meeting hosted on 11/17/2009 by BDPA Cleveland chapter. This 3-part video features an introduction by the chapter president (Ken Wilson) as well as an overview of the Student Information Technology Education & Scholarship (SITES) program by the chapter coordinator (Sylvia Calhoun). Please note that the Oracle Scholarship is discussed in the 3rd video.

Part 1-of-3

Part 2-of-3

Part 3-of-3

Video Credit: Henry Ford
Please join us in wishing a wonderful birthday to our past national president -- George Williams . I've known George since I first joined BDPA back in the late 1980s. He was a powerful figure in the BDPA Cleveland chapter before he set a record for the longest-tenured national president in BDPA history.

George has an information technology and business career background that spans thirty years of professional experience in marketing, sales and management within corporate, small business, non-profit and civic organizations. A number of major accomplishments occurred under George's leadership of the national organization in the late 1990s:
  • implemented a new national Corporate Alliance program that increased annual sponsorship revenue
  • implmented a comprehensive Enterprise Transformation Plan that completely reorganized the national organization
  • inspired major annual conference events in Philadelphia (1995), Atlanta (1996), Houston (1997), Orlando (1998) and Atlanta (1999)
  • signed Memorandum of Understanding to promote joint technology projects between BDPA and National Urban League

As a life-long Clevelander, graduate of the Cleveland Public School System, John Carroll University and Leadership Cleveland, George understands the intricacies of doing business and volunteering time in the Northeast Ohio community. George was a co-founder of the Consortium of African America Organizations (CAAO). He has actively served on the Board of the Cleveland Education Fund, the Cuyahoga Community College Unified Technologies Center and the John Ad ams High School Vocational Education Advisory Group.

George is a father of two daughters and grandfather of four children. He is a remarkable role model for his family ... and for BDPA.

I encourage you to share some BDPA-love with George as he celebrates his born-day! Happy Birthday George!
Monica Bowe joined the BDPA leadership team last year when she was selected as national VP-Finance to close out 2009. She agreed to serve in 2010-2011 as an Outside Director on the national BDPA board of directors.

We are very pleased that Monica agreed to participate in our Take Five interview series.

  1. How did you get involved in working with BDPA? - A very good friend and colleague introduced me to the organization. I describe myself as a finance professional with an affinity for technology. She knows this and made the match. It’s been a very rewarding experience thus far.
  2. What is the most rewarding aspect of working with BDPA? - It is absolutely the youth. It is so all about the kids. BDPA does really wonderful work with SITES and HSCC. I love that BDPA provides an avenue for minority youth to segue into the technology positions where they are sorely underrepresented. I love that they will have a say in what the next technologies will be and that BDPA provides some of the tools to get them there.
  3. Tell us about a defining moment in your life? - The loss of my son a year and a half ago. Like most, I was all about the corporate climb, getting extremely bent out of shape about trivial corporate matters, planning my next steps on the corporate ladder. Losing my son taught me two things: 1. Through Christ, I am much stronger than I ever thought myself to be and 2.Sweating the small stuff is a waste of energy.

    Sometimes I still struggle with sweating the small things, but I remind myself that life has much bigger issues with which to contend.
  4. Who is your hero and why? - It’s so cliché, but my mother is truly my hero. She was a single mom and cleaned houses to put food on the table. She made sure that she instilled good Christian values in me and encouraged me that I could be anything that I wanted. Through her love and support, I have been blessed as an educated Black woman with a good degree of success thus far in my career. I am eternally grateful to her.
  5. Any advice for people considering donation to BETF? - Whomever you choose to give to, give with your heart. Find those organizations that mean the most to you. BDPA and BETF are great because they empower our youth to go out and impact the world we live in by learning, discovering and creating the next generation of technologies. How amazing is that?

BDPA needs to find brothers and sisters like Monica to serve it at both local and national level. I look forward to meeting Monica in person at some point in the future.

Today (10/30) is the birthday of BDPA Cleveland chapter president Ken Wilson.   He's been a part of BDPA's legacy for more than 20 years.   

Happy Birthday Ken!

Ken is my buddy from waaay back...pre-BDPA. He's the one who pestered me into joining back in 1983. We're rarely in touch these days. But I consider him a good friend.



Best wishes for a marvelous Birthday!

BDPA Cleveland chapter was founded in November 1980.  The idea of BDPA was brought to Cleveland by Norman Mays .   Norman served as president of the BDPA Washington DC chapter when he moved to Cleveland in 1980.   He found like-minded people in Cleveland who wanted an organization that would help advance the careers of African Americans in the information technology industry.

Gerry McClamy, Norman Mays, Vivian Wilson
I would love to hear from someone that could tell me the names of the other folks who joined Norman Mays as the initial charter members of the BDPA Cleveland chapter.   Do you know any of those names?

Their decision to create a chapter was a good one as evidenced by the fact that BDPA Cleveland was named 'Chapter of the Year' in 1986 and 1987.  BDPA Cleveland always believed in the concept of 'One BDPA'.   One of my earliest memories of the cooperation and support by BDPA Cleveland was at a regional conference that they hosted in 1989.  I remember traveling there with others from BDPA Detroit chapter.  We learned a great deal about how to successfully build a local chapter ... lessons that we put into practice immediately on our return to Detroit.

One of my two favorite people in BDPA is from Cleveland -- Vivian Wilson .  I served as National Vice President during Vivian's term as national president.  Did you know that Vivian is the only person in the 35+ years of BDPA history to be elected National President without ever serving as a local chapter president?   She was the BDPA Cleveland chapter vice president when she was elected to serve as our national president in the early 1990s.   Vivian earned a number of national awards over the years: Member of the Year (1986), President's Award (1988) and the BDPA Excellence in Leadership Award (1992).

Other award winners from BDPA Cleveland chapter include: Gerry McClamy (Member of the Year, 1995), Willard Brown (Outstanding Chapter President, 2006) and Monica Bowe (Member of the Year, 2010).

It would be great to hear from our past, current and future BDPA Cleveland chapter presidents . Here is the list as best we can tell:
Ken Wilson
It is worth noting that Norman Mays and George Williams are past BDPA Cleveland chapter presidents who served for a number of years as the national BDPA president.   Monica Bowe is the only other BDPA Cleveland chapter member (to my knowledge) to serve on the national BDPA executive committee.   Monica served as both our acting VP-Finance (2010) and our Outside Director (2010-2011).

The chapter hosted the national BDPA Technology Conference in 1994 ('Unleashing the Power of a Creative People').

The chapter competes regularly in the national high school computer competition (HSCC). BDPA Cleveland chapter has never won the national HSCC championship.  However, they did finish as high as 3rd place in 1990.  That 1990 HSCC team consisted of four remarkable high school students: Ronald Banks, Phillip Chow, James Gombas and Justin Polburn.

We've mentioned alot of names in this blog post.   The question remains:

Where are they now?
Henry Wiggins, President
BDPA Cleveland Chapter

Address: P.O. Box 181246
Cleveland, OH 44118
(440) 399-7079

BDPA Cleveland chapter holds the distinction of being the 3rd chapter ever created in BDPA-Nation. The chapter has a long and proud history. As such, it is truly an honor to introduce you to the 2010-2011 BDPA Cleveland chapter president -- Henry A. Wiggins.

Henry stepped in as Interim President in 2010. He agreed to carry out the leadership responsibilities until the chapter holds its next election. Over the past year, Henry brought several speakers to uplift the members, giving then information on seeking employment, social networking, technical recycling, and community involvement.  Henry is also working closely with the BDPA Education and Technology Foundation (BETF) to raise scholarship funds for the student members in his chapter.

Henry is presently working on special projects at the School of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University. He has previously worked in healthcare, education, banking, and communications industries. Henry has an MBA from the Weatherhead School of Management at CWRU, a B.A. in Mass Communications from Clark Atlanta University, and an Associates in Microcomputer Systems management from Bryant and Stratton College.
Favorite BDPA Memory: "I never got to go to Disney World as a kid but I went for the very first time representing the Cleveland Chapter at a BDPA Technology Conference. I felt like a kid again and very proud to be around other African Americans in Technology.”

Motto: "The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all." Ecclesiastes 9:11

Please use the POST COMMENT link below to share some BDPA-Love with the president our BDPA Cleveland chapter!
The Cisco Networking Academy, established in 1997, teaches students networking and other information technology-related skills, preparing students for entry level jobs as well as higher education in engineering, computer science and related fields. The Cisco Networking Academy is preparing its students for jobs of the future with initiatives such as the 'Internet of Everything' that create meaningful job opportunities for Cisco Certified Networking Associates.

BDPA Cleveland chapter program meeting in May 2014 focused on the topic: ‘Cisco Networking Academies’. There were 16 people in attendance for this chapter event.

The guest speaker, Len Tabaj, was a teacher in the Cleveland Heights High Cisco Networking Academy for the past six years. He began teaching in the Networking Academy in 2000 for the Cleveland Municipal School District. Len helped to open eight Cisco Networking Academies in the Cleveland Municipal School District as a teacher trainer. He received a bachelor’s degree in English from Cleveland State University and a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction. Len also holds a Career Technical Network Systems Professional License.

Chapter president Demo Solaru provided his review of the meeting,
This meeting was a blast. We got a lot of information from the presenter and got quite a crop of new faces. If ever there was a presentation that we need to get out there, this is the one. You can’t just ask for job opportunities, they are there for the taking by the ‘certified’ and Cisco provides an excellent means to start out making $40k-$50k for those who will put their backs into it. I gather the Department of Labor will PAY for Cisco certification if the individual is currently unemployed. Certification in as few as 16 weeks ain’t bad.
I will be gathering the information on this and I really believe we need to do something Ohio–Wide and preferably Nationwide to rally young and old folks (that’s us) to this opportunity. Even those in the retirement throes should think about certification so they can teach at an academy – the pay looks pretty good for part time (something like $38k, fairly relaxed and only a few hours a day).
Please reach out to Demo if you would like more information.

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