Who better to understand the importance of a publication like Who’s Who in Black Atlanta publication and annual gala than business mogul Thomas W. Dortch Jr., owner of TWD, Inc?
The multifaceted businessman, civic leader and philanthropist has reached the pinnacle of success in Atlanta, the state of Georgia and the U.S. He believes Who’s Who in Black Atlanta serves a multi-pronged and paramount purpose.
“I think Who’s Who is a phenomenal publication. It features leaders in companies and people who have integrity across this nation. We’re so happy that Who’s Who is here in Atlanta, and looking at the black Atlantans who are making a difference,” Dortch said. “Who’s Who allows us to see current history makers. It allows us to see who has invested in Atlanta from all walks of life, and see people who continue to set new standards and experience great success in life.”
Tommy Dortch knows about being a pioneer, setting new standards and making history. The Georgia native and Fort Valley State University graduate became the associate director of the Georgia Democratic Party in 1974 and, in 1978, Dortch began working as an administrative aide for legendary U.S. Senator Sam Nunn, eventually becoming State Director, the first African American to ever serve in this position.
But that was just the beginning of Dortch’s storied and illustrious career.
Today, Dortch is the president and CEO of TWD Conglomerate, which runs six different businesses: TWD, Inc., a private sector consulting firm; the Fair Consulting, LLC, which is the public sector consulting where he works with Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, U.S. Department of Transportation and the U.S. Department of Energy; Atlanta Transportation Systems Inc., which is a non-emergency para-transit system that he’s owned and operated for more than 20 years. Then there’s the Better Dreams Mattress Manufacturing Company, where his team helps folks have wonderful sleep and rest, which he started with renowned Detroit businessman Dr. William Prichard; and he owns the Southwest Investment Group and Landcore Parking Inc.
Far from complacent and satisfied with his own success, Dortch is the chairman emeritus of 100 Black Men of America, Inc., the nation’s preeminent black mentoring and educational organization that he propelled into a major force in the U.S. by expanding the group’s chapters to over 100 cities in America, Africa, England and the West Indies. He also founded the National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame Foundation, Inc., a vehicle which continuously illuminates the major contributions of Historically Black Colleges and Universities and their graduates. And Dortch co-founding the Georgia Association of Minority Entrepreneurs (GAME) to fill a void as an advocacy organization for minority business development.
Dortch, a prolific philanthropist and civic leader in addition to being an outstanding businessman, is staunch advocate of mentorships as a way to help accelerate the pace of individual success. The author of “The Miracles of Mentoring: The Joy of Investing in Our Future,” published by Doubleday Books, shares how he navigated his way to the apex of Atlanta’s business community:
“I tell young people and other people all the time that success is a journey, not a destination. It’s pretty much determined by the obstacles that you overcome in life, not by the titles or positions that you hold,” Dortch said. “But my road to success has been one of planning, making sure that I make my own investments and re-investments, that my business is my businesses and that I am responsible for those. Having good quality leadership, in terms of my employees and managers and treating them right and investing in them and investing in the tools to get the job done, and being involved in the community.
Dortch has also carefully cultivated a brand over the past two decades that his business partners and clients trust unequivocally, another key to expanding one’s success “Public relations and marketing is more than just sending something out. I am the face of my businesses, and I have to be out, be engaged, show support, and know that I have to invest in my community if I am going to reap returns from my community. And knowing that there is no black business. There is a black-owned or African American-owned business, but that all businesses have to practice the same principles: financing, accountability, great product, community service, community relations, great employees. But again, most important is giving that great product and providing excellence without excuses.”
‘No excuses’ epitomizes the people highlighted in Who’s Who in Black Atlanta. Every individual has, like Dortch, overcome obstacles and pushed through seemingly insurmountable barriers to arrive at their enviable stations in life and business. Moreover, Who’s Who in Black Atlanta serves an inspirational book for both the reader and those who grace the pages.
“(Who’s Who) allows us to see people that our young people can emulate, the people who will set the stage for that next generation. So it’s important for us to have Who’s Who in Atlanta,” Dortch continues. “At the same time, it still celebrates the past, some of our great leaders. I remember the late Maynard Jackson and how we highlighted him, and now we’ll be highlighting Herman Russell, not just one of the great pioneers in Atlanta, but in the world from the standpoint of African American business owners. So Who’s Who’s is important. It lets us know “who’s who” and more important than that, it keeps those folks inspired.”