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Because of Mays’ mark on Indiana, we are still becoming

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William “Bill” G. Mays

Congratulations to all the distinguished recipients of the Champions of Diversity award, a prestigious accolade presented by the Indianapolis Recorder Newspaper and Indiana Minority Business Magazine. It is truly a privilege to accept the William G. Mays Excellence in Entrepreneurship Award on behalf of my company, Professional Management Enterprises (PME), and our exceptional team at Team PME.

In this moment of deep gratitude and humility, I would like to honor the legacy of the man behind the award – Mr. William “Bill” G. Mays.

A beacon of resilience and success, Mr. Mays, born in Evansville, Indiana, in 1945, triumphed over a segregated educational system, emerging as the top male graduate of Evansville’s Lincoln High School in 1963. His academic journey led him to Indiana University, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry in 1970 and a Master of Business Administration in 1973.

Mr. Mays’ professional journey included roles at esteemed companies such as Procter & Gamble Co., Eli Lilly Company, and Cummins Engine Company. Notably, he resigned from the presidency of Specialty Chemicals in 1980, choosing integrity over compromise in the face of changing racial dynamics.

In March 1980, Mays founded the Mays Chemical Company, Inc., a one-person operation that soared to $100 million in sales within a decade. His entrepreneurial prowess extended beyond chemicals, spanning media ownership, property management, and various industries.

My entrepreneurial journey briefly intersected with Mr. Mays’ legacy throughout my 17 years of business. From providing temporary staffing for his warehouse to simply admiring his leadership from afar, I witnessed the profound impact of his endeavors on the community. Although our interactions were not extensive, the resonance of his story left an indelible mark on my approach to business and community engagement.

What set Mr. Mays apart was not just his business acumen but his commitment to nurturing aspiring entrepreneurs. He became a mentor and advisor to many entrepreneurs, breaking barriers by becoming the first Black person to chair the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce and serving on the Indiana Hoosier Lottery Commission.

The lessons I gleaned from Mr. Mays extend beyond the boardroom. Mentoring and providing resources to CEOs and minority-owned businesses have been cornerstones of my professional journey. It’s not merely about achieving business success; it’s about creating a ripple effect within our companies that reaches into homes, supporting families, and strengthening local communities.

Accepting this award is not an individual accomplishment; it is a collective triumph for Team PME and our clients. Together, we have fostered an environment where success is measured not solely in financial terms but by the positive impact we create.

I extend my gratitude to every member of Team PME and our clients for entrusting us with the opportunity to serve. Your partnership has been instrumental in our collective journey of growth and community enrichment.

Mr. Mays taught us all that as business owners, our work is not just about business; it is about using our knowledge to mentor the entrepreneurs who will follow in our footsteps. I have met countless CEOs who benefited from his leadership and philanthropy, allowing them to “pay it forward” within their company staff and the communities they serve. Mr. Mays has shown us that by making an impact on local businesses, we are making an impact on local communities and families. This allows employees to put food on their families’ tables, support their children in completing their education, and overall improves the community, starting within homes.

Proverbs 13:22 states, “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children.” Mr. Mays, through his enduring legacy, has left an inheritance of inspiration, opportunity, and empowerment for generations to come.

In the spirit of Mr. Mays’ legacy, I commit to using this award as a catalyst for further community development. Just as he mentored and paved the way, I will continue to impart knowledge, offer support, and contribute to the flourishing tapestry of entrepreneurship in Indiana.

In closing, let us carry forward the torch lit by William G. Mays, ensuring that the flame of entrepreneurship, mentorship, and community impact burns brightly for generations to come.

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