Business Pioneers Pass Away

The black business community recently lost three trailblazers with the passing of Herbert J. Miller, Alvaro L. Martins and Harvey C. Russell Jr. They had honed their craft in corporate America, while carving hard-won paths for generations that followed.

Miller, 62, was a “high-tech guru” long before the term became cliche. The president, CEO and founder of social & Scientific Systems, a BE 100s firm, died in November following complications from a bone marrow transplant. Miller, who created his Bethesda, Maryland, firm in 1978, successfully steered the concern through the Small Business Administration’s 8(a) program while capturing the Health and Human Services Minority Small Business of the Year Award in 1987.

Until his death from a heart attack in February, Martins, 61, was president of A.L. Martins & Associates in Bethesda, Maryland. One of the founding members of the Executive Leadership Council in 1986, Martins was a former vice president specializing in sales and marketing at Xerox before he left to form his own concern, a human resources and marketing consulting company, in 1996.

Russell, 79, joined PepsiCo in 1950 in their “Negro sales” department as a field representative. Through successive promotions Russell was eventually named a vice president of corporate planning for PepsiCo in 1962, making him the first African American to be named vice president at a major American corporation. He helped develop the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and was also a longtime board member of the NAACP’s Legal Defense and Educational Fund. He passed away from heart failure in February.

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