Freshman Class of CEOs

Meet six newcomers to the B.E. 100s who are at the top of their game

Link Howard

Link Howard III, President & CEO of Powerlink Facilities Management Services

They oversee more than $550 million in combined revenues and employ more than 1,000 people at some of the nation’s most vibrant and fastest-growing black-owned companies. They are the executives who make up the Freshman Class of BE 100s CEOs. Their individual achievements rank them as the top execs who appear on the list for the first time—some at the head of freshly minted BE 100s companies and others taking the lead of BE 100s companies with long-standing legacies.


These bold, innovative, and brash commanders run their companies with a panoramic view and are unafraid to take risks in an ever-changing business climate. Entering the elite domain of the BE 100s this year, they have displayed their valor by rising to the top tier of black business.

Powerlink Facilities Management Services
President and CEO: Link Howard III
Link Howard III is leading the rapidly growing Detroit-based Powerlink Facilities Management Services, which provides maintenance, housekeeping, janitorial, landscaping, snow removal, and other building services. After years assembling a clientele that includes healthcare systems, schools, and utility companies, Howard’s efforts appear to be paying off. Powerlink debuted at No. 97 on the BE Industrial/Service companies list with revenues of $21.7 million in 2011, up from $11 million in 2010. The company has nearly doubled its workforce to about 600 employees, up from 350 in 2007.

Taking his experience in the federal service and private sector as a sales and marketing executive for an auto supplier, Howard originally started Powerlink in 2002 as a staffing firm supporting the automotive industry. Sensing that a downturn in that business was on the horizon, he diversified his firm in 2003 into Powerlink Facilities Management Services by shifting its efforts to provide facilities management services to clients in various industries.

Powerlink provides services throughout Michigan, Ohio, and Ontario, Canada, and on average manages about 1 million square feet per client. “We’re able to manage over large distances and large buildings,” says the 62-year-old Howard. Powerlink recently landed a partnership with Sodexo Education to supply building engineering services for more than 120 Detroit Public Schools. The five-year contract will generate $47 million in business from DPS and is Powerlink’s biggest deal to date.

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