Maynard Jackson: The Ultimate Champion for Black Business

As Atlanta's first black mayor, he helped develop a bevy of B.E.100s companies and created more black millionaires that any other public figure.

complete the transaction. The bottom line: Jackson’s political clout and business savvy made the deal happen. “He had a clear understanding of how to sell things politically inside the city, but also [how to] sell constituents on how transactions would be completed,” McDaniel says.

What about Jackson Securities’ future? The company’s management team certainly did not expect the chairman’s death to come so soon. The firm, McDaniel maintains, is on solid footing, though. Five years ago, Jackson put together a team of top-flight professionals to manage the firm so it could continue without him. The CEO believes he has the personnel and financial resources to remain competitive. “Our plan now is not to immediately change anything,” says McDaniel, who expects Jackson Securities to expand through acquisitions or joint ventures and to realize the founder’s vision of becoming a full-service national investment banking firm.

Jackson’s other business interests are moving forward as well. In 1994, he, his daughter, Brooke Jackson Edmond, and food industry veteran Daniel Halpern launched Jackmont Hospitality Inc., an Atlanta-based food-services company that grosses roughly $24 million annually and employs about 180 people. Says Halpern, Jackmont’s president: “He had a passion for being in business with his daughter. It was something he really cared about and enjoyed.”

The two learned quickly about Jackson’s take-no-prisoner’s style of management. In 1996, when Jackmont was in the process of developing a T.G.I.F’s franchise at Hartsfield Airport, Halpern and Jackson Edmond, the company’s senior vice president, thought they would not meet the construction timetable. “We looked at each other and asked who’s going to tell him,” recalls Halpern. “Maynard listened and looked and said, ‘Let me tell you one thing. I built the entire airport ahead of schedule and under budget, I know you will get one restaurant built under budget.’”

They accomplished their mission. “He was adamant that we succeed in that endeavor,” Jackson Edmond remembers of her father’s guidance and persistence to make it happen. (Jackson had four other children, Elizabeth, Maynard III, Valerie Amanda, and Alexandra.).

Today, the franchise is the biggest revenue-producing airport outlet, based on square footage. Annual revenues are about $6 million, accounting for roughly 25% of Jackmont’s total sales.

With businesses in the Washington, D.C., and Memphis, Tennessee, metro areas, Jackmont is seeking to acquire seven new restaurants on the Eastern seaboard that would add another $30 million in revenues to the company coffers, making it a candidate for the BE INDUSTRIAL/SERVICE 100. What’s holding up the deal? “Losing the biggest component of our personal balance sheet,” says Halpern.

In business and politics, colleagues and protégés alike say Jackson would not make a deal that was either legally or ethically questionable or compromised his principles. He created organizations like the National Association of Securities Professionals (NASP) or jumped into frays such as his heated battle with Clinton crony and fundraising “magician” Terry McAuliffe for the chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee in 2001 to give blacks — whether high-powered professionals or ordinary folk — vehicles to gain economic and political empowerment.

Jackson

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