The 2010 Black Enterprise 100

The B.E. 100s: Bloodied, But Unbowed

FedEx–is poised to break the billion-dollar barrier in annual billings. Clearly, GlobalHue is deserving of being named Advertising Agency of the Year for the second time this decade.

These outstanding CEOs are part of a proud legacy of entrepreneurial achievement chronicled by Black Enterprise since our founding four decades ago. After 38 years of publishing our annual report on the nation’s largest black-owned companies, no one knows better than we do that true excellence is proven over time. No one exemplifies this more than Don Barden, CEO of the Detroit-based Barden Cos. and our selection for the 2010 A.G. Gaston Lifetime Achievement Award. Named for the legendary Birmingham, Alabama, business titan Arthur G. Gaston Sr., recognized by BE as the greatest entrepreneur of the 20th century, the A.G. Gaston Lifetime Achievement Award annually recognizes an entrepreneur who has a consistently distinguished record of business achievement over the course of his or her career. Barden has proven more than deserving of this recognition.

Currently competing successfully in casino/hotel operations and real estate development, Barden has earned BE100s Company of the Year honors in two different industries, in 2003 and in 1992 as a leading force in the cable television industry–proving his mettle in good economic times and bad. In addition, Barden has earned success as a newspaper publisher, a talk show host, and in local politics in Lorain, Ohio, while establishing himself as a shrewd negotiator with an appetite for risk and a knack for anticipating emerging business opportunities. Along the way, Barden served as role model and mentor to a generation of entrepreneurs, while remaining as active and forward thinking as ever.

Whether you are an aspiring entrepreneur, a new business owner, or a veteran CEO who’s seen your business pushed to the brink, I urge you to take heart, and follow the inspirational and instructional stories of excellence in the face of adversity featured in this, our 38th Annual Report on Black Business. For examples of how to not only survive but thrive in our rapidly changing, and challenging, economy, you can do no better than Barden and the other outstanding CEOs of the 2010 BE 100s.