Columbus, Georgia Remembers Dr. William Pickard

Columbus, Georgia Remembers Dr. William Pickard

By Wane A. Hailes

According to Dr. Robert “Bob” Wright, founder of the Bob Wright Symposium on Business Empowerment entrepreneur, philanthropist and Real Times Media and Michigan Chronicle co-owner William F. Pickard died Wednesday at his West Palm Beach, Florida, home. He was 83.

Pickard began his career in Detroit as one of the first Black franchise owners of a McDonald's in 1971.

In 1989, Pickard founded the Global Automotive Alliance (GAA) Manufacturing and Supply Chain Management, which has generated more than $5 billion in sales from its founding to the present day. He was also a co-managing partner of MGM Grand Detroit Casino and the co-owner of five Black-owned newspapers, including The Michigan Chronicle.

Over his lifetime, Pickard donated millions of dollars to local and national organizations, most of which to invest in the Black community, including Western Michigan University, his alma mater, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, the Motown Historical Museum, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Wayne County Community College District, the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.

Columbus became familiar with Dr. Pickard in 2016 during the Bob Wright Symposium on Business Empowerment, as one of the featured world-class business leaders and executives sharing invaluable business insight, knowledge and experience, in addition to providing networking opportunities.

Pickard became a familiar face as a presenter at every symposium since its inception. In 2019 Dr. Pickard was invited by the mayor’s commission on unity diversity and prosperity to serve as the guest speaker for the city’s annual Dream Lives celebration and tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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