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Robbins mayor to host groundbreaking Summit

Tyrone Ward, village president of Robbins, IL will welcome a full cast of major African American entrepreneurs from throughout Cook County as well as city/suburban elected officials at a groundbreaking Business Summit on Friday, March 1, from 12 p.m. until 6 p.m. at the Robbins Community Center, 13800 Trumbull in Robbins.

The Summit is titled the Minority Entrepreneur Interactive Solution Symposium (MEISS).

Ward created MEISS for the sole purpose of merging the private and public sector to address issues of entrepreneurial engagement throughout Southern Cook County. The mayor has also set a goal of addressing the need for a regional hub of industry, technology and workforce development not only for Robbins, but for the entire region.

Robbins, a community of 6,000 plus residents is located just south of Chicago in Illinois’ 1st Congressional District.

The village has a long entrepreneurial history, notably the founding of the Robbins Airport in 1930, the first to be owned and operated by African Americans in the United States, from 1930 to 1933. Black aviatrix Bessie Coleman was a co-founder. The one runway airport was destroyed by a tornado in 1933.

robbins city sealThe entrepreneurial spirit of nationally known businessman S.B. Fuller, founder of the Fuller Products Company, was nurtured in Robbins. His success selling soap door to door inspired him to develop more products.

Robbins’ Business Summit is a return to fostering entrepreneurial activities in the Southland, according to Ward.

“Our African American leaders must take notice of the diverse nature of industries in southern Cook County. Over the past six years we’ve noticed logistical companies landing all throughout the Southland.  But there are different aspects of these and other industries that warrant a frank discussion of how to prepare and engage,” says Mayor Ward.

The merged group will also speak to matters of Business Solutions, Career Opportunities, Supplier Diversity, Business Protection and other subject matter on which public officials can offer significant contributions.

Ward added, “The public sector is imperative to the success of Black entrepreneurship. We have to connect, build and elevate our leaders to opportunities of growth and expansion. I’m confident that this summit will inspire both groups to continue to give back to the communities in which they live and work.”

The expo will also feature other mini forums including:

Presentations and Workshops

Public and Private Sector Partnership Opportunities

Start-Up and Small Business Resources

Research Virtual Offices and Incubators

Financial Tools, Grants and Programs

Many distinguished notables within the business communities that make up all of Cook County will facilitate and serve as presenters. Some of which will feature:

Attorney Jim Montgomery

Deandrell L. Rucker –CEO OF Rucker Holding

Stacee Lang—President of Lang Capitol Group

Irma Lopez—- Illinois Department of Central Management Services

Mae Whiteside, PE—President and CEO of CKL Engineering

Dr. Kenneth Lewis Sr.—Founder of Kenny’s Ribs and Dusties Southern Style Buffet

Shon Harris—Owner of LiveWire Construction

Illinois State Representative Debbie Meyers-Martin.

Illinois State Representative Debbie Meyers-Martin noted, “I fully support Mayor Ward’s vision for this summit. This event will allow African American entrepreneurs the opportunity to connect with those of us in the public sector for the sole purpose of creation and expansion. I’m confident that this new merger will address the growing issues surrounding workforce development.”

The MEISS Expo will also honor the contributions of government and business leaders who have given much to the upward mobility of the African American community.

The Village of Robbins is joined in Sponsorship by the following:


Com Ed

City of Chicago




Blue Island

Nicor Gas

Illinois Department of Commerce

Star Planet TV

Illinois Department of Procurement Services

95.1 FM

Heirs to Heaven

CKL Engineering

Leak and Sons Funeral Homes

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