Thursday, January 6, 2011

BDPA Legacy: Marvin Walker (Chicago Chapter Founder)

BDPA Chicago chapter, founded in 1986, is the largest chapter in the nation. In fact, the chapter is one of the most honored in our history.

Did you ever wonder what was in the mind of those visionary brothers and sisters that dream of creating an organization like BDPA that advances the careers of African Americans in the IT industry from the classroom to the boardroom?

We have a chance to hear directly from one of those visionaries. Marvin Walker is the founder and first president of BDPA Chicago chapter. He was kind enough to share thoughts he wrote down in 2006 when his chapter was celebrating its 20-year anniversary. Take a moment to enjoy words of wisdom from Marvin Walker:

BDPA and Original Thoughts
While you may consider my associates and me as the founding members of BDPA Chicago chapter, and me as the founder, allow me, however, to set the record straight. I have come to know that, man has never had an original thought. All good, pure thoughts, like all good gifts, come from the one Mind, (God) to man, by grace. I much rather consider myself merely a conduit or custodian through which God’s gift, has come.

BDPA was a gift that came to me. However, in order for me to have it, I had to share it. So I did just that. I first shared it with those who became the founding / charter members of BDPA Chicago Chapter. We began sharing the gift of BDPA openly with others on April 18, 1986, at the Palmer House, and it has perpetuated itself since that time.

I don’t mind telling you that I spent many hours reading, researching and talking long distance to
BDPA members in other cities and States. I also spent many prayerful days, before I decided to approach my friends with this idea. Needless to say, I had never attempted anything quite like this before. This undertaking was quite literally, a leap of faith.

Unlike a job, in which one receives remuneration for their efforts, this was something quite different. Since there would be no payment, per se, the results we all wanted were the successes, longevity and perpetuation of the gift, BDPA Chicago Chapter.

32 Years in Information Technology (IT)

The 32 years I spent IT (Jun 1970 thru Sep 2002) taught me many things. I spent many hours, days, weeks and months writing, debugging, modifying and implementing Assembler based (BAL) or Machine Language, PL1 and COBOL application programs and systems. Working through core dumps, gave me an appreciation for detail, and helped me identify where a particular problem occurred in the program or system. I gained a keen understanding of and for detail (although, the devil is in them). Working as a Database Administrator in IMS, IDMS and Oracle, in later years, helped me gain an understanding of the big

Life Parallels a Massive, Networked, Application System

What I learned in IT has served me well in life. Consider that life is like one massive, networked, application system. As in all massive networked systems, you may experience a core dump, ABEND or interrupt due to some problem, somewhere in this massive, networked, system (in life these interrupts manifest themselves as problems one must contend with or decisions one must make). When this happens, you have to identify what the problem is and where, correct it ASAP by making the necessary modifications to the sub-function or sub-program, and either continue or restart the process. Knowingly or unknowingly, this is what we all do in our lives, each day. Overall, the time I spent in IT, has served to make me a results oriented - problem-solver.

BDPA Chicago Chapter – An Historic Perspective

This being the 20 year anniversary of BDPA Chicago Chapter, 2006 has been quite a year for me, in terms of events. I became president of my Rotary Club --- Rotary Club of Chicago Southeast -- which is the first predominately African American Rotary Club. Unfortunately, for the first time since I became a member of BDPA, I was unable to attend the National Conference, due to my responsibility as Rotary president. Somehow, the impressive display and demonstration of talent by our High School Computer Competition (HSCC) Team, returned to my thoughts on Sunday morning, (the day after the banquet). It occurred to me that our students won the National HSCC championship. Upon confirming that this was in fact true, helped seal the deal on this banner year, in the history of our chapter.

From the historic first-ever BDPA three-peat winning of the Chapter of the Year award (1991, 1992, 1993) to the back-to-back HSCC wins and all the successes in between, and since, which have characterized the Chicago Chapter, you continue to make the founding members proud.

I took a moment to try and find a suitable quotation about gifts and giving, and found this one from Baltasar Gracian, a noted essayist who wrote, "The great art of giving consists in this… the gift should cost very little and yet be greatly coveted, so that it may be the more highly appreciated."

I wish our friend and fellow founding member Hazel W. Beason-Payne – whom we lost in December, 2003 - could have been with us to share in this, our 20th Anniversary Celebration. We all became and continue to be very good friends. My fellow founding members and I say, thank you for accepting and embracing this gift… as much today, as yesterday. Thank you for preserving it… Thank you for cherishing it… Thank you for growing and perpetuating it… Thank you for continuing to give it to others. And lastly, thank you for giving it back to us in this way.

Marvin Walker, Founder & Past President
BDPA Chicago Chapter

I encourage all BETF-Blog readers to take a moment to POST A COMMENT to let Marvin know what you think about his message and his gift to the Chicago area. What say u?

1 comment:

A W. Bolden said...

Great comments Mr. Founder.