Albert C. Black

The Dallas Examiner


Albert C. Black Jr’s life story is about as “Dallas” as you can get. The city is often described as having been established against all reason: no favorable geography; no navigable waterway … no reason to be here. Black’s rise from the Frazier Courts projects to the pinnacle of Dallas’ business and civic leadership – against all odds – is the spirit of Dallas in the flesh.

Born in 1959 in Dallas, Black attended Dallas public schools. After graduation he attended college on an athletic scholarship, and after finishing his football career at Eastern New Mexico University, he returned to Texas to complete his undergraduate studies at The University of Texas at Dallas. That same year he formally launched On-Target Supplies & Logistics with his wife Gwyneith. From the very start, Black recognized the importance of continuous education and training. After years of growing and developing his company Black enrolled in Southern Methodist University. He earned an MBA in 1995.


Question: What was it about growing up in Frazier Courts that propelled you throughout you career?

Albert Black: We never felt that living in Frazier Courts was a life sentence … we were taught – my siblings and I – that hard work, a good education and exemplary behavior would see us through. We had to speak correctly, walk correctly, have good posture, be clean, make the best grades in school. We had to look at ourselves as champions of whatever causes we are a part of. We may have lived in the ghetto, but my mother wouldn’t permit us to think that way. She used to say, “You may live in the ghetto, but you’re not ‘ghetto material.’ I won’t stand for you to act that way.”


Q: Before we dig into your career in business, you’ve also committed time and considerable personal resources into education. Tell us about those early experiences in DISD that shaped your commitment to improving access to education.

Black: Yes, I’ve invested considerable time and resources into education and that is exactly because we had the importance of education drilled into us at home. At Julia C. Frazier the teachers, principals and staff at all levels were good people asked to teach young people with woefully inadequate resources. Too often books were scarce, the classrooms were too hot in the summer and way to clod in the winter. We learned because of the professional commitment our education was guided by.

Oh and there was desegregation AKA, busing! When the busses started rolling the education all but stopped! My Jr. High School years were filled with integration chaos. The intentions were good. The experience was unnecessarily bad. Better planning and execution were deserved by everybody involved.

I’ve had an insatiable desire to influence better outcomes for students at all compass points of our city. The most intense work I’ve been involved in have been in economically challenged communities. I’ll certainly be involved in inproving public education for the rest of my life.

Though I’ve never served on the DISD board, I’ve always maintained close relations with superintendents and trustees across the years. Among the most proud moments of my career was learning that the DISD Board of Trustees voted to name an elementary school in my honor! I have served as receiver for the Wilmer-Hutchins School District when it was in distress and was able to resolve the monumental challenges that district faced. My service on the Texas Southern University Board of Regents was particularly rewarding. We were able to execute the largest campaign of new construction on the campus.

Today I serve as a director for Physicians Realty Trust and on the board of Baylor Scott & White Healthcare System. I have the distinct honor of having served as the first African American Chairman of the Greater Dallas Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors. I have served on the Dallas Black Chamber board of directors, the Advisory Board of JPMorgan Chase Bank, Dallas-TX, on the Board of Regents of Baylor University and St. Louis University and on the board of Southern Methodist University’s Cox School of Business. I have spoken to and lectured for business groups and colleges across the country, including Stanford University in California and Rutgers University in New Jersey.

None of this would have been possible without the remarkable upbringing – launch pad – I had by growing up in Dallas’ Frazier Courts housing projects. I have the street address of our Frazier Court home literally built into the home we had built in Dallas as a reminder of where we’ve come from… and how far we’ve come.


Q: Early life experiences are so important in shaping and molding character. Who are some of the influencers who helped guide you? Helped to form your approach to civic life?

Black: First of all – and most important is my wife. Gwyneith – who I’ve known all her life – has stood by and with me from day one. Her commitment to me, our family, and to our business has made even the difficult times a whole lot smoother than they really were. My father worked at a hotel and was the individual “who helped people.” He was the doorman and came to know some of Dallas’ business leaders. Later on in life he talked to me about being a businessman and a business leader and those lessons have stayed with me through the years. On top of that, whatever character that I have was formed by my grandmother – to treat people with passion, to always look out, as she would say, for the other fellow; to do what you say you’re going to do; to take care of others before you take care of yourself; to tell the truth; to love and expect to be loved; to put God first, your family second, and everything else somewhere after that. Those lessons have served me and my family well over the years.


Q: You have managed to sustain success in business for over 40 years. What’s been the secret to success for On-Target Supplies & Logistics?

Black: As the business leader I think what we have to do is learn to listen and learn, teach, preach, coach and counsel. When we do these things we become effective leaders, and if we don’t prepare ourselves for that type of leadership, what we will find is the organization will grow bigger than us and we’ll be at risk of losing our position.

Said briefly, for 37 years I lived every day to be a leader of good character and a manager of Gwyneith’s and my individual and the company’s collective plans for success. When achieved my responsibility was to raise the bar. Transferring the president and CEO responsibilities to our son Tre’ may be my greatest career move. He’s proving to be outstanding in all the arenas we expect him to master … operations, financial, economic, social and political. He’s a great leader and manager. On-Target’s future is bright with Tre’ at the helm.

Beyond that, it’s relationships. We have been fortunate over the years to have made the kind of connections – friendships really – that have supported us, understood us and committed to be of assistance to us when we really needed help. Ron Kirk and Royce West in their early political careers were incredible inspirations. Together we did some good and lasting things for Dallas. Many of my initial civic and business endeavors were complimented by their willingness to include Gwyneith and I into their newly formed power circles.

My business mentors, Charles O’Neal, Jerry Junkins, Erle Nye, Larry Lacerte and Ken Bezozo shaped and formed my career in ways that made it almost impossible to fail.


Q: Growing up in an extremely segregated Dallas is very different than what young people experience today. What are the challenges that remain and what are your thoughts about how future generations will overcome these challenges?

Black: We founded On-Target Supplies & Logistics, forty years ago. My civic and unfortunately, too much of my business career, has been about “disturbing the equilibrium” of Dallas’ business community and large complex nonprofit organizations. I don’t recall a Business-to-Business African American business success to shadow, track and avoid mistakes because of mentoring. The opportunity wasn’t available for me. Younger businesspeople have good role models and resources like the TAAACC, local Black chambers and welcome access to regional chambers across the markets they serve. The Dallas Black Chamber helped my career immensely. For too many years it was the only listing in Black business’ Green Book.

There were very few Black executives or managers in area corporations. There are now. Corporate Supply Chains in general, remain homogeneous in ways that must be deliberate, we have work on the collective problem too long to have such poor participation statistics. State procurement opportunities are embarrassingly less. The City of Dallas is the City of Commerce, however real Black business success stories are still rare. There were none when our company launched.

Younger and even older businesspeople throughout Dallas and the state of Texas remain locked out of too many opportunities. For the younger generation, there are paths created by hard work and disruption and perseverance that gives them a better chance to grow and develop careers in business, as managers, executives or entrepreneurs. We’ve come far. We have further to go.

So let’s get to work!


Mollie Finch Belt is the Publisher and Chief Executive Officer of The Dallas Examiner. She attended elementary school in Tuskegee, Ala.; Cambridge, Mass.; and Dallas, Texas. In 1961, she graduated from...

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