Charles “Chick” Leroy Lee Jr., a prolific entrepreneur, recently died at the age of 77. He was one of the pioneers in the minority business development and supplier diversity arenas, including actively participating in National Minority Supplier Development Council Inc.
Lee — who frequently donned his signature cowboy hats and boots — was passionate about helping minority businesses. For more than 56 years, he was a successful, serial entrepreneur and strategic alliance expert.
He founded or co-founded numerous companies, including Advanced Management Concepts, Core Mechanical HVAC, Delta Construction, Nesby + Associates and The Alliance Expert LLC.
Lee’s companies served many Fortune 500 corporations, including DuPont, AT&T, Kraft, PepsiCo, Sears, CBRE, Johnson Controls, Comcast, Verizon and PECO, formerly Philadelphia Electric Co.
He also served on NMSDC’s board as chair of its Minority Business Enterprise Input Committee from 1996 to 2002.
In addition, Lee was a founding member and first president of the First State Community Loan Fund in Delaware and co-founder of Minority and Small Business Entrepreneurship Capital or MaSBEC, an education program for small and diverse businesses partnering with Delaware State University. He was co-founder and a board member of MINDCO, an education program for small and diverse businesses partnering with Kutztown University, and co-founder of PA Community Safety Alliance.
Also, he was on the boards of the United Way of Berks County; Hawk Mountain Council, Boy Scouts of America; Minority Business Association of Delaware; and The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia.
Lee was passionate about helping the community and sought out opportunities to contribute. He was a strategy consultant for Pennsylvania Crime Prevention Officers’ Association, or PCPOA. He produced two Berks Community Television shows — one on diversity and equity and the other on safer neighborhoods for stronger communities with PCPOA.
He worked with the Michael Metzler Fund from Crime Alert Berks County, The Camel Project Inc. and Exeter Unified School District on bullying, diversity and equity.
Lee’s most recent endeavor was developing the Diversity Consortium to address decades of sluggish supplier diversity growth.