Thousands of African American men and women have helped shape AT&T’s rich history for more than 140 years.
In honor of Black History Month, AT&T is highlighting several employees who are making an impact at AT&T and in the community.
One of those employees is Hardmon Williams, vice president – AT&T Believes & Community Engagement. AT&T Believes is a nationwide program driven primarily by employee volunteerism. It aims to lift communities by aligning AT&T’s resources with ongoing efforts by local organizations.
Serving the underserved
Growing up in inner-city Indianapolis, Hardmon learned from an early age that hard work and education could lead to opportunities. Throughout his 28-year career with AT&T, he has achieved personal and professional success through that same hard work and the support of mentors inside and outside the company.
Now he oversees the program that has prompted more than 9,500 employees to volunteer over 72,000 hours of their time, working on projects in and around their communities. Thirty-seven cities across the country have launched Believe initiatives aiming to improve lives and provide opportunities in communities with similar challenges he saw as a youth.
“AT&T Believes programs range from aiding the homeless, fighting food insecurity and helping the underserved secure job skills and much more,” Hardmon said. “There is no one-size-fits-all approach to serve our communities. I’m very appreciative to all of our employees who have stepped up to make an impact with AT&T Believes.”
Distinguished African Americans in AT&T History
Like Hardmon, many other notable African American employees have made a difference at AT&T through the years. Here are just a few.
Ramon “Ray” Scruggs — The first African American management employee of Michigan Bell in 1939. Ray was hired as a commercial agent to serve the black community.
James “Jim” West — West joined Bell Telephone Laboratories in 1957. He holds more than 250 U.S. and foreign patents. The most important of these patents is as co-inventor of the foil electret microphone
Shirley M. Jackson — The first African American female Ph.D. physicist at Bell Telephone Laboratories in 1976. She did ground-breaking work in several areas of theoretical physics.
To celebrate Black History Month, The NETwork, AT&T’s oldest employee group will host several events. The NETwork encourages African Americans and other employees to attain their personal and professional goals while leading change in our communities.
Today, the organization has more than 11,000 members. And since 1982, The NETwork has contributed more than $22 million to the United Negro College Fund.