With Epps’ Departure, Philly Government Must Maintain its Commitment to Business Diversity

With Epps’ Departure, Philly Government Must Maintain its Commitment to Business Diversity

By Malik Majeed, President, CEO & General Counsel

After a little more than four years on the job, Philadelphia’s Commerce Director and my friend Harold T. Epps is departing for a return to the private sector.

It’s a huge loss for the Kenney Administration because Harold has been very active and engaged not just with growing Philadelphia commerce in general, but particularly with regard to minority participation in commercial activities. His actions have shown a deep sensitivity to minorities and minority businesses, with the goal of abating poverty through inclusion.

Harold’s leadership led to an increase in city contracts for minority and disability-owned businesses. His growth strategy attempted to include all of the city’s neighborhoods, and he opened the city’s first Office of Workforce Development, another opportunity for the minority community.

Malik Majeed and Harold T. Epps at the Enterprise Center’s Lighting the Torch event.

Harold and I arrived at PRWT Services, Inc. in the fall of 2007. We worked very closely together, and I can testify I learned quite a lot from him–and I hope he learned a few things from me before I succeeded him as President and CEO in 2015. Like many great leaders, Harold encouraged everyone around him to share their ideas freely. I’m sure that’s the model he used in city government as well to move his initiatives forward.

Despite Harold’s pending departure from the city, I am optimistic because of the trend he has established. Mayor Kenney announced at his annual Chamber of Commerce address made it clear he intends to see Philadelphia continue to grow economically and inclusively. In promoting Harold’s successor, Sylvie Gallier Howard, who has worked under Harold as first deputy, the mayor said his expectation is for her to continue the momentum now in place. Best wishes to Ms. Howard as she carries that torch forward.

And of course, a huge thank you and congratulations to Harold for his work and success over the last four years. I– and the entire PRWT family– re excited for his next chapter.