The Activist Entrepreneur: What I Learned About Business at the Urban Coalition and My Proven Keys to Personal and Career Success

In 1967 Walt Douglas was an ambitious IRS computer programmer, transplanted from Washington, D.C., and settling into a new home in Detroit with his wife Retha and young family. That’s when the worst urban riot of the 1960s broke out a few miles from their quiet neighborhood, forever changing their lives and altering the shape of the city’s economy, politics and social relations. More

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About Walt Douglas, Sr

WALT DOUGLAS is chairman and majority stockholder of Avis Ford, an automobile dealership in Southfield, Mich. Black Enterprise magazine named Avis Ford its National Dealer of the Year in 2010.

Douglas is a native of Hamlet, N.C., who earned an accounting degree and an MBA from North Carolina Central University. He worked as a computer programmer for the Internal Revenue Service early in his career, and became active in community development organizations after the IRS transferred him from Washington, D.C., to Detroit in 1966. By 1972, Douglas joined the staff of New Detroit Inc., which, as one of the nation’s first urban coalition organizations, addressed economic inequities that contributed to the 1967 civil disturbance often known as the Detroit Rebellion. Douglas served as New Detroit’s president from 1978 to 1985, when he became a Ford dealer trainee.

Douglas has been a director of numerous local and national organiza-tions, including the Tiger Woods Foundation; Henry Ford Health System; and the Skillman Foundation. He is an avid golfer who regularly shoots rounds in the low-to mid-70s. Walt and Retha Douglas enjoy regular interaction with their daughter, two sons and six grandchildren.

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