Joshua I. Smith

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Joshua I. Smith (born Joshua Isaac Smith April 8, 1941) is an African-American businessman and former chairperson of the Commission on Minority Business Development.[1]


Joshua Isaac Smith was born on April 8, 1941 in Garrard County, Kentucky.[2] Growing up in Loveland, Ohio, he graduated from Loveland High School in 1959.[3] He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio[4] in 1963.[2][5][6] He worked as a high school biology teacher in Washington D.C. for a short time,[6][7] and taught biology and chemistry at the University of Akron, where he also studied law.[2] In 1969, he became a manager at the New York division of Plenum Publishing Corporation.[2] He served as an executive director of American Society for Information Science[2][6] from 1973 to 1977.[8] Smith attended management courses at the University of Delaware and Central Michigan University.[2] He founded the computer firm Maxima Corp in 1978, following the breakup of his first marriage. By 1993 the company had revenues over US$41 million and had been ranked by Black Enterprise magazine at number 33 in its list of minority businesses.[9] In 1996 the company had expanded to operate in 14 US states, employing 800 members of staff. Smith serves as a trustee on a number of boards, and has been a strong advocate for black entrepreneurship.[10] According to Jet magazine, Smith became the "leading spokesman for Black businessmen under the Reagan and Bush [George H] administrations".[11] In 1989, he was appointed by President George H. W. Bush to be the chair of the Commission on Minority Business Development.[12] Smith's recommendations for improving the lot of small businesses from minority groups were largely ignored by the President.[13] The company filed for bankruptcy protection in 1998, largely the result of expensive litigation between the company and Smith's son. Smith Sr. had sacked his son as vice president in 1993.[14][7]

In 2003 Smith was appointed chairperson of the State of Maryland's Task Force on Minority Business Reform, advancing to serve as an advisor to the Maryland Governor's Commission on Minority Business Reform. As of 2009 Smith serves as chairman and managing partner of the Coaching Group, a position he has held since 1998.[6][15] Other directorships include CardioComm Solutions Inc., Caterpillar Inc., Federal Express Corporation and The Allstate Corporation. Smith has been a director of Caterpillar since 1993.[16][17] In 2008, Smith launched a weekly radio show Biz Talk with Josh Smith, which ran on CBS Radio in Washington D.C.[6]

Smith was named distinguished alumnus by Loveland Schools Foundation in 2012.[3] In March 2014, Smith donated US$1 million to his alma mater Central State University. In October 2014, the university renamed one of its buildings to Joshua I. Smith Center for Education and Natural Sciences to honor Smith.[3][6] In November 2014, Smith received the Thurgood Marshall College Fund HBCU Alumnus of the Year award at the 26th TMCF Awards Gala.[6][18]

Smith has been married to his wife Reverend Jacqueline Jones-Smith since 1979, and lives in Washington D.C.[6]


  1. ^ Contemporary Black Biography: Profiles from the International Black Community By L. Mpho Mabunda, Gale Research Inc Edition: illustrated Published by Gale Research International, Limited, 1996 Original from the University of Michigan Digitized 18 Sep 2008 ISBN 0-8103-9318-2, ISBN 978-0-8103-9318-9 p. 223
  2. ^ a b c d e f Kranz, Rachel (2004-01-01). Smith, Joshua I. African-American Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs (Infobase Publishing). p. 255. ISBN 9781438107790. 
  3. ^ a b c Gibson, Chuck (2014-10-23). "Loveland alumnus honored at Central State dedication". The Cincinnati Enquirer (Enquirer Media). Retrieved 2015-06-14. 
  4. ^ Schultz, Judith L. (1990-03-21). "Minorities can be good business executive, pushes economic role for all" (fee required). Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio: Cox Ohio Publishing). p. B6. Retrieved 28 August 2010. Smith, a Central State University graduate and Loveland, Ohio, native, said blacks, Hispanics, female heads of households and other minorities cost the country $200 billion annually in lost earning power, while the government foots a $100 billion annual bill for entitlement expenses. 
  5. ^ "Central State University Honors Businessman Joshua I. Smith". PR Newswire (Press release). Wilberforce, Ohio: UBM plc. 2014-10-21. Archived from the original on 2014-12-02. Retrieved 2015-06-14. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h "Central State University grad named National HBCU Alumnus of the Year" (Press release). Central State University. 2014. Archived from the original on 2015-06-14. Retrieved 2015-06-14. 
  7. ^ a b Cohn, Gary (1994-02-27). "Maxima Corp. struggles to regain the success that made it one of the nation's biggest black-owned firms WHEN A FATHER & SON SPLIT". The Baltimore Sun (Tribune Publishing). Archived from the original on 2015-06-15. Retrieved 2015-06-14. 
  8. ^ Kent, Allen (1985). Supplement 3: Adams: Scott to Winckelmann: Johann Joachim. Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science 3 (CRC Press). p. 30. ISBN 9780824720384. 
  9. ^ The African American's Guide to Working from Home and Neighborhood By Sam King Published by Buy Books on the web, 2006 ISBN 0-7414-2646-3, ISBN 978-0-7414-2646-8 p. 193
  10. ^ Talking dollars and making sense: a wealth-building guide for African-Americans By Brooke M. Stephens Edition: illustrated Published by McGraw-Hill Professional, 1996 ISBN 0-07-061389-3, ISBN 978-0-07-061389-8 p. 58
  11. ^ Jet 24 Jan 1994 p. 18 Vol. 85, No. 12 ISSN 0021-5996
  12. ^ Scott, Matthew S. (June 1991). "Will Commission Report on Minority Business Make a Difference?". Black Enterprise (Earl G. Graves, Ltd.) 21 (11): 102. ISSN 0006-4165. Retrieved 28 August 2010. In 1989, the Bush administration created the U.S. Commission on Minority Business Development (CMBD) to address those concerns. The CMBD, chaired by Joshua I. Smith, CEO of the Maxima Corp. (No. 14 on the BE INDUSTRIAL/SERVICE 100), has a $500,000 budget, which has been used to assess whether federal programs are assuring the full participation of minority-owned firms. 
  13. ^ Three Black Generations at the Crossroads: Community, Culture, and Consciousness By Lois Benjamin Edition: 2 Published by Rowman & Littlefield, 2007 ISBN 0-7425-6001-5, ISBN 978-0-7425-6001-7 pp. 131–32
  14. ^ Jet (Johnson Publishing Company) 94 (9): 18. 1998-07-27. ISSN 0021-5996.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  15. ^ "CSU grad gives $1 million to university". WHIO-TV (Wilberforce, Ohio: Cox Media Group). 2014-03-11. Archived from the original on 2015-06-14. Retrieved 2015-06-14. 
  16. ^ "Forbes profile". Retrieved 7 April 2009. Archived 7 April 2009.
  17. ^ "Datawind profile". Retrieved 7 April 2009. Archived 7 April 2009.
  18. ^ French, Larry (2014-11-12). "Thurgood Marshall College Fund 26th Awards Gala - Inside". Yahoo! News (Yahoo). Archived from the original on 2015-06-14. Retrieved 2015-06-14. 

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