PPL board member and president of 3RAM Group, LLC, Rod Adkins recently shared his inspirational message with employees, urging them to forge a better future for the next generation.
Adkins served as the special guest speaker at a luncheon held by PPL’s employee-led African American Business Resource group on Jan. 26. The event was held in recognition of Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Black History Month.
“February is Black History Month. It is a time for all of us to pause and reflect because we all make some type of contribution to make this nation great and our world a better place,” said Adkins, who, along with PPL board member Keith Williamson, was honored in 2016 as one of Savoy Magazine’s Most Influential Black Corporate Directors. “It’s a time to reflect on our past, celebrate the present and anticipate with excitement the opportunities to shape the future.”
In recognition of Black History Month, Adkins read a poem titled “The Bridge Builder” by Will Allen Dromgoole. The last stanza reads, “‘Good friend, in the path I have come,” he said \ “There followed after me to-day \ A youth whose feet must pass this way. \ This chasm that has been as naught to me \ To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be; \ He, too, must cross in the twilight dim; \ Good friend, I am building this bridge for him!”’
The poem depicts the importance of building bridges to help light the torch for those following your lead. A bridge builder can also be one who attempts to connect or reconcile opposing parties.
Adkins has been inspired by bridge builders such as Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, Nelson Mandela, former President Barack Obama, former first lady Michelle Obama and even Chance the Rapper.
Bridging the past to the future is the theme behind a new statue, funded by Adkins and his wife, on the Georgia Tech campus called “The Conversation.” The statue, to be dedicated in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. in April, depicts a seated Rosa Parks at age 42 talking to an older Rosa Parks at 92.
Adkins said the piece is meant to “give us an opportunity to reflect” and provoke thoughts and conversation about what the young Rosa Parks would say to the older Rosa Parks.
As the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, history, and culture, Adkins considers the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C. a bridge builder. As a founding donor, Adkins is proud that the museum is helping to educate visitors.
“Twenty-five percent of people who attended the museum never visited a museum before and another 25 percent were not African American,” said Adkins.
During the month of February, the museum will celebrate Black History Month by exploring American history through the African American lens. The story, titled The Peoples Journey – A Nations Story, can be viewed on the museum’s website.
Adkins concluded his remarks with a quote from Greek philosopher Heraclitus: “Day by day, what you choose, what you think and what you do is who you become.”
Adkins, a member of PPL’s Board of Directors since 2014, is president of 3RAM Group, LLC, an investment, consulting and property management firm. Previously, he had served as senior vice president of Corporate Strategy at IBM. Read more about Adkins.
Source: Poetry Foundation, https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/52702/the-bridge-builder