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Black Capitalists 4: David Steward's Meteoric Rise Despite his Altruism

Updated on September 10, 2017

Key in Business

What is it about businesspeople, and Black entrepreneurs especially, that the concern for others supersedes their achievements in enterprise? Why do these individuals regard their philanthropic endeavors higher than their business interests? In the case of David Steward, his accomplishments in the realm of business solutions is overshadowed by his tendency to give. His company, co-founded with Jim Kavanaugh, World Wide Technology (WWT) boasts employment numbers in the thousands. While it is proper to offer one’s salary (if it is not a sacrifice), the focus ought to be on the fact that this individual can create and innovate. All the time spent on “civic and community involvement” distracts from the real reason he earned his funds. His selfish, greedy pursuit of a dollar afforded him the capability to be chairman of a multi-billion dollar firm. He has amassed such a fortune as to render his services to organizations that might touch the lives of a few thousand. WTT involves trading with millions. So, why do people feel compelled to attribute Mr. Steward and others’ successes to the outcome of their wealth rather than the activity which allowed them to sit on boards in the first place?

A sufferer but not a succumber of being poor and discriminated against because his chemical makeup was different than the Caucasian race, Mr. Steward rose above both drawbacks. Though some may say that such struggles fortified his will and emboldened his resolve, the true mark of a hero is not the fact that he experienced tough times but the fact that he chose to transcend them. Eventually, Mr. Steward would earn a degree in business from Central Missouri State University. Here is a prime example of not letting your burdens be your downfall. Where Mr. Steward could have hung his head low and shuffled along and never amounted to anything, he instead decided to lay a sturdy base by receiving an education. Dropouts, burnouts, and the unskilled might seek their way through life and possibly achieve great things. But Mr. Steward saw college as a vehicle to develop his fledgling know-how as a businessman. And that extended into his professional career. By moving up the ranks in companies like Missouri Pacific Railroad Company (1975-1979), and Federal Express (1979-1984) Mr. Steward demonstrated the leadership acumen, keen insight, and adept determination which are all key in business. In the time before WWT, he actually owned Transportation Business Specialists and Transport Administrative Services. These undertakings allowed for Mr. Steward to get a grasp on the realities and day-to-day challenges of being at the helm.

From Humility to Confidence

At the beginning of the last decade of the 20th-century, Mr. Steward and Mr. Kavanaugh and others founded WWT. With the advent of this new firm, came the responsibility for ensuring that customers receive the best in quality technologically based items. Mr. Steward applied himself as a result of the past entries into college and the work world. He has sustained his position as a entrepreneur concerned with raking in the cash. Professionalism has lead Mr. Steward to command his company into the future. For knowing what he wants, he allows his clients to do business with him. In direct contrast of the slovenly, dim-witted, creeping Negro, Mr. Steward defies expectations and builds upon the idea of doing for self. This assertive attitude has let him invent new methods of engaging with his employees and clients alike. Only the second handers and altruists would say that Mr. Steward is selfless. In fact, his selfishness has rocketed him from humility to confidence, both physically and in spirit. His bank account has grown but that is the direct result of the efficacy of his mind. WWT represents an expression of thought. From its inception up to now, WWT has stood for excellence, integrity, and commitment to values. For the efforts of Mr. Steward and other executives, Fortune Magazine has bestowed upon the company a position on the 100 Best Places to Work for four years in a row. This has self-interest written all over it. As a byproduct of making a safe, engaging working environment, Mr. Steward has championed the notion of benefitting his employees. The true spirit of individualism shines through with the choices that he makes. Egoism is at the root of his sage approach to the technology sphere. Is this what a poor Black child from Missouri can expect? It is if smart work, diligence, and the rapacious desire for the earned remain the hallmarks in a youth’s life. What can only hinder him is himself.

Lofty Ambitions

Mr. Steward has made it to the top floor.
Mr. Steward has made it to the top floor. | Source

A Significant Fortune

Now, Mr. Steward may have accrued a significant fortune. But is that what the academics teach at universities? No. They would rather spend time and energy expounding on the glorious nature of philanthropy. It is as if to be a humanitarian, one must first have to renounce being human, being an individual. Businessmen like Mr. Steward must retain certain characteristics in order survive and thrive in demanding and sometimes vicious climate. What makes him and others good is that not only do they possess such qualities, but they act on them. Rather than sitting back and passing the buck and not being honest with employees and clients, real businessmen step up to solve problems and engender better relationships. What the community involvement argument would say is that it is only right that businessmen and women “give back” to their community. Disgusting as this may be, this is the prevailing sensibility of the culture at present. Knowledge of the fact that very few businesspeople take anything from any community fails to register in people who proclaim this. If anything, those who ask business folk to give their money or time, ought to be supporting the system of laissez-faire capitalism. Mr. Steward never grabbed anything that was unearned. What is there for him to give back to anyone? The altruist claim that others are the top priority in a person’s life is the second most evil concept after the hatred of the good. And actually it is just that. Hatred is reserved for the strong, the able, the thoughtful, the men and women of action. That hate finds its way into the consciousness of these individuals. There is a sense of guilt that resides within them that they have to recognize. So, they go on boards and become community leaders all to sate their deep-seated emotions. But this doesn’t have to be. As a society, individuals can change the status quo for the better. By acknowledging the self-interest of business leaders and the fact that their efforts in the realm of entrepreneurship represent both their wallet and their soul.

Giving Back or Going Forward

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The Gateway to Opportunity

Home base for World Wide Technology (WWT).
Home base for World Wide Technology (WWT). | Source

The Production of Wealth

Mr. Steward serves on boards of organizations including United Way of Greater St. Louis and Boy Scouts of America. There is nothing wrong with supporting charities and other groups. The issue is whether or not the reason why someone is able to give their time or money should be lauded more. Without the production of wealth, it is impossible for any organization to receive a red cent. For his drive and undeniable talent, Mr. Steward deserves a place in the Hall of Black capitalists. Not amount of giving can negate this statement.

Giving Black

A Stack of Franklins Representing WWT's Revenues

Black skin, green dollars.
Black skin, green dollars. | Source


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