The 2013 Black Business Association’s (BBA) President’s Award will be presented to Walter Rhodes, vice president of Supply Management for Southern California Edison, for exceptional commitment to increasing procurement opportunities, contract awards to qualified African American firms and his tireless support of the BBA advocacy mission and programs, according to the association.

Rhodes was specially selected by the BBA’s president, Earl “Skip” Cooper II, who himself will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award.

The award, in recognition of Black History Month, will be presented at the BBA’s 39th Annual Awards Dinner on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013, at the Omni Hotel at 251 South Olive St. in downtown Los Angeles. The event begins with a 6 p.m. reception, followed by dinner at 7 p.m. The BBA is one of the oldest active ethnic business organizations on the West Coast.

Other honorees are:
* Chairman’s Award–Kenneth McNeely, president-California, AT&T
* Special Recognition Award–Valerie Lynne Shaw, commissioner, Board of Public Works
* Community Service Award–Tomorrow’s Aeronautical Museum, Robin Petgrave, executive director
* Lifetime Achievement Award–Earl Cooper, president & CEO, Black Business Association

“The purpose of the dinner is to honor corporations, government agencies, businesses and individuals that have been most supportive of the growth and development of the Black Business Association and the African American business community as a whole,” says the association. “With the second inauguration of our first African American president and the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, 2013 is a year to remember and an appropriate reason for this year’s African American Heritage Month theme, ‘At the Crossroads of Freedom and Equality: The Emancipation Proclamation and the March on Washington,’ which calls upon us to honor the African Americans who overcame injustice and inequality to achieve financial independence and the security of self-empowerment that comes with it.”

Tickets are available for purchase online at