by Wendy Dixon
Lloyd Reshard began learning about putting together resources and people during high school. A guidance counselor advised him to take up a trade to pay his way through college. Reshard, however, had higher ambitions that he shared with a teacher, who helped connect him with financial aid.
Reshard was awarded an IBM scholarship at Florida A&M University and ultimately earned an electrical engineering degree from the University of Florida in 1980. “It turns out there was so much money available I couldn’t take it all,” Reshard says. “My counselors weren’t aware of these resources.”
His experience convinced Reshard, who became an engineer for the Air Force Research Laboratory Munitions Directorate at Eglin Air Force Base, to help other African-Americans find resources that could help launch their careers. He established the Historically Black Colleges & University Minority Institutions Technology Program, through which he recruited 12 career employees for the Munitions Directorate and enabled the hiring of dozens of minority interns.
Since retiring in 2011, the 56-year-old has started Tip or Tap Marketing, where he designed an iPhone networking app (1st Friday Mobile). He also started Pensacola Network, an organization that facilitates connections between businesses and African-American job seekers. “African-Americans don’t realize the power they have,” he says. About 23% of Escambia County’s population is African-American.
Pensacola Network holds monthly meetings and is open to all businesses that want to connect with minority professionals. No membership is required, and there are no fees. The group has attracted support from Gulf Power. About 100 people showed up in August at the group’s first meeting.
“There’s nothing unique about what I’m doing,” Reshard says. “There are many resources around us. The key to economic prosperity is finding them.”