by Diane I. Daniels, For New Pittsburgh Courier
In a desperate time of need, Pittsburgh is once again joining forces to assist people throughout the region.
The result? “All One Pittsburgh,” a community-wide fund to obtain and distribute essential household products to underserved neighborhoods during the current coronavirus pandemic.
Koppers Holdings Inc., partnering with the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh (ULGP), has devised the project to help residents in some of the region’s most vulnerable communities gain access to essential, but hard to find, products such as disinfectants, hand sanitizers, paper towels, and toilet paper to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
According to Koppers President and Chief Executive Officer, Leroy Ball, “All One Pittsburgh” will focus on neighborhoods with an acute shortage of supplies, including Duquesne, the Hill District, Homewood, and the North Side. In addition to local CEOs and their employees coming together to support these communities, he said the fund is also seeking financial contributions from individuals who want to help.
“Working in support of the ULGP, our employees and others across the region can and will make a difference for our neighbors in need during this crisis. We are ‘All One Pittsburgh’—with a long history of rising up together with compassion and generosity to meet any challenge that comes our way. I know this time will be no different and we all will get through this together,” said Ball, who is also an ULGP board member.
Esther L. Bush, the longtime Urban League president and CEO, said this is a truly unprecedented moment in history. “We are heartened and encouraged by Leroy and Koppers’ compassionate leadership. Looking out for our most economically challenged fellow citizens not only helps our entire community remain healthier during this crisis, it’s also another step toward the united, thriving Pittsburgh of the near future that we are all striving to bring into reality.”
Concerns have been expressed nationally and on a local level that COVID-19 has affected African American communities in disproportionate levels. “I am eternally grateful. When I got the phone call that we are one of the cities included in the ‘All One Pittsburgh’ fund I actually cried,” said Duquesne Mayor Nickole Nesby during a recent WPXI-TV interview. Duquesne is labeled as one of the most impoverished communities in Allegheny County. The mayor said many families in the area were already struggling before the coronavirus outbreak.
In addition to overseeing the “All One Pittsburgh” fund, Lance Hyde, Koppers’ newly appointed Director of Global Inclusion and Diversity, is focused on leading the company’s inclusion and diversity efforts. The position is aimed at supporting Koppers’ strategy to be an employer of choice. He will also chair the company’s inclusion and diversity committee, which is designed to help ensure that all employees feel heard and valued to harness the full power of an engaged workforce. In the position since early March, Hyde brings a wealth of professional and leadership knowledge and over 14 years of supplier diversity expertise.
“Lance’s experience will serve us well as we look to capitalize on the strategic advantage of furthering a culture that values everyone,” Ball said.
Hyde said he is gratified that one of his first assignments for the company is working with other local CEOs and employees to organize the community-wide fund and to obtain and distribute essential household products.
Hyde described his responsibilities as heading the inclusion and diversity program, working with the Employee Resource Group and developing the diversity recruitment and retaining strategy. “I am also designing the company’s supplier diversity program,” he said.
When questioned on how different his role is compared to his past experiences, he said that he is more involved with inclusion and diversity relating to workforce. “I’m also designing a development plan to assist employees elevate within the company,” he said.
Koppers, headquartered in Pittsburgh, is classified as an integrated global producer of carbon compounds, chemicals, and treated wood products for the aluminum, railroad, specialty chemical, utility, rubber, steel, residential lumber and agriculture industries. The corporation serves its customers through a comprehensive global manufacturing and distribution network, with facilities located in North America, South America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Asia.
Also offering worldwide experience, Hyde, prior to joining Koppers, has served as a consultant to both global corporations and sundry firms to aid in their diverse business development strategies and as a community advocate and proponent for socioeconomic business development. In 2019, Hyde received the Supplier Diversity Professional of the Year Award from the National Minority Supplier Development Council and has been recognized for his accomplishments by numerous other advocacy councils, community leaders and elected officials throughout his career.
(ABOUT THE TOP PHOTO: UP FOR THE CHALLENGE—(Left) Expanding into the diversity and inclusion space, Lance Hyde becomes Koppers’ Director of Global Inclusion and Diversity. and Leroy Ball, Koppers President and Chief Executive Officer and Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh board member, has the foresight to establish a regional COVID-19 campaign and to hire supplier diversity guru Lance Hyde.)