Dr. Kenneth Scott
The Man and His Mission
Dr. Kenneth Scott Lincoln University leads a social enterprise that is working to redevelop North Central Philadelphia.
He serves as president/CEO of The Beech Companies, which is regarded as a leader in community economic development.
Scott developed his strong work ethic early on in life. He grew up in a family where hard work was emphasized. He worked with his father and grandfather who both juggled full-time jobs with running their respective small businesses. During his boyhood years, Scott learned how to repair televisions and took an interest in how things work, which later led him to a career in nuclear engineering and science.
He was encouraged to become a volunteer at Beech by the former president, Floyd Alston. When Alston retired, Scott took over as president. Scott has gone from solving science related problems to addressing social issues such as employment and affordable housing.
During an interview on a variety of issues, Scott expressed his views on myriad of topics including educational attainment and shifts in employment.
He stressed the value of obtaining a solid education, when he was asked what his advice was for African Americans in Philadelphia.
“For someone in Philadelphia today, education is paramount,” he stated. “That is the key to shifting and keeping you flexible so that you can go into a variety of fields. A good education allows you to be much more flexible in your employment. You have to be these days, because you just don’t know what the future is going to hold with disruption at every level.”
Scott continued, “Education is important and really we, as parents, have to take it seriously.” He would like to see more people involved in the fields of science and engineering. “You can go to a graduation. There may be several thousand people graduating and there may be 100 or 200 people that are graduating in engineering and science fields,” he stated.
“We really have to push that more; the rest of the world is. That’s going on. We must get involved in the technology types of education; there is no avoiding it.”
Scott addressed the importance of bridging the gap between the African, African American and Caribbean people and finding common ground.
“Everybody is looking for opportunities,” he stated. “You want to live a comfortable life. You want your family to be comfortable. It starts at what are the common grounds that everybody wants. But where it gets confusing is the way society is shaped – everything is so competitive.”
“We feel we have to fight over limited slots,” Scott explained. “If there are only five pieces of bread and there are 10 of us, then we have to just grow the pot and say, ‘Opportunities are available for everyone.’ We could have more opportunities if we worked together.”
“Just look at the best practices around the world and what can we use here to come together. Here in Philadelphia we have the struggle of African Americans in poverty. Why aren’t we all working together for this common cause?”