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Fri, 01.02.1942

Joseph Searles III, Businessman born

Joseph Searles III

*Joseph Searles was born on this date in 1942.  He was a Black professional football player and is a lawyer, businessman, and community administrator.

Joseph L. Searles, III, was raised in Ft. Hood, Texas.  Young Searles was large enough to play with his father’s colleagues on the battalion team at a young age. He attended Killeen High School during its first year of integration and became its first Black player. Searles came to what was then Pratt Junior College from Ft. Hood, Texas, in fall 1959 on a football scholarship. He became the All-American and All-Conference football player at the halfback position in 1960 under Coach Floyd Huggins.  

Searles became a star player at Kansas State University. Searles graduated from Kansas State University with a bachelor’s degree in political science. He then graduated from George Washington University Law School then headed to the pros to play for the New York Giants in the late 1960s.  

His accomplishments after football include becoming the first African American floor member and floor broker on the New York Stock Exchange in 1970.  Searles is a former investment and commercial banker recognized for his experience in financial/asset development and urban revitalization. He is one of the early urban development specialists credited with dynamically using mainstream strategies to transform the size and quality of minority business ventures. His distinguished career includes serving two gubernatorial appointments as Chairman and Director of the State of New York Mortgage Agency, where he was responsible for municipal housing issues totaling more than 600 million dollars.

He attained national and international prominence as the first Black member and floor-broker on the New York Stock Exchange. His sponsoring partnership was due to Newburger, Loeb & Company, responsible for making Joseph Searles, III Wall Street's first Black partner. He was also a vice-president of the Public Finance Department at Manufacturers Hanover Trust Company, now J. P. Morgan Chase. In addition, Searles has worked with the Federal Government and numerous state and municipal agencies in housing, economic development, and urban affairs. As Deputy Commissioner of the New York City Economic Development Administration, Searles took a leadership role in establishing minority enterprises and small businesses throughout the City by hosting America's first minority franchising fair in 1969.

He served as Chief Real Estate Officer/Consultant at Harlem Commonwealth Council (HCC), engaged in retail and commercial development in Harlem. He also held senior management positions at Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation and the Center for Advocacy Research and Planning (CARP), both non-profit agencies.  Searles was the first Chairman of Harlem's 125th Street Business Improvement District (BID). Considered a leading expert on Urban retailing, he was also a member of the development team for "Harlem USA" and was a partner in the $141,000,000.00 retail/entertainment project in Washington, D.C. called "D.C. USA," the city's largest. He is known as a person with strong hands-on experience and a visionary who gives facts and substance to his leadership in community economic development.  

He formerly served as President of the New York/New Jersey Chapter of the National Football League Players Association (Retired Players). He also was an elected member of its National Steering Committee for this union of retired professional football players for two terms.  Kansas State University selected him to serve as Chairman of its Diversity Advisory Council. He was an early Board member of the President's Entrepreneurial Round Table, comprised of distinguished Kansas State Alumni and businesspersons. He continues as a distinguished lecturer at the university and as a member of the College of Business Advisory Board.   

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