WORDS WELL TAKEN—Robert O. Agbede of Chester Engineers, Inc. encourages Robert H. Benmosche of AIG to keep up his good leadership.

For almost three decades Robert O. Agbede has served as a role model, has been making an impact within the community and contributing to the African-American community.  As president and CEO of Pittsburgh based Chester Engineers, a leading water/waste water facility, design build, scientific research and management company, he continues to serve as an example and is committed to giving back to the community. “As the leader of Chester Engineers my charge is to make sure we are not only a technically competent engineering company, but helping to improve the communities in which we live and work,” he admits.



LEADERS WITH LEADERS—Chester Engineers, Inc. executives Robert O. Agbede; President and CEO and George L. Miles Jr.; Chairman Emeritus reward AIG president and CEO Robert H. Benmosche for his inspiring word.

 Two years ago he initiated the CEO Chief Executive Officers Leadership Series with the belief that it is essential for companies and organizations to find ways to uplift and educate their employees beyond their technical skills and abilities if they are going to effectively meet the challenges of the future. Tapping into the expertise and insight from leaders he considers are on the cutting edge of unleashing innovation and creativity while revitalizing their companies, Agbede says the purpose of the CEO Leadership Series is to develop future leaders worldwide.  

CEO’s that have participated in the series include Murry S. Gerber; Executive Chairman of EQT Corporation, John P. Surma; Chairman and CEO of United States Steel Corporation, Randall S. Dearth; President and Chief Executive of Lanxess Corporation, Charles Bunch; Chairman and CEO of PPG Industries, Thomas Usher; Chairman of the Board of Marathon Petroleum Corporation and Keith Wandell; President and CEO of Harley-Davidson.

While introducing Robert H. Benmosche, President and CEO of American International Group, the kickoff speaker for the African-American Leadership Institute, also an initiative of Agbede, George L. Miles Jr., former President and CEO of WQED Multimedia stated, “Leadership matters and leaders come in different forms, but every leader must have vision.” Miles, Chairman Emeritus of Chester Engineers and a board member of AIG, according to Agbede also is his mentor. “George serves as my quarterback. He makes sure I don’t get sacked.”    

Benmosche, AIG leader since 2009 is credited for the pay down of the $182 billion government aid pledged by the Bush and Obama Administrations.

“Our success is because of the people. It is how you react to a crisis that’s important, communications is key. You have to be careful of the messages you leave with people and encourage feedback.”

Addressing the topic of economic inclusion and leadership, his philosophy is that his diverse and inclusive staff has to have hope and vision. As the leader of 64,000 employees, he says he is in business to empower.  He keeps his schedule open to meet with his staff on a regular basis.

With its headquarters based in New York City, AIG is a multinational insurance corporation serving customers in more than 130 countries around the world.  Its products include property casualty insurance, life insurance and retirement services, and mortgage insurance.    

Like the CEO Leadership Series, Agbede is looking to the African-American Lead­er­ship Institute to develop African-American executives and managers. “My vision for Chester is to help develop future leaders. In business, people conduct business with who they know.

The African-American Leadership Institute will create forums to meet African-American leadership, to create dialogue and exchange ideas and to connect areas of mentorship.”  

“I needed this inspiration today,” rang out the words of Cheryl Hall-Russell, President and CEO of the Hill House Association, an attendee of the October 14 kickoff.  Agbede and Miles concur that this is one of the reasons the African-American Leadership Institute is needed, to provide inspiration.

Agbede says he is starting the organization in-house with plans to expand worldwide. “People are approaching me from all over, but I have to look at home first.”

Considered a mentor and leading businessman on a national basis, Agbede will be honored October 30 as a 100 MBE 2013 Award Winner.  Held in Baltimore, Maryland, in its seventh year the Top 100 MBE awards recognize enterprising women and minority entrepreneurs that fuel the nation’s economy through their innovation, sacrifices, and dedication.

Other Pittsburgh businesses receiving the award are Vedas Bey, President of Steele City Contracting and Peter Cooper, President of Cooper Trading, Inc.



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