HBCU History · HBCU News

Retired Energy Executive and Longtime Mechanical Engineer Cordell Reed Passes Away

CHICAGO, IL – Cordell Reed, an executive with ComEd and a longtime mechanical engineer, died on December 4, 2017, at the age of 79 after a long illness, said his wife of 27-years Bernice Reed according to Chicago State University.

Born on March 26, 1938, in Chicago, Illinois Reed grew up in a south side housing project and moved on to a remarkable career in Chicago’s corporate and civic communities.

He earned a Bachelor’s of science in mechanical engineering from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in 1960; Reed became the third African-American with that degree from UIUC. He went to work for Illinois electric Commonwealth Edison (ComEd). He worked his way up through the ranks and became an executive in 1975, acting as the public spokesman for nuclear power as well as a department manager. Reed was promoted to senior vice president, serving in three separate departments. In 1994, he became ComEd’s ethics officer and the chief diversity officer in addition to maintaining responsibility for purchasing materials for the corporation’s ten fossil-fired energy-generating plants. Reed represented ComEd in a 1995 trade mission to South Africa before retiring in 1997.

A big supporter of higher education the Student Union Building at Chicago State University was renamed after Reed in 2001.

The Student Union Building at Chicago State University was renamed after the late Cordell Reed in 2001.

In 1988 the Black Engineer of the Year Awards honored Reed with a Lifetime Achievement Award, and later on, in 1993 the American Nuclear Society recognized him with a Tommy Thompson Award.

He has also been active in corporate America, serving on the board of directors for LaSalle Bank, the Walgreen Company, Underwriters Laboratories and Washington Group International. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, engineering honor society Tau Beta Pi, the National Technical Association and the Urban Financial Service Association as well as a fellow of the American Nuclear Society.

Reed leaves behind his wife Bernice and five adult children: Derrick, Brian, Steven, Michael, and Barry.

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