Rodney C. Adkins
Executive Director - Advisory Board
Rodney C. Adkins (Rod) is Chairman of Avnet, Inc., position he has held since 2018. Avnet is a Fortune 500 company and one of the world’s largest distributors of electronic components and embedded solutions. In addition, he is Partner of 3RAM Group LLC, a privately held company specializing in capital investments, business consulting services and property management. Formerly, Mr. Adkins was Senior Vice President of IBM, having served in that position from 2007 until 2014. He is the company’s first African American Senior Vice President and corporate officer. In his more than 33-year career with IBM, Mr. Adkins held a number of operational and executive management roles spanning across strategy, technology, systems and supply chain. Mr. Adkins' work has spanned the world of technology and computing. He has been a leading innovator in solutions ranging from mobile devices to the world's largest supercomputers. His major contributions include helping to develop the Personal Computer industry, launching the IBM ThinkPad mobile PC, leading IBM's POWER business to become the dominant player in the UNIX market, and helping to pioneer what became IBM's portfolio of Smarter Planet solutions.Mr. Adkins was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) in 2005, which is one of the highest national recognitions for the engineering profession. His life story is archived in The History Makers and he is a lifetime member of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). In 2001, NSBE recognized Mr. Adkins with the Golden Torch Award for Lifetime Achievement in Industry. In 2002, Fortune magazine named Mr. Adkins one of the 50 Most Powerful Black Executives in America. Black Enterprise magazine chose Mr. Adkins as its 2011 Corporate Executive of the Year and 2016 Trailblazer of the Year. In 2017, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. recognized Mr. Adkins as the 73rd recipient of the Laurel Wreath and he was inducted into the Miami Jackson High School Hall of Fame in 2018. He has been awarded honorary doctoral degrees from Georgia Tech and University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC). Mr. Adkins serves on the board of directors for United Parcel Service (UPS), PayPal, Grainger, and Avnet. He is a member of the Executive Leadership Council (ELC), a trustee of the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) and Rollins College. Mr. Adkins also serves on the UMBC Board of Visitors and the Adrienne Arsht Center Trust Board. He previously served on the boards of PPL Corporation, Pitney Bowes, PeopleClick Inc., the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME), the Kappa Alpha Psi Foundation, the Harlem School of the Arts and the Smithsonian National Board. Mr. Adkins holds Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in electrical engineering from Georgia Tech, as well as a Bachelor of Arts degree with an emphasis in physics from Rollins College. Mr. Adkins is a native of Miami, Florida and is married to Michelle Collier Adkins who is also a native. He graduated from Miami Jackson High School as valedictorian in 1976 and Ms. Adkins graduated from Miami Jackson High School as salutatorian in 1979. They met at Georgia Tech and Ms. Adkins holds a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Management and is a retired Certified Public Accountant (CPA). They have two sons, Rodney II and Ryan. Through the years, they continue to increase their involvement in the area of philanthropy, with the establishment of endowed merit-based and need-based scholarships at Georgia Tech, Rollins College, UMBC and the Kappa Alpha Psi Foundation. They are also Founding Donors of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), donors of the Rosa Parks sculpture titled “Continuing the Conversation” which is prominently located at Georgia Tech, and lead sponsors of the Free Gospel Sundays series at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in their hometown of Miami.