"In operating a successful business we must grow at a rate that will enable us to get off the thin ice..."

When Henry Parks decided on a career in business, he was constantly looking out for ways to grow both finances and skills. After founding Parks Sausage Company in 1951, he tirelessly pursued his goal to grow the company. Parks increased the product line for target audiences and expanded the number of processing locations on the eastern seaboard in order to provide the best products and service to his customers. He paid an agency to advertise, and thus was born the marketing campaign many remember: “More Parks’ sausages, Mom!” The company reached $14 million in sales in 1976. Parks sold the Parks Sausage Company in 1977, but sat on the board of H.G. Parks, Inc., and other company boards, for ten more years. He died of Parkinson disease in 1989.

If you are thinking simply another successful businessman’s biography, you would miss a key point. In 1969, the Parks Sausages Company became the first African-American owned company to trade on Wall Street. Parks was not just before his time, but he was a man who led his time. He was recognized for his achievements, willingness to share his expertise, and charity.

The author has arranged the book according to its title, Businessman First, with other categories such as service to business and community, awards received, and family life in remaining chapters. The reader will therefore appreciate the chronology of Parks’ life given at the end of the Introduction.

Even though a 30-year-age difference existed, Maurice Dorsey and Henry Parks were friends for many years. Parks chose Maurice to write his biography, likely because the elder trusted his protégé to present the life story just as he wished. Nevertheless, this helps bring attention to the remarkable life of this great businessman.

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