2023 Diversity in Business Lifetime Achievement Award: Dick Batchelor

2023 Diversity in Business Lifetime Achievement Award: Dick Batchelor

Central Florida's business community is familiar with the company.

Management Group Inc., a business development and government consultancy firm based in Orlando, has had success with clients such as Deloitte and the former SunTrust Bank, now Truist Bank, and Walt Disney World.

He spent two years with the U.S. Marine Corps before that, which included a stint during the Vietnam War. At the time, he told Orlando Business Journal, this experience changed him because he was no longer in a "very-white world", but instead worked alongside men of different races, religions, and ethnicities.

Batchelor is always mindful of his mission to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion. He began this mission in the mid-1970s, when he was 26 years old and one of the youngest members of the Florida Legislature. It is still a priority for him.

He said that during his first years as a representative of the state, he became aware of a number policies which were discriminatory. In one case, local government entities held public meetings in clubs that had membership policies which prohibited Black, Jewish, or women members. These people were also unable to attend meetings. Batchelor then proposed legislation that would prohibit public meetings in such places with discriminatory policies.

Over the years, his goal of equity and equality has expanded to include community involvement. He is a member of several boards, including the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando and the First Amendment Foundation. He also chairs the Central Florida Urban League. He says that he has had the privilege of serving as a mentor for many young people.

Batchelor's focus is also on children and education. He has served in the past as co-chairman of Children's Trust of Orange County, co-chairman of Orange County Domestic Violence & Child Abuse Commission and board member of Florida's Children First & the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida.

He was instrumental in the successful implementation of two Orange County half-cent tax initiatives for school construction in 2002 and 2014. The latter is expected to raise over $2 billion dollars.

Batchelor added that he is not finished yet. He is often involved with groups that support DEI. He is never afraid to speak out publicly about the importance of not losing sight of what needs to be done. This, he says, also benefits his business.

It keeps us focused on our goals.

Batchelor received the Lifetime Achievement Award in OBJ's Diversity in Business Awards 2023 for his achievements.

His accolades over the years include:

He received the Chiles Advocacy award from United Way of Florida in 2010.

According to the nomination form for his Diversity in Business Awards, "[Batchelor] is] one of Florida's most respected and influential consulting firms in business development." "Batchelor brings to the table more than 40 years' experience in politics, and has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential people in Orlando." His unwavering commitment and intimate knowledge of the local political scene make him a highly sought-after strategy.

Here, Batchelor shares more:

What made you so well-known as a champion of diversity, equity, and inclusion?

It's my long-term involvement with DEI issues. As a Florida legislator, I worked and sponsored bills to give more rights and access to minorities. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to become a member of both the Central Florida Urban League and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

What has been your most successful DEI project?

Working with my colleagues, I was able to form a partnership with local companies who supported DEI initiatives as chair of the Central Florida Urban League.

In the private sector I have always been a proponent of inclusive policies.

What is the biggest obstacle to DEI in Florida?

Unfortunately, legislation is being introduced to disallow DEI programmes in state universities. I am afraid that legislation will be passed that dictates the DEI policy of private corporations.

What does diversity in business now mean to you, given the recent events?

I am very concerned about the future of DEI within the business community. It's a question that arises in light of Florida Legislature targeting DEI programs at the state university system and dismantling them. Will they not target corporate-sponsored DEI programmes during the next session? I am confident that the DEI program will be able to survive if this happens.

President/CEO of Management Group Inc.

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