Thomas W. “Tommy” Dortch, Jr.
April 12, 1950 – February 15, 2023
Atlanta businessman and mentor Thomas W. “Tommy” Dortch, Jr. died on Wednesday, February 15, 2023. He was 72. He was a long-time friend to The Atlanta Inquirer.
Dortch, Jr.’s mother, originally from LaGrange, Georgia, was a homemaker and later returned to school as an adult and became a childcare specialist. His father, from Toccoa, Georgia, was an entrepreneur, owning and operating pawn shops and restaurants throughout Georgia and North Carolina.
Dortch, Jr. was born, the youngest of six siblings, on April 12, 1950 in segregated Toccoa, Georgia to Elizabeth (Lizzie) and Thomas W. Dortch, Sr. He graduated from Whitman Street High School in 1968 and attended Fort Valley State University in Fort Valley, Georgia. He graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in sociology in 1972.
While at Fort Valley State University, he was heavily involved in politics in Fort Valley, Georgia in the state of Georgia. He brought the Alpha Phi Omega Service Fraternity to Fort Valley State University, which was the first
major chapter at a historically Black college. He was recruited to campaign as a delegate to Georgia’s Democratic National Convention under Representative Shirley Chisolm. He lost the seat to future U.S. President Jimmy Carter by fifteen votes. He earned a master’s degree in criminal justice from Atlanta University, 1986. He also attended Georgia State University as a Ford Fellow in the Urban Administration Program. Dortch, Jr. received honorary doctorate degrees from Fayetteville State University, Jarvis Christian College, Fort Valley State University, University of Maryland Eastern Shore and Livingstone College.
In 1974, he became the associate director of the Georgia Democratic Party. In 1978, he began working as an administrative aide for U.S. Senator Sam Nunn and eventually became state director and chief administrator for Senator Nunn in 1990, the first African-American to serve in this position. He worked to represent the interests of small and minority-owned businesses and disenfranchised peoples.
He was a member and chair of 100 Black Men of America. He raised nearly $100 million for the organization over 20 years. Known for bringing people together and promoting equality, equity and diversity to Atlanta’s marketplace, he was a mentor to many people, old and young. Through the 100 Black Men of America and other organizations, he worked to improve the quality of life and opportunities for education and employment for African-Americans. He worked with the Atlanta Business League (ABL) and the Atlanta Public Schools System. He was very successful in spearheading the organization of sponsoring students’ education at Atlanta’s Archer High School in 1987, funding their college careers.
Dortch, Jr. was the founder of the National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame. He was founder, chair and CEO of his consulting firm, TWD, Inc., and Atlanta Transportation Systems, Inc., a Fulton County paratransit company.
He was quite involved with several organizations. He was chair and CEO of Cornerstone Parking, chair of Lancor Parking Management, LLC, managing partner of FAD Consulting, LLC, co-founder of the Georgia Association of Minority Entrepreneurs (GAME) to fill a void as an advocacy organization for minority business development, and co-founder of the Greater Atlanta Economic Alliance as a capacity building and business development organization for the construction and transportation industries.
Dortch, Jr. had guest appearances on the Oprah Winfrey Show, Fox News Channel, The O’Reilly Factor, C-SPAN, Talk Back Atlanta, National Press Club, CNN, Good Day Atlanta, Black Issues in Higher Education National Video Conference, and MBC Town Hall Meeting.
He was the recipient of numerous awards and honors and had many affiliations including: listed in the 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004 May editions of Ebony Magazine as one of The 100 Most Influential African-Americans; listed in Spring 2001 through 2014 Publications of Atlanta Business Chronicle as one of The 100 Most Influential Atlantans; 2008 Community Service Professional of the Year Award; 2008 FraserNet Community Service Award; 2008 Global Leadership Empowerment Award; Board of Trustees of Leadership Atlanta; vice chair of the board of Grady Memorial Hospital Corporation; chair of the board of Friendship Force International; and chair of the board of Fulton/DeKalb County Hospital Authority. In 2010, he was inducted into Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau’s Atlanta Hospitality Hall of Fame; three-term chair of the board of The Atlanta Business League; member of Operation Hope board of trustees; Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) board of trustees, Talladega College Board of Trustees, Clark Atlanta University (CAU) board of trustees; and chair of the board of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation.
He earned a presidential citation for volunteerism, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Distinguished Service Award, and the Concerned Black Clergy’s Salute to Black Fathers Leadership Award.
Dortch, Jr. is survived by his four children.
In lieu of flowers, please make contributions to:
Thomas W. Dortch, Jr. Foundation
National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame Foundation, Inc.
Post Office Box 42118
Atlanta, Georgia 30311-9002
Last updated on February 25, 2023