William E. Strickland, Jr.,
Bill Strickland is the President and CEO of Manchester Bidwell Corporation and its subsidiaries, Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild (MCG) and Bidwell Training Center (BTC), both founded in 1968, and National Center for Arts and Technology. His duties include: developing and implementing major fund-raising plans of action; working with Boards of Directors and Industrial Advisory Boards; encouraging participation of corporate executive officials from major multi-national Pittsburgh corporations. Strickland has completed the development of a 40,000 sq. ft. production greenhouse, created for the development of Phalaenopsis orchids and hydroponics vegetables, and a 62,000 sq. ft. facility as a mortgage free asset for both MCG and BTC. The facilities include a 350-seat music/lecture hall, library, arts studios and labs, dining and meeting rooms, state-of-the-art award winning audio and video recording studios, serve as a demonstration site for Hewlett Packard and Steelcase equipment and are home to 25,000 Phalaenopsis orchids that are cultivated for wholesale distribution.
Strickland was born in Pittsburgh in 1947, and graduated from David B. Oliver High School in 1965. In 1969, he earned a bachelor’s degree in American history and foreign relations from the University of Pittsburgh and graduated cum laude.
Throughout his distinguished career, Strickland has been honored with numerous prestigious awards for his contributions to the arts and the community including the Eleanor Roosevelt Val-Kill Award (2015), Allegheny County Council’s Pittsburgh Circle of Courage Award in Education (2014), YMCA Hill of Hope Award (2014), University of Pittsburgh’s Johnson Institute Exemplary Leader Award (2014), George W. Crawford Black Bar Association’s Visionary Award (2013), Rodef Shalom’s Pursuer of Peace Award (2012), Chuck Cooper Foundation’s Chuck Cooper Award (2012), Lawndale Christian Development Corp., Dream Maker Award (2012); Chicago Ideas Week, 2011 Hero Award (2011,) Washington Jazz Society, Champion of the Year (2010,) University of Pittsburgh’s African American Alumni Council Distinguished Alumnus Award (2009), Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s Presidential Legacy Award for Civic Service (2009), International Association for Jazz Education’s Lawrence Berk Leadership Award (2008), American Heart Association Heart of the Community Award (2008), Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the area of Arts and Education (2007), Urban League of Pittsburgh’s Ronald Harmon Brown Award (2006), LISC’s Outstanding Leadership Award (2006), International Economic Development Council’s 2005 Citizen Leadership Award (2005), B’nai Zion Humanitarian Award (2004), Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Arts Leadership and Service Award (1999) and the Kilby Award (1998). He accepted on behalf of the Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild the “Coming Up Taller” Award presented in a White House ceremony by first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton (1998) and in 1996, he received the MacArthur “Genius” Award for leadership and ingenuity in the arts.
In January 2012, Bill Strickland was selected to serve on the Task Force for Child Protection by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett and in November 2011, Strickland traveled to Tokyo, Japan to receive the GOI Peace Award which is awarded annually by the GOI Peace Foundation to honor an individual or organization in various fields that have contributed to the advancement of world peace and humanity.
Strickland was chosen by President Obama to serve on the White House Council for Community Solutions in December 2010. He has also served as Chairman of the Expansion Arts Panel of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in Washington, D.C. and served a six-year Presidential appointment as a Council Member to the NEA. In 2002, Strickland was sworn in as a member of the Presidents Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. He also serves as a consultant, grant evaluator and mentor in the field of arts and arts education, community development and vocational training. He was also a Council Member on the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and the Pennsylvania State Board of Education, a trustee at the Carnegie, and a Consultant with the British/American Arts Association in London, England.
Strickland has excelled in cultivating collaborative partnerships in Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, San Francisco, Boston, New Haven, Buffalo, Brockway, Cleveland and Grand Rapids. He has developed successful relationships with foundations such as ALCOA Foundation, Helen Bader Foundation, The Danforth Foundation, Ford Foundation, The Forbes Fund, Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, Milwaukee Foundation, W. K. Kellogg Foundation, Social Venture Partners, Pittsburgh Foundation, E. M. Kauffman Foundation, Heinz Foundation, R.K. Mellon Foundation and Pew Charitable Trust.
Bill Strickland, his wife Rose and daughter Olivia, reside on the North Side of Pittsburgh.