I am a native of Georgia who grew up in Southwest Atlanta and I am the youngest of four brothers. In my household we were taught the importance of giving honor to God and we embraced strong family values. At an early age we also learned from our parents the importance of hard work. Our father was a longtime employee of the United States Postal Service and built a lucrative business as the neighborhood repairman fixing appliances, radios and televisions. My mother was a teacher and during the evenings and weekends permed and pressed hair for family, friends and neighbors. Still another strong influence in my life was my Godfather for whom I am named after, the late Maceo Newberry. He was instrumental in guiding my footsteps in a positive direction. As an entrepreneur, Mr. Newberry owned a corner grocery store on Ashby Street.
Growing up the youngest of four energetic boys, I knew early in life that I wanted to be my own boss and my father encouraged me to take up a trade. Watching my father and mother diligently work extra hours provided my brothers and me first-hand experience and understanding of a world that each of us would one day embrace. As a young man I realized that electrical work was essential to everyday life and began to follow the footsteps of my brother Wendell. Instead of embracing the college life, I enrolled at IBEW, a trade school in Atlanta. After graduation, I worked as an electrician, but all the while feeling as if something was missing in my life.
“When opportunity knocks on your door, it’s always smart to have the key to unlock your path to success” (Nathaniel H. Bronner).
In 1985, I would meet a man that profoundly cemented my road to success. Mr. Nathaniel H. Bronner, Sr. became my mentor and never gave up on me; teaching me the importance of hard work, focus, courage, and “claiming it”. For me that knock on the door came more than 19 years ago when I sold my Cadillac and purchased a truck to start System 5 Electronics with the help of my beautiful wife, Alicia, who with a business degree from Georgia State, helped with the start-up and computerization of the office for System 5 Electronics, Inc. The company’s name was derived from the five security services that I provided customers at that time. The company started with only six employees that eagerly occupied the home-based business. My living room was turned into a conference room, the den was used as the operations department’s office, the guest bedroom was the executive office and the garage was the equipment and storage room, and the rest is history.
Today, I am still a hands-on CEO that delights in the fact that thousands of my customers can call me for anything. I’m a strong believer that when you start thinking that you are the boss and your customers are not, you start losing business. I also believe in giving back to the community. In 2007, I founded MACEO’s (Mentoring Aspiring CEO’s) Kids Foundation, a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization that was created to bring intelligent, compassionate and dedicated members of the business community together in pursuit of providing youth the opportunities and tools to grow as successful members of society. This mission is critical to the stabilization and growth of our communities. The MACEO’s Kids Foundation seeks to pair African American youth with mentors in an effort to foster an entrepreneurial spirit. Through our Foundation, young men and women are learning the importance of economic empowerment, community development and enrichment; key necessities our participants need to start, grow and maintain their very own businesses. To learn more about the Maceo’s Kids Foundation, visit maceoskids.org.
It is our belief that we must teach our kids to exceed the accomplishments of those who came before them, then will we create a cycle of economic wealth and social growth that detaches ourselves from the negative stigmatisms and destructive cycles that have historically plagued our communities. As African Americans we must remember that together we stand; it is how we as a people triumphed through the Civil Rights Movement to success. Divided we fall is evident through the destabilization of our communities; joblessness, high crime, and disproportionate economic opportunities.
-Maceo A. Brown