Theodore Adolphus Adams, Jr. – Lieutenant Colonel, United States Army

Dr. Theodore A. Adams, Jr., a business leader, champion of minority business development, and retired Army Engineer officer, died on July 16, 2003, of complications of cancer.


Dr. Adams was former Chairman of the Board, CEO and majority shareholder of Unified Industries Incorporated (UII), a corporation he founded in 1970. Under his management, direction and control, UII grew to over 300 employees with offices dispersed throughout the United States, including Hawaii. At the time of his death, he served in the capacity of Executive Advisor to Unified.

His success in the business world was the natural outgrowth of a distinguished military career. Dr. Adams entered the United States Army at age 17, and attained the rank of Master Sergeant at age 20. He was the first Black Honor Graduate of Engineer Officers Candidate School. As an Engineer Officer, he performed outstanding service in key positions of responsibility throughout the world, including command of an Engineer Battalion in Vietnam and service in the Office of the Chief of Staff, U.S. Army. His military awards include the Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Cluster and the Vietnamese Medal of Honor. He retired from military service as Lieutenant Colonel in 1969 to concentrate on activities within the minority business community.

Dr. Adams was affiliated with a wide range of civic, business, and political organizations. He was a member of the Democratic National Committee and of the National Black Caucus on policy matters. He received many awards for his leadership and unselfishness. In June 2003, he was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Parren Mitchell Foundation. He was presented the “1981Chairman’s Award” by the Congressional Black Caucus at their Eleventh Annual Awards Program for his dedication, leadership and untiring efforts in assisting the Caucus. Before founding Unified, Dr. Adams was Executive Director of the National Associations for Black Manufactures (NABM). He was honored at the Ninth Annual Convention of NABM by receiving their highest award, Member of the Year. His minority business involvement led to his inclusion in the “Member of the Year 1977-78 Edition of Who’s Who Among Black Americans.” He was recipient of the National Business League’s “Frederick Douglas Patterson Award” in recognition of his many outstanding contributions. He also received the “Minority Businessperson of the Year” award, which was presented by the Interracial Council of Business Opportunity in 1985.

He received the Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from Bowie State University in 1990 and was inducted into the Engineer Officer Candidate School’s Hall of Fame in 1990.

Dr. Adams was a graduate of many Army sponsored schools, including the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. He attended the University of Oklahoma and served on the faculty of the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. He was also a graduate of the Harvard Business School Small Company Management Program.

A native of Newark, New Jersey, Dr. Adams is survived by his wife, Jeanie M. Adams, daughters Karen Felicia Ambrose, Deborah Edwards, and Christina Adams, son Theodore A. Adams III, nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. He is also survived by a sister, Sandra K. Tarver.



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