William "Bill" Mays story started in 1980 when he launched Mays Chemical, distributing materials for auto and pharmaceutical manufacturers. Today it's one of the 15 largest chemical distribution companies in North America.
Mays began branching out in 1990. He bought and revived the historic Indianapolis Recorder newspaper and took on the role as chairman of the United Way of Central Indiana and at the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce.
Michael Huber is the President at the Indy Chamber. He says Mays' influence goes far beyond his own business ventures.
"He was very generous in giving of his time to others and that was just a part of the way he did business," explained Huber.
Out front leading the way in business, Mays was also behind the scenes taking a stand for those who could not be heard.
"Making sure the African-American community had a strong voice not just in business but a lot of the issues the African-American community really cares about came much more mainstream because of his media presence and because of all of his relationships," said Huber.
The entrepreneur was also the first African-American chairman of the board for the Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce and the first and only African-American to serve as chairman of the annual campaign for the United Way of Central Indiana.