Mr. Kenneth Gamble
Mr. Gamble is widely known for having written, produced, recorded, and published more than 3,000 songs performed by artists such as The Jackson Five, Teddy Pendergrass, Jerry Butler, The O’Jays, Spinners, Delfonics, Jones Girls, Billy Paul, Lou Rawls, Phyllis Hyman, Dionne Warrick, and many others (nearly 60 artists in total represented the Philly label). A great deal of music he produced carried a social theme and what was described as a “message in the music.” In 1974 and 1989, he received Grammy Awards for writing “Me & Mrs. Jones” and “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” respectively. He founded several record companies, including Philadelphia International Records, of which he remains CEO and chairman of the board.
The Gamble and Huff writing duo has received every major musical award in the U.S. and abroad including being inducted into the National Academy of Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1995; the Rhythm and Blues Hall of Fame in 2001; the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008; and the Dance and Music Hall of Fame in 2005. He has also received the prestigious UK Ivor Novello Award in 2006 and Grammy’s Lifetime Achievement Hall of Fame in 1999. In 2009 the duo was named BMI Icons at the 57th Annual BMI Pop Awards.
Mr. Gamble’s musical accomplishments are extremely impressive when you consider the number of awards, inductions, and honors he has received. The Gamble and Huff genius lies in the fact that their catalog has secured: 80 #1 Hits; 200+ Top #100 Hits; 175 Gold/Platinum Albums; #1 R&B Publisher Worldwide; #8 Pop Publisher Worldwide; and one of Gamble and Huff’s records is played every 13 minutes worldwide. In addition, Mr. Gamble was awarded an Honorary Doctorate degree in Public Service from Cheyney University in 2005 and an Honorary Doctorate degree of Music from Berklee College of Music in 2010.
Mr. Gamble has founded or helped to build numerous organizations that had a sole purpose of helping the African-American community, including the African American Foundation, The Universal Community of Truth, the South Philadelphia Ministries Task Force, The Philadelphia Music Foundation, and his biggest and most successful, Universal Companies.
As founder and chairman of Universal Companies, one of the largest African-American developers of real estate in Philadelphia, Kenneth Gamble used his success to begin a neighborhood revitalization effort. In 1990, he made the ultimate commitment to the City of Brotherly Love. He and his wife Faatimah gave up the quiet and luxurious suburban lifestyle to move back to a blighted South-Central Philadelphia to take a hands-on approach to the rebuilding process that he initiated in the 1980s.
Two decades later, Universal has improved the quality of life for thousands of children and families residing in historically disenfranchised communities. To date, Universal has been the conduit for more than $1.5 billion of real estate development and investment and currently educates more than 4,500 students in 10 schools (K-12). The company is also one of the largest African-American led businesses in Philadelphia, employing nearly 650 professionals.
Kenneth Gamble is a true Philadelphia success story, coming from humble beginnings to achieve international fame. For a man who is known worldwide for making hit records, he considers rebuilding the African-American community as “the biggest hit of my life.”
Mrs. Faatimah Gamble
Mrs. Gamble’s acumen for business began early as a student at Bok Vocational School in South Philadelphia. She continued her education at Temple University and later became certified as a Protocol and Etiquette Consultant from the International School of Protocol in Washington, D.C.
Mrs. Gamble developed character building and social etiquette programs which she has implemented with hundreds of adolescents over the last 30 years, encouraging self-esteem and refinement among inner-city males and females.
Since the inception more than 25,000 individuals have benefited from the programs, workshops and events implemented by The Wellness of You. In addition to the Celebrate Wellness Expo and the Annual Wellness Breakfast for Men, Universal’s wellness program includes an annual children’s wellness health fair for nearly 3,000 students and their families. The Wellness of You program also implements character building/self-esteem training programs for adolescents, known respectively as The Pearls of Wisdom and From Boys to Men.
The Wellness of You was the first organization of its kind in the nation to recognize medical professionals committed to making a difference in community health. The coveted Tree of Life Award has been awarded to Dr. Walter Lomax, medical practitioner and founder of Lomax Companies; Dr. Benjamin Carson, pediatric neurosurgeon of John’s Hopkins University Hospital; Dr. Calvin Johnson, former secretary of health for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; Senator Vincent Hughes; Dr. Robin L. Smith, bestselling author and psychologist; and Rev. Michael Bernard Beckwith, a spiritual guru. Additionally, The Wellness of You is a best practice model that educates the community about alternative medical practices, something that was considered taboo but through education and awareness initiatives has transformed into a multi-billion dollar industry.
Currently, Mrs. Gamble joins radio personality, Mimi Brown of WDAS, Philly’s R&B and Classic Soul radio station, to deliver health centered messages and words of wisdom through haiku poetry to residents of Philadelphia County and the surrounding municipalities. Segments have included “Overcoming Depression,” “Preparing for Winter,” and “Extended Families.”
Mrs. Gamble has received numerous awards and has been recognized by city and state officials for her dedication to health and wellness. In April 2013, she was recognized by City Council President Darrell L. Clarke and council members for her commitment to helping impoverished communities and families across the nation. In December 2013, State Representative Louise Williams Bishop, 192nd legislative district, honored Mrs. Gamble with House Resolution 570.
Dr. Penny Nixon
Dr. Penny Nixon, senior executive vice president of education/chief academic officer, prides herself in promoting academic excellence and a positive organizational culture. Dr. Nixon previously served the School District of Philadelphia for 20 years in various capacities. Prior to accepting the position of senior executive vice president/chief academic officer at Universal Companies, Dr. Nixon served as associate superintendent of schools, working directly with the superintendent to ensure that academic programs increased and maximized students’ success; regional superintendent, developing, supporting and evaluating principals; and as an academic coach, coaching and collaborating with school staff to improve learning outcomes. Throughout her 20-year career she has also served as a principal, teacher, facilitator and mentor, committed to making accelerated improvements in school quality and student achievement.
Receiving a great deal of recognition for her work in championing equality, access and excellence for all students, Dr. Nixon was recently awarded the Phi Delta Kappa International University of Pennsylvania’s Outstanding Educational Leadership Award, the Schoolmen’s Club President’s Award and the Philadelphia Coaches Association Administrator of the Year Award.
Dr. Nixon received her Doctoral Degree in Educational and Organizational Leadership and a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education. She completed her undergraduate studies at Temple University.
Mrs. Tamelia Hinson-Threadgill
Tamelia Hinson was born in Fort Stewart, GA and moved to Philadelphia, PA in 1966. She attended Philadelphia elementary and secondary public schools and Radnor Senior High School.
Receiving a Degree in Business Management from Wilmington University. Tamelia worked in the Family Restaurant business where she served as manager and bookkeeper.
Interested in exploring the corporate community, she accepted an entry level position at Independence Blue Cross in Center City Philadelphia. With all of her hard work and dedication, she rapidly moved up to a Supervisory position then later became a Technical Advisor.
Tamelia joined Universal Companies in 1999 as the Administrative Assistant at our Universal Institute Charter School in charge of student enrollment and day to day school operations. Continuing to strive in the corporate community she later was appointed as a Property Manager for Universal Companies in 2002.
During her first two years of employment with Universal, she worked with Pennrose Management Company she trained in Low Income Housing Tax Credit Compliance, Lease up, Recertifications, and Property Management. Following her training she became certified in Budgeting, Maintenance, Affordable Housing Development, Affordable Housing Property Manager (HUD), Site Manager and many others.
In 2005, Tamelia became Vice President of Real Estate Development where she managed all necessary paperwork dealing with the company and the city of Philadelphia. From receiving, documenting, and the delivery of documents dealing with all of Universals’ properties. Tamelia met with community leaders, residents and city officials to gain approval to develop in their community.
She was responsible for Universal Companies becoming a certified Housing Counselor under the Pennsylvania Higher Finance Agency.
Tamelia was recently promoted as the Chief Operating Officer for Universal Companies, she oversees, Facilities, Food Service, Human Resources, Marketing, Real Estate, Technology and Wellness.
Over the years, Tamelia has completed many projects for Universal which consist of the following:
Affordable Homes for Sale
Market Rate Homes for Sale
Managing 8 School Facilities
Implementing the National School Lunch and Breakfast Program in our Schools
Mr. Wallace Dawan
Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Wallace S. Dawan attended a private school from Kindergarten through twelfth grade. As a senior in high school, he was ranked number two in his class and received the Robert S. King Scholarship to attend Community College of Philadelphia, where he received an Associate’s Degree in Accounting. Then, he attended Temple University and was awarded a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting in 1997. Mr. Dawan has held accounting positions at General Electric, PNC Bank, and—for the past 20 years—Universal Companies, where he currently serves as acting Chief Financial Officer.
As the Chief Financial Officer, Mr. Dawan he manages the accounting and financial management systems and services of a non-profit community development corporation. In addition to ensuring the accurate recording and reporting of financial and program data, he oversees various intricate functions of the company. Mr. Dawan has directly been involved with procuring, managing, invoicing, and reporting for various grants and government funded programs. He develops, reviews, and adjusts multi-million-dollar budgets so that they reflect and operationalize the company's values and goals with integrity and transparency. Mr. Dawan conducts an analysis of strategic goals in terms of costs and outcomes, while advocating for highly innovative, yet accountable, uses of existing and untapped resources in an effort to ensure financial stability.
Mr. Dawan has personally invested in real estate for the past 10 years. He has been able to use his knowledge and experience as a real estate investor to contribute to and enhance Universal’s involvement in real estate development. He has lead development teams for small residential developments and has served on development teams for larger residential, commercial, and mixed-use projects.
Mr. Dawan is happily married with two children and enjoys studying different languages.