Edward Wayne Kimbrough was born on August 18, 1942 in Little Rock, Arkansas to a single-parent household. During the early years of his life, he spent the school year months in the Greenlee Community, near the small town of McCool, Mississippi, and the non-school year months with his Uncle Alonzo and Aunt Camilla Wilborn, in Little Rock, Arkansas. This allowed his mother, Mary Etta Kimbrough, to attend the summer program at Rust College in Holly Springs, Mississippi to earn her B.A. Degree in Education and continue her teaching career. After his mother obtained her college degree, Edward began spending his summers in Mississippi doing farm chores in the community to pay for some of his school clothes and supplies.
Edward attended the Greenlee School from the first grade to the tenth grade. Conditions were so crowded at the school, that the community church, Abraham Missionary Baptist Church, shared its facilities with the school. Edward attended geography and biology classes in the pews of the church, of which he was a member. For the eleventh grade, Edward attended the work/study program at Mary Holmes Junior College, in West Point, Mississippi, which had grade levels from high school through junior college. The work/study program allowed students to perform campus maintenance and support chores to help pay for their room and board. While at Mary Holmes, Edward was a pitcher on the varsity baseball team and a benchwarmer on the varsity basketball team.
The following year the high school program at Mary Holmes was discontinued and the high school at Greenlee School was transferred to Tipton Street High School in Kosciusko, Mississippi, the birthplace of Oprah Winfrey. Edward returned home to attend his senior year at Tipton Street High School. Edward’s mother bought him an alto saxophone during his senior year, and he played in the Tipton Street High School Concert Band. Edward was named valedictorian of the 1960 graduating class of Tipton Street High.
After graduating from high school, Edward received a scholarship to attend Knoxville College in Knoxville, Tennessee, which had a work/study program similar to the one at Mary Holmes Junior College. Both schools were founded by the United Presbyterian Church. During his junior year, Edward decided that he wanted to pursue a degree in industrial engineering. Dr. Robert H. Harvey, head of the Mathematics Department, set up a cooperative agreement with the University of Tennessee (UT) in Knoxville that allowed Edward to pursue an industrial engineering degree at UT, while still at Knoxville College, and to get degrees from both schools. In 1966 Edward received a B.S. Degree in Mathematics from Knoxville College and in 1967 he received a B.S. Degree in Industrial Engineering from UT.
While at Knoxville College, Edward was a member of the Marching Band, the Concert Band, and pledged the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Incorporated. While at UT Edward was a member of the Association of Collegiate Engineers (ACE) Board, which coordinated the activities of the engineering organizations, the American Institute of Industrial Engineers, and the Alpha Pi Mu industrial engineering honor society. It has been reported that he was the first African American to graduate from UT with a B.S. in Industrial Engineering.
The work/study program at Knoxville College provided opportunities for students to work at various companies around the country during the summer months and Christmas holidays to earn money to help pay for their college expenses. During the summer of 1961, Edward worked for the Green Giant Canning Company in Belvidere, Illinois harvesting vegetables for their canning factory. For the summers and Christmas holidays from 1962 through 1965, Edward worked for the Great Northern Railway as a dining car waiter. He was stationed in St. Paul, Minnesota and worked on the passenger train route between Seattle, Washington and Chicago, Illinois. In 1963, with help from his mother, Edward was able to purchase his first car, a brand new 1963 Volkswagen Beetle. In 1965 Edward applied for and was accepted to a summer internship with the IBM Corporation in Rochester, Minnesota, where he worked during the summer and Christmas holidays of 1966.
When Edward graduated from UT in 1967, he interviewed with about nine companies around the country through the UT student job placement center, but decided to go back to work for the IBM Corporation in Rochester, Minnesota. Edward spent his first six months with IBM in a Process Engineering Training Course. This course included the study of manufacturing processes, metallurgy, machine shop estimating, product design, and corporate organization and procedures. The next twelve months were spent as a Methods and Standards Analyst setting work measurement standards on manufacturing operations. The last six months in Rochester were spent as a Plant Layout Engineer developing area and work place layouts for manufacturing assembly operations. The Rochester plant began hiring other students from Knoxville College after Edward arrived.
Shortly after arriving at IBM in 1967, Edward was notified that he was eligible for the draft into the military service. The personnel department advised him that IBM might be able to get a deferment due to the nature of his employment with the company. In the meantime, Edward investigated the Air Force officer training programs at a military base in North Dakota, in case the deferment did not go through. The IBM request for deferment was accepted.
During his stay in Rochester, Edward was introduced to aviation by several friends in 1968, and began taking flying lessons at the Rochester Municipal Airport. He earned his private pilot’s license in November of the same year. Rochester Aviation, Inc., the fixed base operator at the airport, formed the Olmsted County Flying Club, with current and former students and three airplanes, in October 1968. Edward was elected as the first treasurer of the flying club.
Edward continued working as an industrial engineer at the Rochester plant until September 1969, when a job opportunity became available at a new sister plant in Boca Raton, Florida, which he applied for and was accepted. Edward’s IBM job title in Boca Raton was Senior Associate Industrial Engineer responsible for indirect manpower planning. In addition to indirect manpower planning for budgetary purposes, this assignment involved the implementation and refinement of a computerized corporate model for forecasting indirect manpower requirements. While in Boca Raton, Edward began playing golf on a regular basis with the IBM golf league and was a member of a winning team in 1971.
In early 1972 Edward received a substantial offer from the manager of the Engineering Division at the Southern Region Headquarters of the United States Postal Service in Memphis, Tennessee, which he accepted. The Southern Region of the Postal Service covered eleven states, from Texas east to North Carolina and south to Florida. The Engineering Division in the regional headquarters did consulting work in all the major mail processing facilities in the region, which involved a significant amount of travel. The Postal Service provided a way to use personal aircraft for Postal business travel after showing a cost comparison to commercial travel and then claiming the less expensive mode of travel. So, in 1972 Edward used his IBM stock to purchase a 1963 Mooney M20C airplane for his birthday, and in 1973 he obtained his instrument pilot rating. This enabled Edward to use his airplane for most of his Postal business travel throughout the region between 1972 and 1980, and he logged over 600 flight hours on Postal business trips during that 8-year period.
The Southern Region projects that Edward was involved in over the 8-year period included the development and implementation of modifications to the main post offices in New Orleans and Oklahoma City, the development of mail processing facility requirements within the region, the coordination of parcel damage reduction in mechanized facilities, the coordination and implementation of five highly mechanized bulk mail centers (BMCs) in the region, the development of manpower planning and control techniques for the BMCs, and the development of manpower savings in major post offices resulting from the implementation of the National Bulk Mail System of 21 BMCs. Edward was also appointed to temporary assignments as Officer-In-Charge at the Hickory, North Carolina post office, Acting District Director of Mail Processing at the East Texas District in Dallas, Texas, and Acting Manager of Distribution at the main post office in Memphis, Tennessee. In 1975 Edward completed Advanced Management Training at the University of Texas in Austin, Texas.
In June 1980 Edward was promoted to Sectional Center Director of Mail Processing in Houston, Texas. In November 1981 he lost this job and was reassigned to Industrial Engineering Coordinator for the Houston District. It was at that time Edward, who was single at the time, decided he could not continue his flying lifestyle and support a future family at his current Postal salary, so he began planning for a career outside the Postal Service. However, he continued to fully support management in his subsequent assignments as Industrial Engineering Coordinator, Director of Support Services, Manager of In-Plant Support, Manager of Administrative Services, and Facilities Requirements Specialist. In addition to completing Phase I and Phase II of the Advanced Management Program at the William F. Bolger Center for Leadership Development in Potomac, Maryland, Edward also received other training in Purchasing, Contract Administration, Repairs and Alteration Contracting, Contract Formation, and Negotiation Strategies and Techniques.
Some of the projects Edward was involved in since 1981 included the following: in 1984 he developed a project to alleviate a shortage of office space, mail processing space and storage space at the Houston Processing and Distribution Center (P&DC), which included the development and implementation of a plan to lease and convert a nearby vacant warehouse building to a combination of office space, mail processing space, and storage space called the GPO Annex, and the building remained in use until 2004. In 1990 he received a letter of appreciation for the development and activation of the North Houston Mail Processing Center. In 1991 he made several presentations to the Southern Region Capital Investment Committee for a new Houston P&DC. In 1995 he developed and implemented a plan to relocate flats and parcel distribution from the Houston P&DC to a newly refurbished 110,000 sq. ft. leased facility to make room for the deployment of 47 new automated letter sorting machines to the Houston P&DC. Also in 1995 he received a Special Achievement Award for the accomplishment of Houston P&DC goals. In 1998 he developed and presented a Houston P&DC New Facility Proposal to the Headquarters New Facility Prioritization Committee. In 2001 he developed and implemented a plan to lease and renovate an existing 110,000 sq. ft. facility into a North Houston Delivery Distribution Center to make room for the deployment of new automated flat sorting machines to the Houston P&DC. In 2003 he developed and implemented a plan to consolidate Houston District and Inspection Service operations at the GPO Annex and the Houston P&DC Tower to a new 57,000 sq. ft. leased facility on the north side of town, and closed the GPO Annex leased facility. In 2004 he developed and implemented a plan to consolidate Mail Transport Equipment operations from a 40,000-sq. ft. leased facility on Edwards Street into a 15,000-sq. ft. section of a postal owned facility on Wakeforest Street, and closed the 40,000-sq. ft. leased facility.
In February 2009 Edward retired from the Postal Service after 37 years of employment. Even after a bout with prostate cancer in 2008, which has been completely removed, Edward still had over 3100 hours of unused sick leave when he retired. During his career with the Postal Service, Edward contributed over $20,000 to the Combined Federal Campaign, with the United Negro College Fund as the beneficiary.
In January 1982 Edward formed a company he named Aero Resources, Incorporated (ARI) as part of a bid proposal for a fixed base operation at Ellington Field in Houston, Texas, when the airport was first taken over by the City of Houston from the military. When the bid proposal was not successful, he developed a business plan with layouts for a T-Hanger rental project on a vacant piece of property on the Pearland Regional Airport where his airplane was based. At that time the name of the airport was Clover Field Airport, and it was privately owned. Edward was not able to negotiate a deal with the airport owner for access to the runways and taxiways that provided enough profit to make the project worthwhile, so he abandoned the idea.
In 1977 the Mooney Aircraft Company in Kerrville, Texas introduced the Mooney 201 M20J Model, a modified version of the Mooney M20F Executive Model, which was about 20 mph faster than the M20F without an increase in engine horsepower. Several companies were marketing kits that certified the M20J modification for installation on many of the earlier model Mooneys. Edward decided he would develop a less expensive and easier to install version of the nose cowl portion of the M20J upgrade, using his 1963 Mooney M20C as the platform, to generate additional income to support his flying activities.
In May 1989 Edward obtained Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval for the nose cowl Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) for his 1963 Mooney M20C airplane. By 1994 he had obtained approval to install his nose cowl kit on all Pre-M20J Mooneys from the year 1958 to the year 1978. In 1993 he obtained FAA Parts Manufacturer Approval (PMA) to manufacture the parts for the nose cowl modifications. Edward began marketing his nose cowl modification kits by attending annual aviation marketing conventions around the country. In 1996 he expanded his product line to include a skin-mounted landing light lens cover for Pre-M20J Mooneys.
At the same time Edward was developing his nose cowl modifications to support his flying activities, he decided to become an Amway distributor to develop a career path outside the Postal Service. Edward’s Amway sponsor was part of the late Bill Britt and Rex Renfrow distributer networks. The principles they developed for their distributer networks linked Biblical principles directly to success in business and success in life. They promoted a reading program which included success books and cassette tapes that celebrated the successes of the distributers within their networks. Their reading and tape program had the following impacts on Edward’s life: they added a new dimension to his faith which inspired him to set business and spiritual priorities and goals for his life; they provided access to books and tapes that inspired him to continually work on his life goals, even during very difficult times; and they inspired him to start reading and listening to the Bible on a regular basis.
In May 1992 Edward established unifying principles for his life and set personal life goals based on a tape program by the Charles R. Hobbs Corporation. He purchased cassette tapes of the King James Version of the Bible narrated by Alexander Scourby, and he listened to them sequentially on a regular basis as he commuted to and from work. Over the years the cassette tapes became damaged and he replaced them with CDs by the same narrator and continued to listen. The Biblical knowledge he gained from these tapes gave added meaning to the spiritual messages he listened to in church and elsewhere. The tapes gave him the inspiration to eventually write a book about the Bible.
In early 1997 Edward attended a seminar that talked about the tremendous impact that the internet was forecasted to have on the marketing of products and services in America and the world. In September 1997 he developed a business plan and a preliminary marketing structure for an Aviation Shoppers’ Mall for the aviation industry. In October 1997 Edward invited a young lady he met at church to hitch a plane ride to one of his marketing conventions in Orlando, Florida, which was relatively close to her hometown of Miami, Florida. The young lady, whose name was Wanda Beta Tanner, accepted the invitation and made the private plane ride to Orlando and then took the short commercial flight from Orlando to Miami. Edward and Wanda began dating a few months after the Orlando trip.
Edward tried to introduce Wanda to the Amway business, but he had a very difficult time convincing her to change from her Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus products to the Amway system, so he changed his focus away from Amway toward his aviation business. In November 1998 Edward and Wanda were married at the Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church in Houston, Texas by the founding pastor, Reverend William A. Lawson. Edward considers his decision to marry Wanda the very best decision he has ever made in his life, but he admits he was not so sure at the time. Although the couple has no children, they do have a close substitute in a Schnauzer named Marino Dan.
In 1999 Edward immediately began to expand the scope of the aviation business by negotiating with other aircraft modifiers to advertise and market their products for a share of the profits. He has established a website presence for the business and continues to work on his Aviation Shoppers’ Mall proposal, which is in the process of being completed for presentation to the aviation industry. Edward has always maintained the books and prepared the taxes for the business, and he has never filed for bankruptcy. The business has been a Subchapter S Corporation since 1995.
After Edward retired from the Postal Service in 2009, he began to write a book involving a scientific analysis of the Holy Bible, because he was concerned about the moral and spiritual conditions he observed in this country and the world. The purpose of the book is to transform labels that separate people into pockets of resistance and controversy, into Universal Principles that pull people together for the common good of all. A primary goal of the book is to show that the Bible is more than just a spiritual book that belongs in the Church House, but it is also a very practical and scientific book that also belongs on Main Street, and it should be available, on a voluntary basis, at all educational institutions.
Most of the charitable activities Edward has participated in revolve around aviation. He is Vice-president of the Bronze Eagles Flying Club of Texas, which is a chapter of the Black Pilots of America, Inc. The organization, which he has been a member of since 1981, encourages children to get involved in aviation and every year, for many years, it has conducted introductory flights for children in Houston and other cities in Texas. He was also a member of Airlifeline when it was active in Houston, and he provided free flights to and from the Houston Medical Center for cancer patients. Edward has logged about 4,900 hours of flying time. He is a member of the Courtesy Corps and Watchmen at Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church in Houston.