Distinguished Alumni Awards
Roger L. Plummer
President and CEO, Plummer & Associates Consulting, Chicago, Illinois
BS, 1964, Engineering Mechanics, University of Illinois
Roger Plummer worked for Illinois Bell Telephone Company and what later became Ameritech for nearly 30 years. He started in 1964 as a trainee in a high-risk management development program. He rose quickly through the ranks and in 1981 became a company vice president. In 1985 he was appointed Illinois Bell's vice president of operations and a member of its Board of Directors. Plummer became president and chief executive officer of Ameritech Information Systems in 1987, a unit created to consolidate and integrate the sales activities for medium and large businesses across the company's five-state region.
USA Today recognized Plummer in 1988 as one of the Top 10 Black Executives in America. Black Enterprise Magazine recognized him as one of the Top 25 executives in the United States in 1988 and again in 1992. Plummer retired from Ameritech in 1993 and started his own firm specializing in strategic planning, marketing, and organizational development for the telecommunications industry.
While excelling in his demanding career, Plummer has made time to work on behalf of the University of Illinois. His efforts of behalf of his alma mater have spanned more than 20 years and reached a major milestone with Illinois Governor Jim Edgar's appointment of Plummer to the University of Illinois Board of Trustees in November 1996.
Plummer's continual climb up Illinois Bell's corporate ladder give testimony to his ability to lead and his skill for getting things done. As vice president of operations, he managed a budget exceeding one billion dollars and provided leadership to 16,000 people responsible for all aspects of customer service, engineering, and construction. Later, as president for Ameritech Information Systems, Plummer established pioneering telecommunications initiatives in areas of health care, education, and public safety while achieving dramatic increases in revenues and operating income. His leadership was recognized when he was chosen to be one of a select few executives to work with Ameritech's chairman and CEO to develop a plan to restructure the entire enterprise. In the process, Plummer was selected to develop, launch, and be president of a new business unit targeted at Ameritech's largest and most sophisticated customers. For his many accomplishments, Plummer was inducted into the Navy Pier Hall of Fame during the 50th anniversary celebration of the University of Illinois at Navy Pier in October 1996.
A dynamic leader, Plummer is described as positive, upbeat, articulate, and very focused. He brought those same leadership skills to the 120,000-member University of Illinois Alumni Association, in which he has been active since becoming a member in the early 1980's. Subsequently, he was elected to its board, became its vice president, and served as its president. During his tenure as president, he emphasized membership recruitment, restructured the association board to be more effective, and encouraged an effort to establish a permanent alumni house on the UIUC campus.
Plummer has been guest lecturer in the College of Engineering and has doorknobs to prove it. He is a University of Illinois Foundation Presidents Council member and has served on the College of Commerce and Business Administration and University Library advisory boards.
His volunteerism and philanthropy stretch across vast areas, including educational, health care, and cultural institutions in the Chicago area. Most recently his wife, Joanne, and he established an endowment in the College of Engineering to provide scholarship support to deserving students.
Current as of 1998.