Powering The Future of Construction

Hugh Blackwell

Principal Officer

As Principal Officer, Hugh is responsible for the overall growth and profitability of BDE. After fourteen consecutive years of driving revenue growth for Fortune 500 companies Siemens and Schneider Electric, Hugh would venture out on his own to start BDE in 2016. Hugh started BDE with a strong background in electrical distribution equipment engineering and management, along with a penchant for top line growth and cost control discipline, Obtaining and growing a customer base in the DC/Baltimore Metro and Louisiana regions, BDE has blossomed into a multimillion dollar revenue business with a significant physical footprint within 5 years of inception. Hugh is married to Jimani and has three children, Hugh III, Purpose, and Miles. Hugh has a BS from Howard University and a MBA from George Mason University.

Chad Risher

Vice President of Sales

As VP of Sales, Chad is responsible for customer acquisition, vendor management, and profit attainment in the traffic and lighting sector for BDE. Chad came to BDE with a strong background in customer relationship management and entrepreneurship from his time at Risher Business Consultants. Chad has primarily developed BDE’s traffic sector into a self-sustaining profit center, implementing a sales method revolving around building relationships with world-class vendors and high-performing contractors. Throughout his career, Chad has been a collaborative team leader and detailed oriented contributor. Chad is married to Rebecca and has one child, Knox. Chad has an Associate’s degree from Baton Rouge Community College.

Brian Williamson

Chief Financial Officer

Brian Williamson joined Blackstar Diversified Enterprises, LLC (BDE) as the Chief Financial Officer. Prior to joining BDE, Brian was a Senior Director for S&P Global Ratings. Brian’s primary role over his twenty years at S&P as a municipal bond analyst was focusing on analyzing the strategies and financial operations of large hospitals, health systems and continuing care retirement communities across the United States. Prior to joining S&P, Brian was employed as a commercial lender for large US banks and commercial finance companies. Throughout his career, Brian has been a collaborative team leader and detailed oriented contributor. Brian is married to DaWana and has two children, Bria and Jakahri. Brian received his BS in Accounting from Hampton University and MBA in Finance from The Ohio State University.

Calvin Thomas

Executive Project Manager

As Executive Project Manager, Calvin is responsible for the development, management, and maintenance of the processes and systems for Project Management at BDE. Calvin has over 20 years of industry experience and 12 years of project management experience, having responsibility over projects in the DC Metro area and Florida markets, as well as international project experience while serving in the role of American Marine Tender Manager and having to manage and coordinate aspects in France and the Caribbean. Calvin has a military background, serving six years in the US Naval Nuclear
Sector. Trained as a nuclear plant electrician in the military, Calvin
went on to complete his bachelor’s in Nuclear Engineering Technology
from Excelsior College. Calvin has been married for 19 years to Doris,
his high school sweetheart, and together they have three children:
Cassandra, Joseph, and Reuben.

Mercedes Smith

Executive Operations Lead

Mercedes Smith serves as the Executive Operations Lead for Blackstar Diversified Enterprises. Embarking on an extraordinary journey as a Coordinator and HR Administrator for Birthmark Doula Collective, Mercedes has blossomed into an influential figure, leaving a lasting impact in her field. Throughout her career, Mercedes has consistently demonstrated exceptional organizational skills, a keen eye for detail, and a passion for fostering a positive work environment. Her ability to streamline operations, implement innovative strategies, and drive efficiencies has propelled her to the forefront of her field.

In her current role at Blackstar Diversified Enterprises, Mercedes plays a pivotal role in overseeing the company’s day-to-day operations. Her insightful decision-making, strong leadership, and effective communication skills have been instrumental in driving the company’s growth and success.

In addition to her successful career, Mercedes deeply values her responsibilities as a spouse and parent. She is happily married to Kamau Smith. Together, they have built a loving and nurturing home for their three children, Phoebe, Jair, and Kahron.

Jadi Mwendo

VP of Operations

As VP of Operations, Jadi is responsible for the procurement and assembly of the electrical components and subcomponents sold by BDE. Jadi came to BDE with a strong background in electrical equipment maintenance and assembly from his time in the US Navy as an Aviation Electrician, as well as his work as an Electronics Technician at Liberty Oilfield Services. Additionally, Jadi worked as a consultant for IBM, implementing SAP software at several Fortune 500 company clients, including Pratt & Whitney, Schlumberger, Zoetis, and Generac. Throughout his career, Jadi has bridged the communication gap between technical teams and stakeholders, optimizing project efficiency and success. Jadi is married to Marti and has three children, Jamila, Jala, and Jaden. Jadi has a BA from Clark Atlanta University, a BS from the University of New Orleans, and a JD from Tulane University.


New Orleans, LA

10836 Chef Menteur Highway
New Orleans, LA 70127
(504) 265-9919