Many people who know Tony Harris, president and CEO of Campbell/Harris Security Equipment Company, don’t realize he went to Harvard’s Business School. If they did know, they may not realize he received an MBA degree from the prestigious university. They may or may not know he was the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate his undergraduate alma mater, Purdue University, during May graduation ceremonies.
Although Harris originally planned to go into architecture after he graduated from high school, a teacher suggested he might want to consider going into engineering instead. Harris took that teacher’s advice and attended Purdue University. He graduated in 1975 and received a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering.
Harris co-founded the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) as a student at Purdue University. From this early beginning, the largest student-run organization now boasts more than 27,000 members with chapters on five continents. Harris currently serves as the chairman of the NSBE national advisory board.
After graduating from Purdue, Harris went on to attend Harvard Business School, where he graduated in 1979. Soon after graduating, he began putting his MBA to use. He held the position as the project and design engineer for Standard Oil Company (Indiana). He also held positions in marketing and sales for Ford Motor Company before he took the position of president and CEO of Sonoma Ford Lincoln-Mercury. Harris has also worked in higher positions within Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) as well as the Calpine Corporation where he was vice president of marketing.
Besides being awarded the Honorary Doctorate from Purdue University, Harris was also honored by the university as the 1999 Outstanding Mechanical Engineer and was named the Distinguished Engineering Alumnus for 2008. Recently, he was invited to join the newly established Strategic Advisory Council.
Harris remains relationships with Purdue University and the Harvard Business School. He is also active in the community in which he lives. He has served on the Board of Directors for Oakland Museum of California, on the Advisory Board for OneCalifornia Bank, and as a member of the African American Advisory Committee for the California Board of Education
He purchased CSECO in 2006, and as president, Harris directs the manufacture of the Buster contraband detector, its official name is the Buster K910B Density Meter, and other contraband detection equipment. The Buster was first manufactured in the early 1980s after CSECO founder Pat Campbell worked closely with US Customs and Border Protection officers to design a contraband detector that met their specific needs. CSECO also manufactures the FV Series Fiberscope and CT-30 Contraband Team Detection Kit. These contraband detectors are used by the US State Department, US Customs and Border Protection, and US Department of Homeland Security. Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies have also learned the benefits of using the Buster contraband detector as well as international law enforcement agencies.
You may read the Harvard Business School article about Tony Harris with this link: https://www.alumni.hbs.edu/stories/Pages/story-bulletin.aspx?num=2927.