Selling homemade crossword puzzles in grade school—that was all it took to get Pamela Rich-Wheeler hooked on entrepreneurship. Even as a student at Pitt, she was involved with running a small transportation business as a way to apply what she was learning in the classroom. After graduation, Rich-Wheeler worked at Prudential Financial, Inc. and DuPont before venturing out to start her own successful transportation company—one that she managed for five years.
Having long since set crossword puzzles aside, she now helps others' entrepreneurial ventures succeed by serving as executive director of The Business Center for Entrepreneurship & Social Enterprise. The Business Center is a nonprofit organization in northwest Philadelphia, founded by Rich-Wheeler and her husband, Solomon Wheeler (MBA '93,) in 1999. The center's mission is to help clients start, sustain, and expand a successful enterprise.
A native Philadelphian, Rich-Wheeler's lifelong passion for entrepreneurship keeps her motivated to help as many people succeed as possible, and she takes great pride in seeing her clients turn ideas into successes. She credits her degree from the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business with helping her to think strategically; management, accounting, and marketing are all critical elements Rich-Wheeler uses day in and day out to keep The Business Center moving forward. Pitt Business faculty members John Prescott and Carrie Leana and staff member Don Norrington, she notes, were tremendously influential on Rich-Wheeler during her tenure at Katz.
She and her husband have two children, Jelani and Nailah, and reside in Philadelphia.
Rich-Wheeler's future plans include pursuing her PhD and writing a book about how to secure capital from family and friends.