As its Founding President and CEO, Ed Coleman leads West Side Forward, an impactful nonprofit focused on bringing about the economic transformation of communities in Chicago that have suffered the consequences of long-term disinvestment. West Side Forward was established as an independent entity in 2019, and was previously a key division of Bethel New Life where Ed had served as CEO, and which continues to provide key services to Chicago's West Side communities. For over a decade, Ed has led the establishment and execution of economic development initiatives in Chicago’s West Side communities. Achieving this mission is a result of driving the creation and growth of locally owned businesses, preparing local residents for careers in high-demand industries, and planning and influencing investments resulting in wealth-building opportunities for community residents.
Ever since Ed joined Bethel in January 2012 as Vice President of Community Economic Development, he has been able to leverage his decades of experience in leading operations in large and small corporate environments, as an entrepreneur, in government agencies, and in higher education institutions. Over the years, Ed has had leadership roles as owner and CEO of EAC Enterprises, as the business development officer of a technology startup, and as a manager with significant telecommunications organizations, including Lucent Technologies and AT&T. He has also taught business at Purdue, Governors State, and National Louis Universities, and at City Colleges of Chicago.
Ed is a Chicago native and graduate of Morgan Park High School. He holds a Master of Business Administration in Finance from DePaul University, and a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University. While at Purdue, Ed was one of six students that, along with mentor Dr. Arthur J. Bond, led the formation of the National Society of Black Engineers. Among Ed’s professional honors is a Purdue Engineering Alumni Association Service Award, a number of civic recognitions, and many industry awards. Ed is currently the Board Chair of the Austin (Chicago) Chamber of Commerce, and currently serves on the boards of directors of mHub, SparkShop, and West Side Forward. Ed is also on the Advisory Council for Chicago’s Neighborhood Opportunity Fund, the Advisory Board of the Chicago Development Fund, the Illinois Comptroller’s Advisory Collective, the Community Leaders Council of CIBC, the Community Advisory Council of Associated Bank, and the Executive Leadership Council of Austin Coming Together. In recent years, he has held leadership positions on the boards of the Joliet Diocese Catholic Charities, HOPE Fair Housing Center, the City of Naperville Fair Housing Commission, the Purdue University Black Alumni Association, Community & Youth Development, and AALR.
Ed has always felt an obligation to make contributions that have a positive impact on society and believes that his current responsibilities help him fulfill those aspirations. Ed engages with his family in their common interests of domestic and international travel, competitive card playing, golf, and spectator sports.