Ask David Fleming one word to describe himself, and he will use two—“great networker.”
Fleming, a 45-year-old Pompano Beach resident is CEO/President of RoadCare Plus, one of the country’s largest suppliers of towing and roadside assistance.
“I’ve been granted [God’s] favor to network with Fortune 500 companies, and walk out with the bacon,” said Fleming, who has built up his company by trailblazing the pre-paid gift card industry for roadside assistance.
Since its inception in 2000, RoadCare Plus has become a network of 425,000 service vehicles and 500,000 professionals. The company’s pre-paid gift cards are available in more than 20,000 retail locations.
RoadCare Plus is co-sponsoring the No. 14 race car—complete with a photo of President Barack Obama on the hood—that will compete in the NASCAR 2009 series. The photo is a tribute to the nation’s new president and the country’s wounded war heroes.
RoadCare Plus is an alliance partner of America’s Promise, an organization founded by former Secretary of State Colin Powell to serve the fundamental needs of children. Fleming is also an avid supporter of the Wounded Warrior Project, an organization dedicated to honoring and empowering wounded soldiers.
Fleming has partnered with the Coalition to Support America’s Heroes – a non-profit that assists severely wounded veterans from the
wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – to sponsor the race car and the “Racing for America’s Heroes” program.
“The car got a lot of attention, a lot of fans,” said Ken Butler III, one of two brothers who drive the car.
Fleming’s “heightened sense of social responsibility” made the partnership possible, said Patrick Norberto, director of development for the heroes coalition, who has teamed up with RoadCare Plus to sponsor the “Racing for America’s Heroes” program.
RoadCare Plus is offering commemorative President Obama membership cards – at a cost of $50 each – as part of the program, which provides motorists with the company’s roadside assistance services.
The goal is to raise $50 million total by year’s end, with $5 million going to the war heroes coalition and $25 million to non-profit organizations that collaborate with RoadCare Plus, Fleming said.
“I enjoy putting deals together,” he said. “There is no downside. It’s an opportunity to travel all over the world. It’s been a learning experience for me.”
Fleming is a native of Indianola, Miss., where African-American greats such as Oprah Winfrey, jazz legend BB King and Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman were all born within a 50-mile radius.
Fleming, a graduate of Patriot Bible University in Colorado, however, attributes his success not to his hometown, but to his mother, Willie Mae Fleming, who was his mentor and teacher.
“When I left high school, my mother prepared me,” said Fleming. “She wanted to put me in a business for myself.”
Fleming started a marketing company during his early days of college, and by the time he graduated, he had 11 employees. “From there, I never looked back,” Fleming said.
The divorced father of four also learned social responsibility.
“‘As we go in life, we have to give back’,” his mom would say.
In 1992, Fleming became the youngest African American in history to run for Congress to represent the then-newly formed 23rd
Congressional District in Florida. He ran as an independent, and says he has conservative views.
Although he did not win the election, he said, “It opened my eyes to the needs of the people [in] the state of Florida and throughout the United States.”
Photo: David Fleming
IF YOU GO
To purchase commemorative cards, log onto RoadCare Plus website, www.roadcareplus.com. Severely wounded veterans from Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom may call the heroes coalition at 888-44-SALUTE.