Cecil Byrd has been working with veterans since his discharge from the Army in 1972. Came to DC in 1978 and has been working with veterans in the District of Columbia as an advocate, educator, trainer, therapist, employer and friend. He became the Executive Director of National Association of Concerned Veterans in 1984 and accepted the position of Director of Veterans Affairs for the University of the District of Columbia in Oct 2013 through January 30th 2015.
Byrd is experienced in assessments, evaluations, diagnostics, treatment planning, as well as a qualified certified addictions counselor. Through NACV ‘s leadership team, Byrd has worked to design a computerized integrated case management tracking and follow up soft ware package called the Gentron “touch” program which is behaviorally based. Byrd is a scientist with strong research and statistical skills and many years of experience as an evaluator. He is results oriented and outcomes driven adept in using evidenced based treatment protocols and scientific methodology.
Since 2000 Byrd has worked as a principal with Community Advisory Partnership providing community outreach and training to over 300 DC community health clinic staff and employees and as project lead for Health Education Networks Fatherhood Initiative. Mr. Byrd spent a year and a half as Outreach Coordinator for Effi Barry Grants I and II. Mr. Byrd has been providing grass roots and community organizing in the DC metro area since 1978 working with hundreds of community groups including veterans, community action agencies, unemployed, homeless, minority groups, students and mental health clientele, and many other disenfranchised populations to include GLBT and HIV/Aids populations. In addition, Mr. Byrd worked on contracts with the Public Benefits Corporation and the Kellogg foundation grant (2000) to establish community advisory councils and community participation and input into health care services and interventions for the community. All of this was while serving as Exec Director of one of the oldest active Vietnam veterans organizations in the country which boasted over 3300 chapters in over 35 states around the country.
Byrd has over 45 years working with military and veteran populations. In 1974 Byrd was asked by President David Matthews to serve as Director, Office of Veterans Affairs, The University of Alabama. During three plus years as Director Byrd provided comprehensive services to over 3,000 veterans and their families per semester. In ’75 Byrd was elected President of the National Association of Veterans Programs Administrators whose members were the Directors of Veterans Affairs from over 1500 post secondary educational institutions around the country. In ’78 Byrd was hired by the US Dept of Labor and asked to come to DC to work with the newly formed Veterans Employment and Training Services Office as a GS 13. Shortly thereafter Byrd went to work with the National Black Veterans Organization and became project manager for a contract with Community Services Administration out of its Energy Office where veterans were trained in energy conservation, recycling, weatherization. Another deliverable was the development of job classifications for environmental clean up jobs. Byrd worked with CSA to set up SAFE JACE (jobs for a clean environment). In 80 Byrd was hired by several consulting firms to continue work in the energy and environmental fields and worked with Dept of Energy as a consultant in the areas of weatherization and alternative fuels. (Calculon, Computer Science Corporation and Meridian). Byrd was first introduced to Father Baroni of HUD in ’78 and began to fashion the first interagency weatherization agreement between CSA, DOL, DOE and HUD to begin weatherizing houses of poor and elderly families around the country.
Byrd set up Veterans Housing Rehabilitation Corporation and later Veterans Environmental Services Co. to train and employ literally thousands of veterans in the DC metro area in weatherization, in energy conservation, and cable television construction installation and later in environmental clean up focusing on asbestos, lead abatement and soil remediation. Between ’84 and ’94, thanks to NACV and Byrd’s efforts, veterans trained by NACV were involved in sixty percent of every major abatement job in the DC. Clients and contracts included DOL, CIA, Agriculture, NIH, SSA, DOD, GSA, Navy, major demolition companies, major contractors and included public housing agencies, H Street Corridor, DC public schools, banks, and numerous commercial, public and private facilities to include military installations, etc. NACV trained veterans performed contracts and jobs in Maryland and Virginia as well as the District.
In ‘81 Byrd was asked by NABV founder Tom Wynn to serve as the DC Director of the National Association for Black Veterans. During his time in DC Byrd has worked closely with all the traditional veteran organizations to include American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, Blind Veterans of America, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Vietnam Veterans of America, Coalition for Vietnam and Gulf War Veterans, Paralyzed Veterans of America and numerous other vet organizations. In addition, Byrd has been testifying before Congress for over thirty years in behalf of veterans programs and issues. Byrd has worked with the Circle of Friends for America’s Homeless Veterans for over fifteen years. Byrd has set up and operated emergency and transitional housing programs for veterans since ’74 and in the DC since ’78. Byrd has worked closely with the Interagency Council for the Homeless since its inception. Byrd has served as an active member with the Coalition of Homeless Housing Organizations (Providers), DC Metropolitan Council for Homeless Veterans and facilitated numerous veteran Stand downs and Winterhavens for homeless veterans in the District. In fact, Byrd was one of the founding Board members that secured 1.5 million dollars to establish the Sara McClendon house for homeless veterans. Byrd has worked for years with Veterans Vision and Circle of Friends for America’s Homeless Veterans. Byrd served as volunteer Director of the DC Office of Veterans Affairs for two years in the DHS after Mayor Kelly dismantled the forty plus year old agency office.
Mr. Byrd has over thirty years experience working with prisons, offenders, incarcerated and ex offenders throughout the country. Byrd spent approximately one year working with the National Center for Institutions and Alternatives. Byrd is also conducting research for experimental step down and partial hospitalization programs for high risk youth in today’s school systems in the D.C. metropolitan area.
At present Byrd is the Director of Veterans Affairs for the University of the District of Columbia, the law school and the community college.