Tuskegee Businessman Honored is a blog about Allen “BoBo” O’Rourke who has been recognized by Washington Chapel AME Church as Man of the Year.
In Tuskegee, he is one-half of a power couple. Married to Beverly for nearly 60 years, the O’Rourke’s own and operate Tiger Pause Deli & Coffee Shop. On Sunday, June 17, 2018, surrounded by his family, he received an award from Washington Chapel AME Church.
Popular recording artist, Neyo, has a hit song on the charts entitled “Good Man.” Those lyrics definitely apply to BoBo who has been a good man his entire life.
Though he was raised on the West Coast, his roots are deeply planted in Alabama.
His mother was born in Tuskegee on Church Street. His father is from Eutaw, Alabama. His parents met at Tuskegee University. BoBo was born in Folston, Georgia and the family moved to Los Angeles when he was a small child. He met his wife while they were both in junior high school and they married one year after they graduated high school.
BoBo was a licensed plumber before he was 21 years old and a contractor for 10 years after earning his license. His first business was A & M Plumbing Company. During this time, he started several programs utilizing prisoners as plumbing trainees. He was quite successful for several years until some of his biggest customers went bankrupt. He went to work with the Los Angeles City Housing Authority as a plumber and worked his way up.
He moved to manager, supervising manager and superintendent before retiring as director over maintenance and modernization for the Los Angeles City Housing Authority. During his 30 years with the organization, he managed multi-million dollar projects and was responsible for 8,000 apartments as well as more than 100 employees. Under his leadership, housing development residents were trained to become skilled and licensed electricians, plumbers and carpenters.
BoBo managed to perform productively on the job while also caring for his family, which included three children. He graduated from California State University at Dominquez Hills. He also owned several businesses including an environmental compliance company, dress shop, plumbing business and restaurant. His favorite entrepreneurial experience was rehabbing houses for sale.
He moved to Tuskegee in 2006 and opened Tiger Pause to fill a void. During a visit to Tuskegee University with their grandchildren, the O’Rourkes went looking for a Starbucks and discovered there were no such businesses in Tuskegee. They bought a building on the Tuskegee Square, renovated it and gave people a place to go for coffee, WiFi and deli style foods. In addition to providing a service to the local community, Tiger Pause also provided employment to his grandchildren while they attended Tuskegee University.
The O’Rourkes have nurtured many young people including their own biological children, grandchildren and great-grandchidren. They have also opened their home to adopted children and helped many other children in times of need.
BoBo has been a member of Washington Chapel AME Church for 10 years and has served in many positions.
The Man of the Year award is kept secret until the time of the presentation. He was shocked when he realized he was the 2018 recipient.