Civic News

Will Daniel, founder of Wilco Electronic Systems, has died

The "Philadelphia icon" in the cable industry was 86.

Wilco Electronic Systems' Brigitte Daniel-Corbin and Will Daniel in 2013. (Courtesy photo)

Will Daniel, the founder and chairman of Wilco Electronic Systems, died this past weekend at age 86. His daughter Brigitte Daniel-Corbin announced the news on Wednesday.

“Our family appreciates the countless thoughts and prayers that have been extended to Will Daniel’s three children and his beloved wife, Lucille,” said Daniel-Corbin, who in 2020 become Wilco’s president and CEO, in a statement. “Will Daniel’s loved ones and his beloved Wilco colleagues are grateful for the expressions of sympathy and condolences from people everywhere who join us in mourning a profound loss.”

Daniel, a native of Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina, launched the Fort Washington-based communications company more than 40 years ago. Wilco was the largest African-American-owned cable provider in the Philadelphia area before its cable assets were acquired by Comcast back in 2018. The company has since pivoted to focus on low-voltage wiring and design, access control and surveillance, and Internet of Things technologies.

In 2011, Daniel-Corbin spoke to about the company’s founding mission, and its early focus on affordability and low-income communities.

“We got into [the Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA)] in 2001 as the primary service provider, though we have been there since the 1980s. We were there when it wasn’t trendy to talk about access because they were our communities,” she said then. “We’ve always meant to have a social service aspect to what we do. We’ve always focused on offering the most to those who have the least.”

In 2013, the father-daughter pair were honored at the National Association of Multi-­Ethnicity in Communications awards ceremony.

Asia Coney, president of PHA’s Resident Advisory Board, said Daniel’s integrity, determination and commitment were “second to none,” and that she had been blessed to call him a friend.

“Many of the resident organizations that we represent have had a very long, positive and productive relationship thanks to Will’s tireless and relentless work ethic as well as the many years he provided services to the residents of properties owned and managed by the Philadelphia Housing Authority,” Coney said in a statement.

David L. Cohen, senior advisor of Comcast Corporation, called Daniel a “Philadelphia icon,” who was committed to the community from which he came. His leadership and commitment to making the lives of Philadelphians better will be missed, he added.

“My father brought tremendous vision, discipline, and innovation to his work as an entrepreneur and telecommunications executive,” Daniel-Corbin said. “He made an indelible mark on the business ecosystem within Philadelphia and beyond.”

Companies: Comcast / Philadelphia Housing Authority / Wilco Electronic Systems

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