Lawrence Bass


For almost 35 years, Lawrence P. Bass was an entrepreneur and co-owner of InfraStructure SystemWare LLC. and Applied Tactical Systems Inc. Both firms served global clients, specializing in military systems, industrial logistics systems, and enterprise software. In 2009, three years after retiring, Lawrence left retirement, joined the Chicago Teaching Fellows program (2009 cohort), and became a certified teacher. He completed additional teaching certifications in physics and chemistry at Northwestern University and engineering at the University of Illinois (Urbana and Chicago) and the Milwaukee School of Engineering. 

Committed to working on the southside of Chicago, he taught for six years. He taught physics, chemistry, and engineering at two Chicago public high schools: Harlan Community Academy in the Roseland section and Lindblom Math & Science Academy in the West Englewood section. His former engineering students have graduated from some of the nation’s most acclaimed university engineering programs. 

Currently, Lawrence is an advisor and coach to social enterprise and nonprofit CEOs and to his former students. At his core, he is a creative problem solver. His favorite phrase is “Aut viam inveniam aut faciam” – I shall either find a way or invent one. 

He is a member of the board of directors of the Golden Apple Foundation, a member of Social Venture Partners-Chicago, and a former board member of Chicago Collegiate Charter School and Project SYNCERE. 

A native of Paducah, Kentucky, Lawrence’s first plane ride was to Washington, DC, to be one of two recipients from Kentucky of the U.S. Presidential Scholar Award in his senior year of high school. That fall he took another flight to Cambridge, Massachusetts, as a National Achievement Scholar to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). 

Lawrence holds Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Advanced Engineer degrees from MIT. He has been married to Paula A. Sneed for over 40 years, and they reside in Summerlin, NV. Their daughter Courtney Bass Sherizen and her husband, Daniel, have a son – Baldwin.


I enjoy being a part of the Onyx Black Wealth Collective because it provides an empowering community that fosters my financial growth and offers valuable resources for my personal development. Moreover, the collective's dedication to promoting economic equity and uplifting Black voices gives me a sense of purpose and solidarity among fellow members.