The Afro-American, March 5, 2011 - March 5, 2011
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By Lango Deen
Special to the AFRO
“It’s been 25 years of inspiration,” Ted Childs, aretired diversity executive atIBM Corporation, said Feb.19 at the 25th annual BlackEngineer of the Year Awardsin the Washington, D.C.The Black Engineerof the Year Awards(BEYA), produced byCareer CommunicationsGroup, showcases African-American talent in science,technology, engineering andmath and provides studentswith pathways to lucrativetechnical careers.“It’s an opportunity toconnect at a high level of intelligence and capitalwith business people whoare interested in science,mathematics and engineeringand who never get anopportunity to recognize orconnect with one another,”said DavidSteward, founderand chairman of St. Louis-basedWorldwide Technology Inc.,who attended the event. “Itshows the intellectual capitalin the Black community andthe leadership in the Blackcommunity and the value webring to this society and thiscountry and the world.”Over the past two decades,BEYA has put Black mindstogether with major employerssuch as IBM Corp., BoozAllen Hamilton, RaytheonCo., Boeing, NorthropGrumman, NASA, theNational Security Agencyand the U.S. Navy RecruitingCommand to promote jobopportunities in science,technology, engineering andmath (STEM) elds.The theme of the 2011BEYA STEM Conferencewas “Listen, Learn, Lead.”Throughout the three-day event, students andprofessionals presentedpanel discussions andevents focusing on careerdevelopment, diversityand science, technology,engineering and matheducation.More than 100 companiesand organizations supportingthe rise of young Blacks intotechnical careers were ondisplay at the BEYA Job Fair,one of several recruitment,recognition and retentionevents held at the conference.The Black Engineer of theYear Award, along with otherspresented during the ceremonyon Saturday, recognizes “truepioneers who have achievedexceptional career gains ingovernment and industry, whohave already merited lifetimeachievement recognition,and who have energizedtheir companies and theircommunities alike.”BEYA’s top award, the2011 Black Engineer of the Year, was presented toLloyd Howell, executivevice president of Booz AllenHamilton. Twenty othercategory award winners,including Boeing Senior VicePresident Wanda Denson-Low, were also recognizedfor innovation, careeradvancement and diversityprograms. “Boeing considersdiversity to be a strategicadvantage in attracting thebest talent available andenabling innovation bybringing together differentviewpoints,” said NormaClayton, vice presidentLearning, Training andDevelopment for Boeing.“Many Boeing people havereceived BEYA awards overthe years, and the awards area terric conrmation that weare on the right track.”In Howell’s acceptancespeech, he said he felt honoredto be selected as the 25thBlack Engineer of the Year. “Iwake up everyday excited tomake a difference,” he said.Howell, a Philadelphia native,praised the BEYA cultureand shared a little-knownstory: He was one of theyoung athletes in Jim Ellis’all African-American swimteam, depicted in the 2007lm
starring TerrenceHoward. Howell lauded theinspiration of Ellis’ quietstruggle against racism andbureaucracy.Howell serves as volunteerassistant coach for DC Heat,a youth basketball team.On behalf of Booz AllenHamilton, he has supportedthe United Negro CollegeFund and Lincoln University.His involvement withUNCF is not unusual inthis community. BEYAhas a history of persuadingemployers to recognizethe strength of engineeringdepartments at historicallyBlack colleges anduniversities.The HBCU EngineeringDeans’ Roundtable hasfostered cooperationbetween hiring ofcersand even a new industry-academic partnership: AMIE(Advancing MinoritiesInterest in Engineering).Scholarships, internships,donation of laboratoryequipment and loans of professionals for facultypositions have all come out of the connection.BEYA is the brainchildof Career CommunicationsGroup CEO Tyrone Taborn,who also publishes a numberof diversity titles including
US Black Engineer & InformationTechnology
magazine.“Tyrone’s vision isinextricably linked todemocracy and America’seconomic system, and ourresponsibility to it is realizednot just for Black America,Hispanic America or NativeAmerica but for America,”Ted Childs said.BEYA’s rst event was heldFebruary 1987 at MorganState University in Baltimore.“The timing of theevent was not accidental,”said Eugene M. DeLoatch,veteran dean of the School of Engineering at Morgan Stateand longtime chairman of the Council of EngineeringDeans of Historically BlackColleges and Universities.“It was planned to coincidewith observance of NationalEngineers Week and to servehistorically as a tting tributeto those close to Black HistoryMonth.”Bill Granville was a high-ranking oil executive whenhe attended BEYA in 1987.He led a positive report withMobil. Mobil’s CEO, seeingthat diversity and inclusionmade business sense, wrotea letter to other Fortune500 CEO’s, telling themhe had discovered a talentdevelopment program hethought they should support.The rest, as they say,is history. Top defensecontractor, Lockheed MartinCorp., has co-hosted BEYAfor more than a decade, andcorporate attendance reachesto the executive levels of management.“You see these majorcorporations get excited –Raytheon, Lockheed, Boeing– these major players andtheir CEO’s,” David Stewardsaid. “And they are thereto recognize the signicantcontributions these African-American engineers andleaders not only make tobusiness, but to society.”In the mid-1980s, whenBEYA was initiated, Blackrepresentation among thenation’s 1.6 million engineerswas only 2 percent – 32,000men and women. By the turnof the millennium, manybaby boomers were headingtowards retirement and therewas a need for youngerprofessionals to take theirplace in the workforce.“Demand for qualiedSTEM professionals hasgrown considerably in thepast 25 years, and it will onlycontinue to expand,” saidTaborn. “Our advancementscome from intrepid engineersand technologists, frombusiness executives boldenough to take chances.”And BEYA has becomean important hub for theseintrepid engineers and boldexecutives to connect withone another. “It’s exciting tobe around,” Steward said. “It’scontagious.”
– Additional reporting byGarland L. Thompson
In Praise Of Black Engineers
Where Corporate America Meets and Encourages Black Talent
Executive VicePresident of Booz AllenHamilton LloydHowell, left,received the2011 Black Engineer of theYear Award atthe 25th annualBEYA event inWashington, DCon Feb. 19.
Photo by Glenwood Jackson Studio