Huntington Ingalls Industries President and CEO Mike Petters spoke at the 27th Black Engineer of the Year (BEYA) Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Conference on Saturday in Washington, D.C. Petters was the keynote speaker at the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Engineering Deans' Power Breakfast, which honors leaders in the STEM fields.
BEYA is the nation's largest annual gathering of STEM professionals and leaders committed to increasing the percentage of underrepresented communities in the technology workforce. The conference is an opportunity for students, business leaders and educators to celebrate and promote academic and professional achievement, network, and recruit new hires.
In his remarks during the breakfast, Petters challenged the conference participants to "do something, no matter how small" to make a difference in a young person's life.
"Sometimes someone's path appears to be predetermined by things you cannot change," he said. "Yet I know from personal experience that the best way to change that path--to influence a person's outcome--is through education.
"That's where you come in. You're engineers. In fact, you are the best and the brightest. You are leaders. You are trained to solve problems. You just might be able to help solve a problem for someone who deserves a chance--just by getting involved. By turning them from one direction to another. By believing in them when maybe no one else does."
Petters emphasized his point by telling stories about four HII employees who make a difference in their Newport News Shipbuilding and Ingalls Shipbuilding communities by tutoring and coaching sports. They were among nine HII employees honored at the conference for their achievements in STEM.
Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) designs, builds and maintains nuclear and non-nuclear ships for the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard and provides after-market services for military ships around the globe. HII also provides a wide variety of products and services to the commercial energy industry and other government customers, including the Department of Energy. Employing about 37,000 in Virginia, Mississippi, Louisiana and California, its primary business divisions are Newport News Shipbuilding and Ingalls Shipbuilding.
For the full text of Petters' speech, visit: