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Awards & Lists

The Modern-Day Technology Leaders
By Bruce E. Phillips
Mar 19, 2004, 15:40

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People to Watch As They Rise

The 2004 Black Engineer of the Year Modern-Day Technology Leaders are bright, young, up-and-coming women and men who are shaping the future of engineering, science, and technology. They are the wealth in the pipeline that will help keep the U.S. strong, competitive, and safe in the decades ahead. Although still relatively new to their careers, they are getting noticed already for their accomplishments and their promise.

These remarkable people come from government agencies and research labs, industries representing a wide spectrum of research and commerce, and business and financial companies that rely on technology to produce their products, manage their assets, and serve their customers.

These are the rising stars of our future. Welcome to the future!

The 2004 Modern-Day Technology Leaders

Troy A. Alexander, Ph.D.
Research/Analytical Chemist
U.S. Army Research Laboratory

Alexander I. Anyaegbunam
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Alaska District

Michael A. Avery
Flight Controls Systems Electronics & Sensors Integrated Product Team Lead
Boeing Integrated Defense Systems

Charles F. Bass Jr.
Client Sales Executive

Jerome C. Bell
Senior Engineering Specialist
Baxter Healthcare Corporation

Regina B. Blue, Ed.D.
NASA Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center

Darius Bonton
Engineer Associate
Northrop Grumman Corporation

Joseph H. Bowman Jr.
Manager, Concurrent Engineering, Renal Division
Baxter Healthcare Corporation

James E. Carson
Team Leader, Brunswick Primary Operations
Hercules Incorporated, Pinova Division

Denny Carter
Information Analyst, GM Global Product Development Solution Center

Matilda Carter
Electronics Engineer, Software Engineering Division
Warner Robins Air Logistics Center

Aaron Chiles
Electronics Engineer
Warner Robins Air Logistics Center

Royce A. Colvin
Team Leader, Work Process Redesign
Hercules Incorporated, Pinova Division

April Cunningham
Software Engineer
Mitretek Systems, Inc.

Marsha C. Dawson
Chief, Information Management Planning and Requirements
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Juaná S. Derrick
Parsons Brinckerhoff Construction Services

Ida Dias-Hall
Senior Electrical Engineer
Parsons Brinckerhoff Inc.

Michael J. Emanuel
Embedded Software Engineer - 4, Center for Integrated Defense Simulation
The Boeing Company

Paul Finley
Staff Software Engineer
IBM Corporation

Phoebe T. Hammonds
Software Engineer, zSeries Level 2 Software Service
IBM Corporation

Kenroy Hinkson
Project Manager
Entergy Services, Inc.

Kamili T. Hitchmon
Civil Engineer
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Stacy D. Humes
Civil Engineer
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Savannah District

Michael G. Ingram
Senior Computer Specialist
Northrop Grumman Corporation

McKinley James
Production Supervisor
General Motors Corporation

Jody Joyner
Advisory Engineer
IBM Corporation

Brian T. Kelley, Ph.D.
Distinguished Member of the Technical Staff, Advanced Technology
Motorola, Inc.

Nia Kelley
Staff Engineer/Scientist, Global Firmware Development
IBM Systems Group

Lee L. Kellough III
Manager, Transmission Engineering Services
Entergy Services, Inc.

Jean-Yvon Lauriston
Consulting Principal
Computer Sciences Corporation

Terrence B. McCloud
Manufacturing Controls Engineer
General Motors Corporation

Michelle P. Milburn
TECD Microcontroller ARM Core Program Manager
Motorola Semiconductor Product Sector TSPG

Glen V. Miller
Senior Systems Engineer
Entergy Operations Incorporated

Ellen D. Montgomery
Senior Strategic Planning Engineer
Air Force Research Laboratory

Keneilwe M. Mophiring
CRM Consultant
EDS South Africa

Mamadou Ndiaye
Staff Software Engineer
IBM Corporation

Beverly D. Neff
Work Planning Supervisor
Entergy Operations Incorporated

Ugochukwu Njoku-Charles
Development Engineer
IBM Systems Group

1st Lt. Kathryn T. Parker, USAF
Spacecraft Control Systems Engineer, Space Vehicles Directorate
Air Force Research Laboratory

Manfred P. Patterson
Information Technology Specialist, Systems Administration
Federal Bureau of Investigation

Sonya Patton
Vice President
MBNA America

Arvin T. Poole
Staff Engineer
IBM Systems Group

Billy R. Robinson
Senior Software Engineer, High Performance Computing Solutions Development
IBM Systems Group

Byron L. Simpson Jr.
Computer and Software Engineer
NASA Dryden Flight Research Center

Michael B. Smith
Manager, Information Technology – IT Learning Group
Cisco Systems, Inc.

Valarie H. Smith
Contract Negotiator, Engineering Technician
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Alaska District

Clarence E. Thomas
Team Leader, Technical Engineering Team
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mississippi Valley Division

Thomas S. Tubbs
Body Shop Maintenance, General Foreman
General Motors North American Operations

Zephaniah Varley, P.E.
Senior Construction Engineer
Parsons Brinckerhoff Inc.

Michael A. Ware
Regulatory Project Manager
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Tulsa District

Olice E. Williams
Civil Engineer
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District

Johnny Wilson
Senior Information Technology Recruiter, Human Resources, Corporate Staffing Group
SunTrust Banks, Inc.

Ronald R. Wilson
Program Director
Northrop Grumman Corporation

Raquelle Wooten, A.P.A.
Supervising Planner
Parsons Brinckerhoff Inc.

Stacy L. Young
Senior Circuit Designer

Ellen Montgomery
Government service requires a blend of technology and management skills that often differ markedly from the skill sets in private enterprise. Consider the military and civilian aerospace leaders. Civilian engineer Ellen D. Montgomery works for the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. Montgomery, a B.S.E.E. from Hampton University, is a strategic planner in the Plans and Programs Directorate, where she is responsible for developing the Air Force's science and technology investment strategy for the future. She leads a team representing all of the organization's divisions. Her contributions to the science and technology plan will make a direct impact on the discovery, development, and integration of affordable warfighting technologies for U.S. aerospace forces in the future. She earned her bachelor's degree in 1989, and has worked for the Air Force ever since.

Ist Lt. Kathryn T. Parker
Air Force 1st Lt. Kathryn T. Parker works at the other end of that pipeline, as a spacecraft control systems engineer at the Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles Directorate at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M. She leads an $8-million, 30-person, multinational technology effort that combines the systems that control the pointing of a satellite with those that store energy. This work has resulted in systems that provide 25 times more energy storage than do batteries, with eight times the pointing precision, at one-tenth of the weight, saving the Air Force $5 million per satellite. She earned her degree in aerospace engineering at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and was commissioned in 2001.

Biotech Joins the Army

Dr. Troy A. Alexander won his Ph.D. in analytical chemistry from Marquette University in 2000 with a dissertation on "Analytical Applications of Acousto-Optic Tunable Filters." Since then, he has worked at the Army Research Laboratory in Adelphi, Md., where he already is making a name for himself in original research. He demonstrated the first simultaneous exploitation of optical trapping and surface-enhanced Raman-scattering for the discrimination of bacterial spores at the strain level. He also developed a novel optical tweeze-based detection system to perform single particle spectroscopy and a novel method for identifying bacterial spores. All of this work was designed to help detect biological weapons.

Dr. Alexander relaxes from his day job in surprising ways: He's a rodeo bull rider in his spare time, a member of the Professional Rodeo and Cowboy Association who has won more than 100 awards during a 14-year rodeo career. He has also broken his jaw and cracked a cheekbone.
Corps Competencies

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has some of the most interesting blends of skills. Nigerian-born Alexander I. Anyaegbunam, an architect, received his degree from Howard University. He joined the Corps as an intern in 1998, and already is a GS-12 civil servant with a reputation for balancing technical and leadership responsibilities. He now is lead architect on a $45-million barracks project in Alaska.

Marsha C. Dawson recently was named chief of the Corps' Information Management Planning and Requirements Branch in Mobile, Ala. She manages a budget of more than $4 million and is credited with implementing a new process for providing IT support to more than 22 remotely located field offices, establishing direct communications with field office and resident engineers, and improving communications between construction and management divisions within her region and other areas.

A Civil Push

Kamili T. Hitchmon
Kamili T. Hitchmon is a civil engineer in the Corps' Jacksonville, Fla., district. The civilian joined up in July 2002 as an intern after his December 2001 graduation from Florida A&M University with a B.Sc. degree in civil engineering. He oversees projects as part of a multimillion-dollar Defense Environmental Restoration Program in the district, and he is credited with developing templates for managing projects and data that will be used throughout the district's Program and Project Management Division as a guide for upcoming projects. He is pursuing a master's degree in civil engineering in the evenings.

Stacy D. Humes is a civil engineer for the Corps' Savannah District. She started in August 2002 as assistant project engineer on a $39-million barracks replacement complex at Fort Benning, Ga. After six months, she bumped up to project engineer, as an intern, and successfully completed the work.

Up the Steep Slopes

Valerie H. Smith
Valarie H. Smith began as a clerk and worked her way all the way to draftswoman and, finally, contract negotiator and engineering technician in the Corps' Alaska District. Born and raised in the 50th state, the University of Alaska alumnae understands well what it takes to get a complicated job completed. During construction of the Trans-Alaska Oil Pipeline, she worked as a teamster, driving trucks between Anchorage and the North Slope oil fields. In addition to her regular duties, she has served as Black Program manager, EEO counselor, and recruiter to promote minority inclusion in hiring and promotion of engineers and architects.

Clarence E. Thomas is a technical engineering team leader in the Mississippi Valley Division's Technical Engineering and Construction Division. He also functions as a technical advisor to the commanding general and the commanders of six Corps District Offices managing development from the Canadian Border to the Gulf of Mexico. He is credited with a number of contributions in river engineering and has spearheaded an effort to evaluate geomorphic trends in the Mississippi River that documents changes in channel geometry and sedimentation. He's also a colonel in the Army Reserves. Thomas has worked on military construction projects in Germany, Vietnam, and Korea. The Mississippi native earned his B.Sc. in civil engineering from Mississippi State University.

Regulating the Shores

Michael A. Ware
Michael A. Ware, regulatory project manager in the Tulsa District, is a senior project manager who is known for his expertise in complex and sometimes controversial regulatory cases spanning all levels of compliance, especially in the protection of area wetlands.

Olice E. Williams is a civil engineer with the Corps' Jacksonville District, where his duties include researching historical data for the coastal shoreline of Volusia County, Fla., to see if the Corps should become involved in a project to help protect against hurricane and storm damage. He was hired about three years ago as a co-op student while attending Florida A&M University, where he earned his B.Sc. in civil engineering.


The FBI, America's high-profile crime-fighting agency, relies heavily on technology, and its IT capabilities are among the world's best.

One person who helps make this possible is Manfred P. Patterson, an information technology specialist for systems administration at the agency's Washington, D.C., headquarters. Since joining up in 1988, he has held a number of positions, including as lead security assistant for the Criminal Investigation Division's General Background Unit. In 1992, he became the first African-American computer specialist for the Information Resource Division, charged with supporting clients using FBI desktops and servers. He earned a B.Sc. in business management from Hampton University, with a concentration in information systems technology.

Highest Flyers

When it comes to creating advanced technology, NASA leads the field. The world's leading space agency is proud of its young tech stars.

Take, for example, Regina B. Blue, Ed.D., mathematician and scientist. Dr. Blue is an aerospace technologist working in flight systems operations at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. Still at the beginning of her engineering career, she is the first female African American to cochair the Shuttle Data Control Board and to chair the Data Test and Operations Board for the Missions Operations Directorate in the Space Shuttle program. She previously was involved in helping design the International Space Station.

Byron L. Simpson Jr.
Another example is Byron L. Simpson Jr., who interned at the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center for two summers while still an undergraduate at North Carolina A&T State University. He maintained a 3.48 grade point average, while finding time to serve as regional chair and national board member of the National Society of Black Engineers, work as a student instructor, help the college as a student recruiter, and remain active in church ministries.

Simpson so impressed NASA's management he was hired by the research center immediately after graduation and today works as a computer/software engineer, creating and updating the software systems of flight simulators.

Unsung Heroes

Matilda Carter serves near the front line in the War on Terrorism as software project manager for the Air Force's AC-130H Gunship software support team at Warner Robins Air Logistics Center. Her expertise in computer architecture is credited as instrumental in accomplishing a major upgrade to the gunship's software, which revamped it to run a more modern and maintainable flight computer. And she did it at a cost to the government that was hundreds of thousands of dollars less than bids received from private contractors. Her efforts earned her an Air Force Team Notable Achievement Award in 2001.

Aaron Chiles
Aaron Chiles is an electronics engineer at the Warner Robins F-15 Operational Flight Program Branch. Although he is a new team member, he was quickly named lead programmer for a complex C++ software project to support a radar test bench computer system modification, completing the project ahead of schedule, with minimal support, and under budget.

Perhaps it's not surprising that he was a 1998-2001 dean's list student at Mercer University in Macon, Ga., where he earned a B.S.E.E. in 2002.



Working for Profit

The diverse and vital roles technology and science play in America are illustrated clearly by the scope of Modern-Day Technology Leaders in private industry.

Joseph H. Bowman Jr. is manager of Concurrent Engineering for Baxter Healthcare Corporation's Renal Division, overseeing manufacturing startup of new products and processes around the globe. A licensed professional engineer, he holds seven patent applications and one issued patent. In addition, his peers have presented him with four achievement awards. He has completed his M.B.A. and has finished the in-house Six-Sigma quality training program and numerous outside training courses. Never content to sit still, Bowman enjoys bicycling, hiking, tennis, and motorcycle touring.

Jerome C. Bell is a process engineer specializing in the sterilization of medical devices and pharmaceutical products at Baxter Healthcare. As a senior engineering specialist, he manages the Renal Sterilization Technology Group to support the manufacture of end-stage kidney disease. It may come as no surprise that he earned a B.Sc. degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, but more of a surprise to learn he is an ordained Baptist minister, serving as pastor of junior church, youth leader, Sunday school teacher, and Bible study instructor.

Flying on the Edge

You might say Michael A. Avery was born to work at The Boeing Company. Both of his parents enjoyed long careers with the company, and Avery himself signed on in Philadelphia while still in college. He loves helicopters, and working at Boeing has given him the opportunity to work on some of the best. His first projects were the Chinook and V-22 Osprey programs. Today, he is a senior engineer and the Electronics and Sensors Integrated Product Team lead for Air Vehicle Flight Controls Systems on the Army's RAH-66 Comanche program. He leads a core team managing six program suppliers and contributing in excess of $40 million in assets to the company.

Michael J. Emanuel was trained as an electrical engineer and today works as an embedded software engineer in Boeing's Center for Integrated Defense Simulation. He is team leader developing a manned flight simulator for the F/A-18E/F aircraft, with a budget of $2.3 million and a staff of five engineers plus a support staff. The simulator will serve as an avionics test bed for all future upgrades to the aircraft.

Training for Excellence

Michael B. Smith began his career as a trainer with Apple Computer, Inc. in 1987, and made the move to Cisco Systems, Inc. in 1996 to become the company's Advanced Technology Training Program manager for information systems. He also planned the rollout of advanced technology training courses and worked with company managers world-wide to conduct needs analysis and skills assessments. Since April 2002, he has served as chief of the Information Technology Learning Group, managing technical training teams and programs for the U.S., Australia, China, and Japan.

Jean-Yvon Lauriston
Jean-Yvon Lauriston is a computer scientist with bachelor's degrees in math and computer science from McGill University. He works as a consulting principal for Computer Sciences Corporation, where he now is project lead, architect, and technical lead on a compensation-analysis project for a Chinese insurance company. Before joining CSC, he developed a workers' compensation database system that streamlined processes for the City of Montreal. His work has earned him recognition within the company for "flexibility, teamwork, and technology strength."

Engineering the Autos

Charles F. Bass Jr. is a client sales executive for EDS, working with automotive suppliers in Michigan. Previously, he was a technical services manager for the group, responsible for delivering engineering services to a Fortune Magazine Global 500 company, Delphi Corporation. One of his key activities was developing cycle-time reduction templates for clients' engineering and manufacturing facilities throughout the Midwest.

Denny Carter began his career with EDS in 1991, as a pre-college summer intern, and continued throughout college. After graduating in 1997, he joined EDS full time as an information associate on the General Motors account in Troy, Mich., and later served as a technical analyst. He now is responsible for providing technical support and project coordination for the Global Product Description system, a corporate common mainframe computer system for product engineering. His team is responsible for providing "24 x 7" customer and technical support to ensure GM engineering is operational around the world. He earned his bachelor's degree in business administration from Talladega College, in Alabama, and now is working toward an M.B.A. in technology management at the University of Phoenix.

Database, IT Pros

Keneilwe Mpho Mophiring was born and raised in Soweto, a township of Johannesburg in South Africa. Educated there in information systems and commerce, she joined EDS in 1996 as part of the SAP implementation division. She was one of the first three graduates to complete the highly competitive EDS Systems Engineer Development program in Plano, Texas.

She left EDS in 1999 to pursue other business opportunities, returning to the company in 2003 as senior information specialist. Her activities have since focused on solution design and costing, project management, and integration management.

In the high-risk business of forecasting prices for gas and coal supplies, Kenroy Hinkson is considered an expert. As a project manager in Entergy Services, Inc.'s Systems Planning group, the Woodlands, Texas, native is responsible for identifying and developing alternatives for operational issues, along with providing analytical support for gas, wholesale power, and coal supply purchases and assisting in developing the company's plan for meeting customer demand. He prepares forecasts of coal and wholesale power prices and evaluates supply, storage, and transpiration contracts for fuel. He holds an M.B.A. degree from Texas A&M University and a master of engineering degree in mechanical engineering from the Stevens Institute of Technology.

Energy Planners

Lee L. Kellough III helps Entergy Services determine the best locations for energy transmission sites, in his capacity as manager of the Transmission Engineering Services group, a position he has held since June 2002. He joined Entergy in 1995 as part of the company's 18-month-long engineering development program. He then was assigned the position of transmission system planner, performing regional transmission reliability studies. In addition, he coordinated maintenance and construction schedules across the company's control area. Kellough holds a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Texas A&M - Kingsville and is a registered professional engineer in Texas.

Glen V. Miller
Glen V. Miller is considered a standout among his peers in engineering, and it's a good thing for all of us. As senior engineer for Nuclear Steam Supply Systems at Entergy's River Bend Nuclear Station, he faces technical challenges required to ensure the safe and reliable operation of the plant. He is credited with identifying equipment manipulations that exercise the reactor control rods, resulting in more efficient plant startup, shorter refueling outages, and reduction of lost revenue caused by loss of power production. His degree in mechanical engineering came from Southern University.



Keeping the Lights On

Beverly Neff
Beverly D. Neff is another success story at Entergy's River Bend nuclear facility, where she serves as supervisor of work planning. She coordinates the activities of 12 employees responsible for planning the day-to-day and station refueling outage activities. Since earning a B.S.E.E. degree from Southern University, she has progressed within Entergy from an entry-level engineer to senior engineer, becoming a supervisor of engineering within the procurement engineering group in May 2001.

McKinley James graduated magna cum laude from Alabama A&M University with a B.Sc. degree in mechanical engineering technology. Joining GM in 2001 as an associate manufacturing engineer, he rose to manufacturing engineer in just one year. In just two years, he has excelled in the company's Corvette/Cadillac facility. Along with addressing manufacturing problems, he coordinates a team of skilled craft workers in designing and building unique tools for assembly line operators, gaining note in his performance as production supervisor by generating productivity and quality gains. 

More GM Stars

Terrence B. McCloud
Terrence B. McCloud began working for GM in 1998 as a summer intern in the Controls, Robots, and Welding Department. After graduating in 1999 from the University of Missouri-Rolla with a degree in electrical engineering, he was hired as an associate engineer in the same organization. He was promoted to manufacturing engineering in 2000, assigned to project management responsibility of the controls systems for 40 tools on the Cadillac CTS program. Now, he is the controls subject matter expert responsible for all operator-assist tools within the Lansing Grand River Assembly Plant, where he has led development of the template designs for most of the tools. While working full time as a GM manufacturing engineer, he also is pursuing an M.Sc. degree in vehicle engineering from Purdue University.

Thomas S. Tubbs is a general foreman of body shop maintenance at GM's Lordstown assembly plant in Ohio, the largest single-line automotive assembly plant in the world. He is responsible for all maintenance and engineering activities for a facility that is responsible for producing 495 vehicles every shift, and oversees maintenance of more than 300 robots required to make the approximately 2,000 spot welds in the body assembly of Chevrolet Cavaliers and Pontiac Sunfires. He earned his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering in 1997, from Youngstown State University.

Process Controllers

James E. Carson began his career with specialty chemical maker Hercules Incorporated as a process engineer, fresh out of the Minority Engineering Development program at Drexel University, where he earned a B.Sc. in chemical engineering. Now, he is a team leader for Hercules at its Brunswick, Ga., primary operations facility. In between, he has held positions in process engineering, project engineering, operations, marketing, and sales. He is credited with developing procedures that have saved the company millions of dollars in operating costs and yield recovery.

Royce A. Colvin earned his B.Sc. in chemical engineering at Georgia Tech before joining Hercules as a process engineer. Today, he is team leader, Work Process Redesign, where he has helped reduce total corporate fixed costs and material handling costs significantly. He has worked in production and process design enhancements at several Hercules plants in Mississippi, Virginia, and Georgia.

Anita Sharp
Just three years out of Southwest Texas University, where she obtained her B.Sc. in physics, Anita Sharp is already garnering kudos from her supervisors at Motorola, Inc. As a process engineer in the company's Dan Noble Center fabrication facility in Austin, Texas, she focuses on what is called chemical mechanical polishing (CMP), or the flattening and planing of material surfaces, and is in charge of quality control of these processes. Her conversion of the chemicals used in the plant have produced an annual savings of $1 million, which may help explain why her supervisors are so fond of her. What's more, she improved the efficiency of the factory's metal scrubbers and, through her work on the plant scrap board, helped the group obtain the lowest scrap levels in plant history, earning her the honorific title of plant "scrap champion." And she's just getting started!

Network Skills

Paul Finley leads the Network Installation Manager (NIM) Team in IBM Corporation's AIX Software Development Organization, responsible for the success of IBM's network installation solution. He recently accomplished a large-scale programming project that involves increasing the security of the network traffic that passes between an NIM client and the NIM server. He attended Tennessee State University, graduating magna cum laude in computer science in 1996. He then obtained his M.Sc. in computer science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in 1999, and worked at IBM as a co-op, a research intern, and a software developer, before joining the company in 1999. He has been team lead since 2001.

Phoebe T. Hammonds is a software engineer valued by IBM's zSeries software service team for her critical skill in Java. She joined IBM in 1999, after completing her B.Sc. in computer science and mathematics at Rutgers University, and has quickly established herself as a technical focal point for clients. She also has earned her master's degree in management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

High-Speed Advice

Jody Joyner, an advisory engineer with IBM, has been instrumental in advancing high-speed intra-processor communication as a lead design engineer for the IBM Power4 and Power5 processors. He developed mechanisms that dramatically increased the efficiency and bandwidth of data transmitted within the system. He has been granted 35 patents and has an additional 12 pending. He now is lead engineer in charge of hardware validation and debug for the Power5 storage subsystem. He holds both bachelor's and master's degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Texas.
Nia Kelley has made a significant impact since joining IBM only three years ago. She works as a staff engineer/scientist, but she is already the Global Firmware Development team lead on next-generation system design -- a position normally given only to veteran developers. She works hard for IBM, and she also works hard after business hours. As a fitness instructor at a local gym, she is training for her first-ever fitness competition and no doubt will demonstrate the same drive and determination that won her notice at IBM.

Server Professionals

Mamadou Ndiaye provides software technical support to IBM customers world-wide who run on the zOS operating system. He performs software problem analysis, documents problems in a tracking database, and provides solutions. Before joining IBM in 1998, he taught mathematics at a community college. He received his M.A. degree in statistics from Columbia University and his M.Sc. in computer science from Polytechnic University.

Ugochukwu Njoku-Charles is making important contributions to IBM's eServer virtualization technology, important for the scalable OnDemand computing required by the IT industry. A development engineer, his particular area of expertise is dynamic reconfiguration, where he is coinventor of two filed patents. Born and raised in Nigeria, he received his M.Sc. degree in electrical engineering, with a concentration in communication networks, from Clarkson University, in December 2000.

Bullish on Storage

Arvin T. Poole is a technical operations specialist at IBM in San Jose, Calif., now working as a technical assistant to the vice president of the Systems Group, Storage Software Development. His task is to drive operational efficiency and accelerate the execution of the IBM Total/Storage Virtualization Family strategy. Most recently, he was the business team leader of two high-growth projects in the Extreme Blue internship program, IBM's incubator for talent, technology, and business innovation. Poole received a B.S.E.E. from the University of Alabama in Huntsville in 1998, an M.B.A. from the University of Arizona in 2001, and a master's certification in project management from the George Washington University in 2002.

Billy R. Robinson, senior software engineer, is IBM's lead technical liaison with software developers and customers who purchase and use the company's High Performance Computing Platforms to enhance their search for oil and gas reserves. He has been instrumental in successful deployment of seismic processing systems for almost every major U.S. oil company and many other national petroleum companies and sites world-wide. An innovator in the field of 3D seismic processing software optimization, he has a patented software parallelization method for the oil and gas exploration industry.



Web Designer

April Cunningham
April Cunningham, a Mitretek Systems, Inc. software engineer, received a computer science degree with a minor in Spanish from the University of Maryland in December 2000. She already has served as technical lead on the design and implementation of Web sites for the State of Arizona that allow claimants to file for unemployment benefits online. She received an unsolicited award from the state for her performance on the project.

Stacy L. Young
Stacy L. Young has been a telecommunications engineer since graduating from Prairie View A&M University in December 1993, with a B.Sc. degree in electrical engineering. Today, she holds the title of international provisioning senior circuit designer I/team lead at MCI, which is to say she is interim manager for the company's Asia Pacific GDL and IPL provisioning teams, among other duties. As a team leader, she supervises five others who work with sales to help customers build their private networks. Her technical knowledge of products and provisioning systems, her ability to handle circuit engineering designs, and her knowledge of international transmission equipment make her a leader of MCI's Global Engineering Division.

Wireless Wizardry

Brian Kelley
Brian T. Kelley, Ph.D. is a distinguished member of the Technical Staff for Motorola, Inc., working within the advanced technology organization of the company's Wireless and Mobile System Group. He is also an adjunct professor in the electrical and computer engineering department of the University of Texas-Austin. His interests are in the creation of advanced wireless communication systems, software radios, and other alternative communications systems. He has received six U.S. patents and has four patents pending. He joined Motorola as a senior research scientist in 1992, after receiving his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Georgia Tech.

Michelle P. Milburn is project lead at Motorola for a 32-bit ARM core device used in various automotive body and chassis applications. She also has served for the last two years as the 32-bit embedded controller division diversity champion, working to create an inclusive workplace. She joined Motorola as part of the company's Engineering Rotation Program in 1992, after earning her B.S.E.E. degree from Texas A&M University in College Station.

Shipbuilding Expertise

Darius Bonton
A Louisiana native and new graduate of Southern University, Darius Bonton is an engineer associate at Northrop Grumman Corporation's Ship Systems division in New Orleans, where he works as a structural engineer responsible for the design, analysis, and construction of the steel structure of oceangoing vessels for both commercial industry and the U.S. Navy.

Ronald R. Wilson
Ronald R. Wilson, a program director for Northrop Grumman Ship Systems' Contracted Research and Development division, began in the company's pipefitting apprenticeship program and, upon completion, was named "Outstanding Apprentice" of his four-year class. He then was accepted into the company's co-op program, allowing him to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering, which he earned with honors from Mississippi State University. Today, as a program manager, his responsibilities continue to expand to include pursuing new business opportunities for the company while overseeing key R&D programs.

Michael G. Ingram
Northrop Grumman Information Technology's Michael G. Ingram provides software and hardware support to the Air Force Satellite Control Network, from launch and early orbit through end-of-life testing. His daily tasks include ensuring computer system availability and troubleshooting system problems and finding ways to work around them. His current title is manager, Information Systems 2. He developed an initial interest in his field as a satellite systems controller on active duty with the Air Force.

Construction Specialists

Juana S. Derrick
Juaná S. Derrick is a scheduler in the Construction Services division of Parsons Brinckerhoff Inc., a large engineering and construction company. She plays a pivotal role in the company, by developing and updating the master program schedule for major design, engineering, and construction projects that range in price from $250,000 to more than $250,000,000. She received a B.Sc. degree in civil engineering from Howard University in May 2000, and now works on projects for the company in the Washington, D.C., area.

Ida Dias-Hall
Ida Dias-Hall is a senior electrical engineer with more than 11 years of experience at Parsons Brinckerhoff. She earned her B.S.E.E. from Pratt Institute and completed certification in building electrical systems design and electrical estimating at New York University. She has performed condition assessments, electrical and lighting design, cable inspections, and energy surveys for some of New York City's most prestigious construction projects.

Zephaniah "Zeph" Varley, P.E.
Zephaniah "Zeph" Varley, P.E. is a Parsons Brinckerhoff senior construction engineer with a surprising range of experience for one so early in his career. His projects include the Boston Central Artery, better known to the public as the "Big Dig" -- the largest civil engineering project in the U.S. to date -- and a vast underground sewage system for Los Angeles, which requires tunnels to be cut in an earthquake zone. He received his B.Sc. from the University of Michigan in 1995 and his M.Sc. from Northeastern University in 2001, both in civil engineering.

Raquelle Wooten
Raquelle Wooten is a supervising planner in Parsons Brinckerhoff's Houston office, where she has developed expertise in transportation planning, including public involvement, travel demand forecasting, and Clean Air Act rules. She frequently is the designated communication specialist, chosen to disseminate difficult technical information to the community and elected officials. She is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and is a candidate for an M.Sc. degree in sociology.

Technology in Finance
Sonya Patton is a vice president and technical project manager within MBNA America's Supervision and Regulation Division in Newark, Del. She joined the financial company in 1997, after serving with the Air Force and the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, and has progressed to management of technical projects focused on new business ventures. She was technology project lead on the launch of the company's Customer Relationship Management Initiative and implemented the Customer Relationship Center, among other projects. She holds a degree in management information systems from Drexel University and is pursuing an M.B.A.

Johnny Wilson, senior information technology recruiter for SunTrust Banks, Inc. in Atlanta, has built a reputation as an ambassador for change. Over his nine years in technical recruiting, he has performed consulting roles for MCI WorldCom, now MCI, and Siemens Electromechanical Components. He is credited with increasing diversity hires within SunTrust by 15 percent in 2003 and increasing the number of minority vendors and corporate partnerships at the financial institution. Wilson began his career as a systems administrator for MCI, later moving into a recruiting role in which he could combine his skills in technology and relationship-building.


First Annual Branch Award Presented to NASA's Regina Blue

Regina B. Blue, Ed.D., of NASA's Johnson Space Center, has been named the first recipient of the Michael D. Branch Modern-Day Technology Leadership Award.

This newly established award honors Michael Dariell Branch Sr., a Storage Technology Corporation engineer who lost his life last year when his vehicle collided with a police car that was responding to an emergency call. Branch had received the 2003 Modern-Day Technology Leadership honor in recognition of his career accomplishments and value as a role model. At StorageTek, he initiated a number of diversity programs and led many of the company's community outreach activities.

Born and raised in Houston, Texas, Dr. Blue found an early interest in health sciences and entered the University of Houston as a premed major. She soon found that her greater interest was in the natural sciences, however, and changed her focus to science and technology disciplines.

Her retentive mind and leadership abilities made her a conspicuous success in her academic endeavors, where she was often the only black student. She completed her undergraduate studies with the help of a NASA fellowship, earning a B.Sc. degree from the University of Houston, and two years later earned her M.Sc. in mathematics and instructional technology from the same university. She received her doctor of education degree in 2001, from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., where she concentrated in leadership, instructional design, and human resource management.

She is especially proud of her work overseeing NASA's joint projects with historically black colleges and universities, including Prairie View A&M and North Carolina A&T State Universities.

To read more about The Modern-Day Technology Leaders see The Modern-Day Technology Leaders in the USBE News archive.

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