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Thomasina Russell Wright, a program director at HII, broke barriers for minorities. Her motivation came from her supportive daughters. Lamar Garrett, a field element chief in the U.S. Army, thanks his upbringing and colleagues for his achievements. Wole Akinyemi, the executive director at Cummins, has mentored and led teams to develop new technologies.

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Thomasina Russell Wright, a program director at Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII), recently shared how she broke barriers and paved the way for other minorities.  She accepted every obstacle as a challenge and used determination as her driving force.

“I never dreamed about building nuclear-powered ships like aircraft carriers and submarines. Fast forward to today, and I can’t imagine any other journey. I stand before you not just as a role model for females and minorities but for my four daughters. I hope they see my achievements, realize nothing is impossible, and strive for more.”

Lamar Garrett, a field element chief in the Army Combat Capabilities Development Command analysis center, thanked God, his colleagues, and collaborative partners for making his success possible.

“Receiving an award for career achievement makes me reflect upon the past. I recall being teased for my biblical beliefs and practical approach to life. I proved the naysayers wrong by asking God to shape my career path. As so often happens, this took time. Fortunately, I was blessed with leadership traits to help develop my on-tap potential by fostering ideals that translated concepts into achievable objectives: Engineer. Leader and mentor.”

Wole Akinyemi, the executive director of research and technology at Cummins,  has led teams of engineers who have developed engine technology for on-highway vehicles and marine locomotives. He is grateful for the opportunity to manage teams that break boundaries and discover new technologies. He attended conferences like BEYA as a recruiter to find young Black talent for the companies he worked for.

“When I was 10, I promised my mother I would build her a plane. She is still waiting for it. But in the interim, I’m thankful I’ve had the opportunity to lead, mentor, build, shape, and guide. All those steps were essential building blocks to the engineer I am today. I wake up every morning excited at the opportunity to bring my knowledge, experience, and whole self to work on finding solutions that result in cutting-edge products and technologies that improve our environment and lives.”

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