The 2023 Black Engineer of the Year Awards in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Selection Committee has announced the winners of the STEM awards for the thirty-seventh annual Black Engineer of the Year Awards (BEYA). This year’s recognition program attracted nominations from top employers for STEM employees in private and nonprofit sectors and higher education fields.
The winners were selected by a peer review selection committee drawn from a diverse group of scientific and technical leaders and top supporters of the 15 ABET-accredited historically Black colleges.
Hosted by Career Communications Group’s US Black Engineer & Information Technology magazine, the 15-member Council of Historically Black College and University (HBCU) Engineering Deans, and Lockheed Martin Corporation, the 37th annual BEYA STEM Conference will take place Feb. 9-11, 2023, at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Washington, D.C., as well as online on BEYA STEM digital twin experience (DTX).
The three-day event unites thousands of students, college representatives, professionals, and leaders in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). There will be seminars and workshops, networking opportunities, and the conference’s popular career fair, which provides access to leading employers.
The conference will wrap up on Saturday, Feb. 11 with the BEYA Gala, where Colin Parris, Ph.D. will receive the top award as Black Engineer of the Year. Dr. Parris is the senior vice president and chief technology officer of GE Digital. He is recognized for his notable achievements and accomplishments in STEM.
More than 20 years ago, BEYA named its Affirmative Action Award after David Barclay, who served as vice president of workforce diversity at Hughes Aircraft Co. Before that, he was vice president for human resources development. As a corporate advocate and chief officer for workforce diversity in 1990, he was responsible for maximizing Hughes’ commitment to a multicultural workforce. The Dave Barclay Award recognizes efforts to promote affirmative action and diversity management in education, job promotion, small-business development, and community activities.
The 2023 Dave Barclay Affirmative Action awards go to Scott Drach, vice president of human resources for Boeing International and Corporate at The Boeing Company, and Odetta Scott, associate director for indirect procurement at Raytheon Technologies.
Past winners of this award include Kenneth M. Bailey, director of NOAA’s Office of Inclusion and Civil Rights. “Kenny Bailey has done so much to move NOAA forward and to make us a more diverse and inclusive workplace,” said Louisa Koch, director of NOAA Education. “It’s rewarding to see people like Kenny recognized for the important work they do.”
The Dave Barclay Affirmative Action in Government award recognizes Bailey for his work in hiring and retaining minorities in government and his leadership of diversity initiatives. Bailey’s federal career focusing on civil rights and diversity began in 2006 after his retirement from military service. Prior to joining NOAA in 2016, he worked with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. He is a leading practitioner in the areas of Equal Employment Opportunity complaints, strategic recruitment, Affirmative Employment Programs, disability, anti-harassment, special emphasis, mentoring, and outreach programs. Learn more about Bailey and his career path to NOAA below.
Florida A&M University (FAMU) Trustee Craig Reed was also honored with the Dave Barclay Affirmative Action in Industry Award at the recent BEYA STEM Conference. The award recognized Reed’s efforts to promote affirmative action and advancement within an organization in education, job promotion, small-business development, and community activities.
As chief procurement officer for Corteva in Indianapolis, Indiana, Reed has the responsibility to procure products and services that meet the demands of the global Corteva Agriscience business. He is the first chief procurement officer for Corteva and has been instrumental in implementing supplier diversity goals and strategies into the company’s corporate social responsibility plans.
He developed a global center of excellence focused on supplier diversity globally with strategic priorities aligned around sustainability, awareness, recruiting, and awarding business to diverse suppliers and small businesses, establishing teams in North America, Latin America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and the Asia Pacific.
“I am honored and humbled by this award,” said Reed, who credits his alma mater for much of his career success. “FAMU changed my life in so many ways. I am the person I am today as a result of my time on the “Hill.” The faculty, administration, and the pride and joy of being a member of and serving as, a drum major in the Marching “100” instilled in me the importance of “Excellence with Caring.’”
Reed was the immediate past board chair for the Institute for Supply Management and a member of the FAMU Board of Trustees since 2016. He was reappointed in 2020. Reed is the chair of the BOT’s Audit Committee and is responsible for policymaking for the University with oversight of the budget.
“His leadership, service and contributions to our Board of Trustees certainly make him a highly qualified candidate for this recognition. His experiences in the world of business and commitment to integrity have helped to create an environment of accountability and ethical behavior which speak to his personal values as a human being,” said FAMU President Larry Robinson, Ph.D., said in a letter endorsing Reed for the award.
Reed holds a bachelor’s in economics from FAMU and an MBA from Arizona State University. He is also a member of the Board of Directors for the National Minority Supplier Development Council.
Quincy Alexander, who leads the Sensor Integration Branch of the Information Technology Laboratory (ITL), also took home the Dave Barclay Affirmative Action in Government Award.
“Leadership choosing to nominate me for the award really meant a lot, because the diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) work that I have been involved in within ERDC and outside of ERDC has mostly been a labor of love,” Alexander said. “The award validated that the work that I am so passionate about is really making a difference for others, and that is the part that is most important to me.”
About a year ago, Alexander approached ITL leadership with DEI concepts and common barriers to inclusion in the workplace. ITL’s Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity Awareness (IDEA) Council were then stood up with the goal of enhancing the ITL experience for everyone.
“If I can successfully help create an environment where everyone can thrive, then the results would be more rewarding than any award,” Alexander said. “However, at the same time, I felt like I did not deserve the award yet because there is still so much more work in this area to do.”
And for Alexander, that work means doing his part to lead the way for those interested in following in his footsteps.
“For young Black students interested in STEM, I would encourage them to find a solid mentor and try to develop a strong support system,” he said. “More importantly, I would recommend universities put more effort into understanding how to create an environment where all students can flourish and not be burdened by social barriers. One study shows that around 40 percent of Black STEM students change majors before earning a degree and another 26 percent leave college altogether, and the cause is mostly attributed to feelings of exclusion and discrimination, as social factors drive the change.”