Launched in 2016 during the 30th annual BEYA STEM Conference, the Legacy Awards are named after past Black Engineers of the Year.
Legacy awards include the Linda Gooden Legacy Award for Entrepreneurship, the Albert J. Edmonds Legacy Award in Federal IT, the Joe N. Ballard Legacy Award for Public Engineering Services, the Dr. John Brooks Slaughter Legacy Award for Higher Education and Leadership, the Anthony R. James Legacy Award in the Utilities category, the William R. Wiley Award for Research, and the Walt W. Braithwaite Award for Aviation.
Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll take a look at past and current legacy award winners. (ICYMI: click here for Part 1).
The Rodney C. Adkins Legacy Award is named for BEYA’s 2007 Black Engineer of the Year. Adkins was the first Black senior vice president and corporate officer at IBM.
His 30-year career was highlighted by leading global teams, managing billion-dollar business units, and delivering product innovations and enterprise solutions. Adkins held several senior vice president roles at IBM, where he was responsible for developing strategies for a new era of computing, new markets, and new clients.
Patty J. Meggs, a senior manager for global solutions and sales operations at AT&T, was one of the inaugural Rodney Adkins Legacy Award for Business Transformation winners in 2017. Verett Mims, assistant treasurer for global treasury operations at The Boeing Company, won the award in 2018.
The following year, two engineers won the award at the BEYA STEM Conference. They were Felicia Jones, a global electric vehicle product engineering manager at Ford Motor Company, and Paul F. McKenzie, a technical specialist working in the tracked combat vehicles software modernization program at General Dynamics Land Systems.
In 2020, the Rodney Adkins Legacy Award went to Kierra Smith, a senior software engineer in information security engineering at Walmart.
The 2021 Rodney Adkins Legacy Award goes to David Williams, director for program/project management at AT&T.
John D. Harris II is the 2010 Black Engineer of the Year. In 2021, the Legacy Award named for him goes to Keith Burrell, an Engineering Fellow at Raytheon Technologies.
In November 2020, Flex announced that Harris has joined the company’s board of directors. Flex delivers supply chain and manufacturing solutions to diverse industries and end markets.
Most recently, Harris served as vice president of business development for Raytheon Company and CEO of Raytheon International, Inc. In this role, he was responsible for worldwide sales and marketing, international business, and government relations operations functions. He was also responsible for developing and leading the execution of Raytheon’s global business strategy. Mr. Harris joined Raytheon in 1983.
Throughout his career, he held positions of increasing responsibility, including vice president of operations and contracts for Raytheon’s former electronic systems business, vice president of contracts for the company’s government and defense businesses, and vice president of contracts and supply chain for Raytheon Company.
In 2010, he was named president of Raytheon Technical Services Company (RTSC), the same year he received the prestigious Black Engineer of the Year Award. Harris also served as general manager of Raytheon’s intelligence, information and services business, where he was responsible for the consolidation of the former RTSC with Raytheon’s intelligence and information systems business.
Harris has served on the NextGen Advisory Committee of the Radio Technical Committee for Aeronautics (RTCA), the Board of the USO of Metropolitan Washington, D.C., the National Advisory Council on Minority Business Enterprise with the U.S. Department of Commerce, and was a member of the Council of Trustees for the Association of the United States Army.
From 2007-2008, he served as Raytheon’s executive diversity champion, leading the Executive Diversity Leadership Team and providing strategic direction for the company’s overall diversity and inclusion efforts. Harris received his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Boston University.