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When US Black Engineer & Information Technology (USBE&IT) magazine selected Joseph R. Cleveland as one of the ’50 Most Important Blacks in Technology, he was a chief information officer (CIO) and enterprise information systems president at Lockheed Martin Corporation.

USBE‘s most important Blacks in technology are chosen for the annual list based on their work in making technology part of a global society.

Later that year, the honorees gathered at the Black Engineer of the Year Awards (BEYA) STEM Conference to discuss initiatives aimed at increasing Black entrepreneurship, executive development, and educational readiness for the “Digital Economy.”

“My focus is on being an advocate to help us find the next generation of engineers and scientists,” Cleveland told USBE magazine in the spring of 2005. “People like myself have leverage on the environment internally as well as outreach, and we want to make sure that minorities are realizing their potential, in a similar fashion as the majority segment of the workplace.”

Through his selection to the 50 Most Important Blacks in Technology list, Cleveland was presented as a role model and his accomplishments were upheld as examples of the important contributions made on a daily basis by the millions of Blacks in high-tech jobs around the world.

In addition to outlining the IT strategic direction for Lockheed Martin, Cleveland oversaw the corporation’s internal information technology service provider, enterprise information systems, which was responsible for providing tech-based solutions to the corporation’s businesses.

Based in Orlando, Fla., Enterprise Information Systems operated one of the largest Windows NT networks, processed three million e-mail messages per day, and managed over 100 million lines of code to maintain system reliability on a 24×7 schedule.


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In 1968, Cleveland graduated from Tennessee State University with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. The historically Black college and university (HBCU) graduate went on to serve as an engineer with GE’s medical systems division.

By the early 1990s, he was chief information officer (CIO) of GE Aerospace, which was acquired by Martin Marietta Corp, and later merged with Lockheed in 1995. After the merger, Cleveland was named CIO.

In 1996, Cleveland won a career achievement in industry award at the BEYA STEM Conference.

He was recognized for being instrumental in helping the Orlando Economic Development Commission shape its minority business outreach initiative. Cleveland also received plaudits for his work in education, Randy Berridge, former president of the Florida High-Tech Corridor Council, told a local newspaper.

“In many ways, Joe has been at the forefront of why the corridor is successful today,” said Berridge “He has been right in the thick of everything that we’ve done.”

Cleveland also served on the board of the Rollins College Crummer Graduate School of Business, among other organizations. In 2004, CNBC named him one of the nation’s manufacturing-technology leaders. Computerworld magazine listed him as one of the Premier 100 IT Leaders.

“Joe Cleveland has been a strong advocate of innovation, constantly challenging all of us to push the envelope in developing and maintaining a state-of-the-art information technology environment,” Lockheed Martin said in a 2008 statement announcing Cleveland’s retirement. Cleveland retired almost 12 years after taking the helm of Lockheed’s corporate information-technology operation. “Today, Lockheed Martin’s modern, secure IT infrastructure and innovative applications are a testament to his accomplishments.”

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