Bernard Roberts, a 30-year employee of The Boeing Company, is a bearing, lubrication, and tribology engineer. He won a 2022 award named in honor of Dr. John J. Tracy, who served as chief technology officer and senior vice president of engineering, operations, and technology at Boeing from 2006 through 2016.
The Black Engineer of the Year Awards (BEYA) established the annual legacy awards in 2016, in recognition of the many ways past honorees have shared their knowledge with colleagues, students, and early-career science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) professionals, who carry on their spirit of innovation and collaboration. The John J. Tracy Legacy Award is presented to individuals whose leadership has advanced minorities in the aerospace and aviation industry.
Roberts is an unsung hero. He invented a revolutionary lubricant that literally keeps every commercial airplane in the air running smoothly. As a Boeing designated expert for bearings, he works to reduce friction through the use of lubricants and bearings. He also helps to smooth the path to success for minority engineers, as he removes obstacles with exceptional performance.
“I grew up in the tobacco fields of North Carolina,” Roberts told the audience. ” It was long and hard work. In high school, I ran the one and two-mile track events. No matter what the task was, these events and others instilled in me a strong ethic to always give a hundred percent in everything that I did. The job I have at Boeing is difficult at times, but it’s very rewarding. Especially when you love what you do.”