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The Black Engineer of the Year award is BEYA’s most prestigious discretionary award. During his acceptance speech at the 2024 BEYA STEM Conference, Ken Washington expressed his gratitude for the recognition in his acceptance remarks and thanked the organizers.

He acknowledged that his journey to success was inspired by the many Black Engineers of the Year who had walked the stage before him.

His first experience at the BEYA gala ballroom was almost twenty years ago, and it left him amazed by the sight of so many STEM professionals who looked like him and shared his history.

Washington also mentioned several trailblazers, such as Linda Gooden, Art Johnson, Alicia Boler David, Freeman Hrabowski, Stephanie Hill, and Colin Parris, who had all made significant contributions to their field and society, inspiring countless engineers and aspiring engineers.

Washington acknowledged that his award was not about him but a testament to the people who inspired him and helped him reach his current position.

He encouraged aspiring engineers and those already in the STEM field to seek out someone they admire and learn from them. He underscored the crucial role of building a broad and diverse network of mentors, sponsors, allies, mentees, and colleagues.

He urged young engineers in the audience to stay curious and committed to learning something new, especially in today’s artificial-intelligence-powered and hyper-connected world.

Washington reflected on how this advice had propelled his transformation from a mainframe to a core computing expert, from internal combustion engineers to battery electric vehicles, cars to smart mobility, and smart devices to smart home devices.

He is now part of the team working on technologies like artificial intelligence to surgical-assisted robots that can change the lives of more than two people every second.

Finally, Washington underscored the profound influence of having the right people in your life, especially family, who can nurture and shape your journey in ways that no one else can.

Last summer, Medtronic announced Washington as Chief Technology and Innovation Officer. According to the CEO, Medtronic is a 75-year-old company with 100,000 employees, the world leader in medical technology, but it only had a chief technology officer last year.

Washington leads a team of over 13,000 engineers, scientists, and physicians who deliver products and therapies that advance their mission to alleviate pain, restore health, and extend life. Washington and his team are helping take Medtronic and the whole industry to the next level.

He leads technology development and execution across sectors, including robotics, consumer products, automotive, and space, to accelerate innovation-driven growth in service of the company’s mission.


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