The Black Engineer of the Year Awards (BEYA) is an annual event that celebrates the contributions of professionals in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
The success of the event is due to the thousands of volunteers who contribute to it every year. Among these volunteers are nominees for various STEM awards, including the General Johnnie E. Wilson Award.
This award is presented to a few trailblazing professionals at the Historically Black College and Engineering Deans Recognition Event during the BEYA STEM Conference.
At the 37th annual BEYA STEM Conference, William J. Croghan was presented with the General Johnnie E. Wilson Award by retired United States Army four-star Army General Johnnie E. Wilson himself.
Croghan was recognized for his passion for STEM, which began unintentionally but became a constant throughout his education, military career, and professional life.
With degrees in math and computer science, Croghan has spent over 35 years in engineering in the military and civilian sectors. He is currently a senior principal systems engineer at BAE Systems, where he has worked with the warfighter to develop new technologies. As a result, he has fulfilled his promise to the warfighters by delivering on their needs.
The award is named after General Johnnie E. Wilson, who is known for exemplifying a can-do and will-do attitude. Croghan spoke about how Wilson leads by example while creating an environment for all people.
He expressed his gratitude for being recognized with Wilson’s Legacy Award, saying that he promised his fellow and future warfighters to advocate, push boundaries, and promote technology that would give them a tactical advantage.
Croghan also shared a quote from Babe Ruth, “Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game,” and encouraged everyone to overcome their struggles.
In February 2024, the General Johnnie E. Wilson Award will be presented to Tiffany Spence, an engineer at the Missile Defense Agency.
Spence is a STEM pioneer for women and people of color, with over 20 years of experience in the field. She discovered her love for math and science early on and pursued it by earning a degree in electrical engineering from Howard University.
Spence quickly rose through the ranks at her first job in a telecommunications company. Throughout her career, she has worked on various projects, from designing communication systems for the military to developing software for the healthcare industry.
Her work has earned her numerous accolades, including the prestigious Black Engineer of the Year Award.
Apart from her professional achievements, Spence is also a dedicated mentor and advocate for diversity in STEM. She has mentored many young people and encouraged them to pursue careers in engineering, guiding the way. Additionally,
Spence is involved in several organizations promoting STEM diversity, including NSBE and the Society for Women Engineers.