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BEYA has officially announced Ken Washington as the 2024 Black Engineer of the Year and winner of the top award to be presented at the 38th annual BEYA STEM Conference. (Photo credit: Career Communications Group. Ken Washington giving a speech at the 2020 BEYA gala.)

The conference is scheduled to take place on February 15-17, 2024, in Baltimore, MD, and will be live-streamed on the BEYA digital twin experience (DTX) platform.

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Medtronic recently appointed Ken Washington to the newly created position of Chief Technology and Innovation Officer.

In this role, Dr. Washington is responsible for driving innovation to further Medtronic’s goal of alleviating pain, restoring health, and extending life.

Additionally, he now joins the Medtronic Executive Committee. Geoff Martha, Medtronic’s CEO, expressed his excitement about Washington’s appointment, stating that it will allow the company to capitalize on its technological knowledge and inventiveness to innovate and disrupt the healthcare technology market.

Dr. Washington’s mission is to help expand the use of Medtronic’s technology platforms, including robotics, AI, sensors, and implantables, to improve returns on innovation investments and drive durable growth.

Before joining Medtronic, Washington was vice president and general manager of Consumer Robotics at Amazon.

He also served as CTO at Ford Motor Company and held various leadership roles at Lockheed Martin. He has extensive experience leading technology development across numerous industries, including robotics, automotive, consumer products, and space.

He has worked at Sandia National Laboratories, where he developed nuclear safeguards. He also held positions in information technology and computer sciences, eventually becoming chief information officer. Washington’s career includes roles in super-computing, information privacy, and R&D space technologies.

At Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, he led a team of 600 scientists and engineers with an annual research and development budget exceeding $300 million.

Washington was described as having “a unique ability to look across disparate disciplines to identify the most promising areas of research, foster cross-disciplinary collaboration, and drive the development of commercial applications of ATC discoveries.”

Washington holds an advanced degree in nuclear engineering from Texas A&M University and has earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the same university.

“I am humbled and honored to be named the 2024 Black Engineer of the Year,” Washington wrote on LinkedIn. “I could write a novel on the coaches, mentors, leaders, colleagues, friends, and family members who have helped me to reach this once-in-a-lifetime milestone, but I’ll start by giving a huge thank you to the folks at BEYA (Black Engineer of the Year) STEM Conference for making this prestigious honor a reality. I hope my career and this recognition inspire and encourage the next generation of engineers who can – and will – change the world.”

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