2016 Black Engineer of the Year Awards STEM Conference

2016 Black Engineer of the Year Awards STEM Conference
February 22, 2016

Good evening. On behalf of the 126,000 men and women of Lockheed Martin, it’s my privilege to congratulate this year’s outstanding BEYA award winners.

Lockheed Martin is honored to serve as a co-host tonight, as we celebrate your exceptional achievements. This year’s event is particularly special, because we are commemorating BEYA’s 30th anniversary. Please join me in congratulating the entire BEYA team!

Lockheed Martin employees have been involved with BEYA since the first conference in 1986. Over the past 30 years, we’ve been delighted to see BEYA grow into the premier science and engineering conference for the African-American community.

Our partnership with BEYA is rooted in Lockheed Martin’s long-standing commitment to diversity and inclusion. And it’s an important business partnership for us as well. BEYA represents a unique opportunity for Lockheed Martin to showcase the important and innovative work we do to some of the nation’s best and brightest scientists and engineers. It’s a place to engage with hundreds of students and professionals who want to make a difference in the world around them, and to invite them to join our team.

At last year’s BEYA conference we met with nearly 700 candidates and made dozens of job offers. One of the people we met last year was Aressia McDonald. Aressia had just graduated from Jackson State University, where she studied Computer Engineering.

She came to BEYA looking for her first career opportunity. She visited our booth, interviewed with our talent acquisition team and even had the chance to meet with one of Lockheed Martin’s vice presidents in our "candidate connection" room.

Like a lot of the people we meet at BEYA, Aressia really impressed us. We made her an offer on-the-spot and she accepted a position as part of our Engineering Leadership Development program.

Aressia says she chose Lockheed Martin over the other offers she received because she was able to connect with our team, to learn about the innovative work we do and how she could contribute to our mission. It’s connections like these which make BEYA such an important event for Lockheed Martin, as well as many other corporations. And after visiting the career fair this afternoon, I’m confident we’ll welcome even more new employees to Lockheed Martin following this year’s conference.

The challenges we face today must be met by talented leaders with drive, passion and commitment to truly make a difference in the world. We need engineers with the creativity to deliver innovative solutions that support our customer’s missions, strengthen security and advance scientific discovery.

I’ve met many young women and men this weekend who are ready to step up to the challenge. However, we must do our part to encourage more of their peers to join them.

Recent studies show that the racial and gender gap in STEM fields is increasing. We must re-double our efforts to fill the STEM talent pipeline, help young people develop the skills they need to address the challenges of tomorrow and ensure that the scientific community fully reflects the diversity of our nation.

That’s why conferences like BEYA are so critically important.

For 30 years this event has brought together thousands of scientists, engineers, educators and corporate leaders to focus on a common goal: To ensure that the African-American community plays a leading role in our nation’s STEM competitiveness.

Because of the hard work of thousands of people in this room tonight, African-American students from across the country are saying “Count Us In” for careers in STEM.

Thank you for all you do and congratulations to the awardees on receiving this well-deserved recognition.

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