Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, friends and family, honored guests.
It’s a privilege to be here tonight to celebrate the 2017 BEYA award winners.
At Lockheed Martin, we are proud to have sponsored this conference since its inception. After 31 years, we know that this is the premier event of its kind.
The BEYA conference and awards gala is a celebration in which we honor scientists and engineers who are the best in their fields – scientists and engineers who are building a brighter future for us all.
For this reason, each year, BEYA not only inspires us with the accomplishments and innovations that flow from brilliant minds. It also calls us to action.
At BEYA, we advance important issues such as STEM education, diversity and inclusion, and economic opportunity. And because of our shared dedication to reaching out to the next generation, we are making a difference.
For some, like our honorees, BEYA is a recognition of a lifetime of hard work, discipline, and insight. For others, like the students here, BEYA is the beginning of new friendships, new opportunities, and new horizons. But for every person here, BEYA is an inspiring reminder of the extraordinary potential in every life.
One example of this comes from a young man who attended BEYA last year, Devel Miles.
At the time, Devel was a senior at Virginia Union University. On the last day of the conference, he walked up to the Lockheed Martin booth and asked for an interview.
Our hiring managers were wrapped up for the day. However, they agreed to look at one last candidate.
Devel’s grades were excellent. His résumé was a strong fit.
When the time came, he excelled at the interview. So we offered him a job.
Today, Devel works at Lockheed Martin’s Enterprise Operations division in Colorado.
He says that after he’s done being a corporate executive and entrepreneur, he wants to give back. Devel hopes to become a professor and help students develop their lives and strive toward their goals.
Devel Miles is what BEYA is about.
His story serves as a reminder that science, technology, engineering, and math skills open up extraordinary opportunities for individuals, for companies, and for the American economy.
This year’s theme of “Full STEM Ahead” isn’t just a national imperative. It is an urgent call to action for us to work to ensure that every little girl and boy in this nation is exposed and encouraged to pursue the STEM skills needed for life in the 21st century.
At stake are the futures of the students we’ve met this week and hundreds of thousands of others like them across America.
So as we reflect on this evening, we will celebrate the outstanding contributions of our honorees, we will recommit ourselves to advancing STEM education, and we will once again resolve to work together to fulfill the mission of BEYA to expand hope and opportunity for all.
In closing, on behalf of Lockheed Martin, I offer our thanks to everyone who has made this year’s BEYA conference a success, and we look forward with optimism to all the future holds because of BEYA’s good work.
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