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February/March 2014

Diversity/Careers February/March 2014




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Cyrill Weems joins HNTB Corporation to expand company’s practice in southeast Michigan

Detroit, MI – HNTB Corporation (Kansas City, MO) has added Cyrill Weems, AVP and senior project manager, to its Detroit office staff.

“From the U.S. Gulf Coast to the London 2012 Olympics, Cyrill has managed large, complex and socially significant infrastructure projects for the better part of two decades,” says Len Becker, PE, HNTB Detroit office leader. “Our clients will benefit from the program management skills and technical expertise he brings to our community.”

A Detroit native and former professional football player for the Detroit Lions, Weems has more than seventeen years of global experience in the construction and program management of major infrastructure projects. At HNTB, he will focus on water/wastewater, transit and other significant infrastructure projects.

Weems previously served in key management roles on the $1.5 billion Baton Rouge (LA) sanitary sewer overflow program, as well as a $250 million dredging project that constructed barrier islands for coastal erosion protection along the Gulf Coast following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. His work on the 2012 Olympics included delivery of the handball arena and the design and installation of temporary and permanent perimeter security controls for the project site. Weems’s work in Detroit has included serving on the construction management teams for Ford Field and Comerica Park.

He holds a bachelor of science in construction administration from the University of Wisconsin and is an active member of the Project Management Institute, the Engineering Society of Detroit, the Michigan Water Environment Association and the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials.

HNTB has served the Michigan engineering community for nearly twenty years, and the firm has maintained close ties with the region’s transportation and automobile industry for nearly a century. Clients in the region have included the Oakland County Water Resource Commission, Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, Wayne County Airport Authority, Detroit Department of Public Works and the Michigan Department of Transportation.

HNTB Corporation is an employee-owned infrastructure solutions firm serving public and private owners and construction contractors.


GM names woman engineer to top post

Detroit, MI – Mary Barra is the new CEO of GM. She stepped into the leadership role in January after the retirement of CEO Dan Akerson. Barra also joined the GM board.

Before she was chosen as CEO, Barra served as executive vice president of global product development, purchasing and supply chain. With thirty-three years of experience at GM, she has risen through a series of manufacturing, engineering and senior staff positions. She is a leader in the company’s ongoing turnaround, revitalizing GM’s product development process resulting in the launch of critically acclaimed new products while delivering record product quality ratings and higher customer satisfaction.

“With an amazing portfolio of cars and trucks and the strongest financial performance in our recent history, this is an exciting time at GM,” said Barra. “I’m honored to lead the best team in the business and to keep our momentum at full speed.”

Barra began her career with GM in 1980 as a General Motors Institute (Kettering University) co-op student at the Pontiac Motor Division. She graduated with a BS in electrical engineering.

She received a GM fellowship to the Stanford Graduate School of Business in 1988 and received her MBA in 1990.

Barra was named SVP of global product development in 2011. In 2013, she took on responsibility for GM’s global purchasing and supply chain organization and was named EVP of global product development, purchasing and supply chain. She is a member of the GM executive operations committee and serves on the Adam Opel AG supervisory board.

Barra has also been GM VP of global human resources, VP of global manufacturing engineering, plant manager of the Detroit Hamtramck assembly plant, and executive director of competitive operations engineering. She has also held several engineering and technical staff positions.


Lockheed Martin’s leader Marillyn Hewson honored for corporate responsibility

Bethesda, MD – Lockheed Martin (Bethesda, MD) chief executive officer and president Marillyn A. Hewson has been named a winner of the 2013 Responsible CEO of the Year Award by Corporate Responsibility (CR) magazine. The magazine’s annual awards are presented to CEOs across industries that visibly exceed standards in the areas of employee relations, environmental impact, human rights, philanthropy, and corporate responsibility practices.

As chief executive of the world’s largest global security and aerospace company, Hewson’s active commitment to sustainability has helped Lockheed Martin create enduring value through environmental, social and governance performance. Under her leadership, Lockheed Martin has joined the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, maintained a top “A” rating for carbon performance in the CDP Global 500 climate change report, and earned a place on CR magazine’s 100 Best Corporate Citizens list.

“When it comes to sustainability, our goal is to promote innovative, responsible business practices that protect the environment, strengthen communities and propel responsible economic growth,” says Hewson. “This award reflects the hard work and dedication of employees across Lockheed Martin who make our sustainability vision a reality. We’ve set ambitious goals for advancing that vision even further while creating value for all of our stakeholders.”

Hewson became CEO and president of Lockheed Martin on January 1, 2013. She’s been with the company since 1983, starting as an industrial engineer and working in many different Lockheed Martin businesses and locations in positions of increasing responsibility.


Huston-Tillotson University students win Ford HBCU Community Challenge competition

Dearborn, MI – The Huston-Tillotson University (Austin, TX) team took top honors at the Ford Community Challenge competition for historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in December.

The team competed against finalists from Fayetteville State University, Howard University and Tuskegee University at the Ford world headquarters.

The student project, in partnership with Blackshear Elementary School, focused on transforming a thirty-three-square-foot dumpster into a fully functioning home complete with running water, toilet, shower, bed and solar-generated electricity. The project aims to promote living practices that encourage sustainability.

The Ford HBCU Community Challenge is an extension of one of the Ford Fund’s educational programs, the Ford College Community Challenge. The new program has the theme “building sustainable communities.” It encourages HBCU students to design projects that address a tangible, unmet community need that touches on at least one of four areas: mobility, alternative energy, sustainability/water or a systematic approach to meeting community needs.

Scholarships will be awarded to the Huston-Tillotson University team, and community grants will be awarded to nonprofits to support implementation of the winning project.

“Meeting these students and listening to them present projects to help us strengthen our communities has been refreshing and encouraging,” said Shawn Thompson, Ford’s multicultural marketing manager. “This program has allowed us to make an impact in the students’ education, their schools and their communities.”

Each finalist team received funds to support the implementation of its ideas within its community, plus iPads for each student member.

“All these students and their proposals were phenomenal,” said Pamela Alexander, director of community development for the Ford Motor Company Fund. “The process of narrowing the submissions down to just four was tough, so you can imagine how difficult it was to pick the winner.”


Corporate America champions LGBT equality in record numbers

Washington, DC – More than 300 major U.S. businesses earned top scores of 100 percent from the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation for LGBT workplace equality.

The companies were rated on their corporate policies and practices by the HRC’s 2014 Corporate Equality Index (CEI).

“This will go down in history as the year that corporate support for equality left the boardroom and reached every corner of this country,” said HRC president Chad Griffin. “Not only do fair-minded companies guarantee fair treatment to millions of LGBT employees in all fifty states, but now those same companies are fighting for full legal equality in state legislatures, in the halls of Congress and before the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Among the 304 companies earning a perfect score are Chrysler, Kaiser Permanente, Ford, Hewlett Packard, Bank of America, McKesson, JP Morgan Chase, 3M, Accenture, Aetna, American Express, BASF, Booz Allen Hamilton, Comcast, Electronic Arts, Humana, Lockheed Martin, Microsoft, Medtronic, Merck, Nissan North America, PG&E, PNC Financial Services Group, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Sears Holding Corp, Symantec, T-Mobile USA, United Technologies Corp, Walgreen and Nationwide.

This was the eighth time Chrysler Group has achieved a perfect score on the CEI, which was established in 2002. The company has been offering domestic partner benefits to its employees since 2000.

“Chrysler Group’s longstanding support of our LGBT employees, customers and communities is a source of pride for our entire company,” says Georgette Borrego Dulworth, director of talent acquisition and diversity. “Our consistent record of accomplishment providing benefit parity for our LGBT employees represents our core belief that these are not things you do because you have to, but because they are the right things to do.”

In 2014, more Fortune 500 companies than ever before reported that they have inclusive workplace non-discrimination policies: 91 percent provide explicit protections on the basis of sexual orientation and 61 percent on the basis of gender identity, a historic high. Sixty-seven percent offer same-sex partner benefits, another record.

“Corporate America has long recognized the imperative of LGBT inclusion by implementing their own LGBT-friendly policies ahead of lawmakers,” said HRC workplace equality program director Deena Fidas. “We are at the beginning of a new era in which major businesses are meeting ever-higher new bars for workplace fairness, and regularly exceeding them by becoming social and public policy change agents in the process. They recognize equality is not just the right thing to do, it is sound business practice.”


Siemens’ Tianxiong Fu is a winner of the Asian American Engineer of the Year award

Plano, TX – Dr Tianxiong (Tim) Fu of Siemens Product Lifecycle Management Software is a winner of the 2014 Asian American Engineer of the Year (AAEOY) award. The thirteenth AAEOY award ceremony was held during the association’s annual meeting in late February at the San Francisco Airport Marriott Waterfront Hotel in Burlingame, CA.

Fu, a software engineer and senior manager at Siemens PLM Software, leads the NX Part Modeling core software development team, a group of engineers with advanced degrees who are responsible for the core architecture of the company’s NX Part Modeling application. He directs the development of architectural and core enhancements to the application for each NX version release.

Fu earned a BS and MS in mechanical engineering from the Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST, Wuhan, Hubei, China). He has a PhD in mechanical engineering from the New Jersey Institute of Technology (Newark).

Fu has been very active in the Asian American community. He founded the HUST Alumni Association of Southern California in 2002. The association has grown to 400 members and is a thriving network of Asian American professionals.

AAEOY annually recognizes Americans of Asian descent who have made exceptional contributions to the field of engineering or science, or excelled as corporate leaders. The selection is based primarily on the merit of the honorees’ contribution and positive impact on the society.


Society of Women Engineers celebrates contributions of women engineers and technologists

Chicago, IL – The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) announced the recipients of the 2013 Society of Women Engineers awards in November at WE13, SWE’s annual conference.

Eve Sprunt, PhD, advisor in geological research and development at Chevron Corporation, received the 2013 Achievement award, the society’s highest honor. Dr Sprunt has championed SWE throughout her career. She is at the forefront of alternative energy, identifying promising alternative transportation fuels. Sprunt holds twenty-three patents and has authored twenty-eight technical articles, edited two books and written more than 120 editorials for petroleum industry publications.

The Rodney D. Chipp Memorial award, presented to a man or company that has contributed significantly to the acceptance and advancement of women in the engineering field, was awarded to Jack D. Welsh, Jr, SVP at Booz Allen Hamilton. The award recognized his vigorous support of SWE, diversity, and women’s initiatives at Booz Allen and for investing his own time in mentoring, coaching and sponsoring women engineers.

Pamela L. Dingman, PE, CEO of Engineering Design Consultants LLC, received the Entrepreneur award. She was recognized for mapping top-notch technical skills to business management and for “diligence and bravado” in building a successful civil engineering firm where employees thrive and the service is extraordinary.

Dr Kathleen Cullinan Bove, technology leader for molecular diagnostic platforms at GE Global Research, was presented with the Work/Life Integration award.

The Resnik Challenger medal was awarded to Dr Christine E. Geosling, engineering program manager at Northrop Grumman Corporation, for the LN-200 line of inertial measurement units.

The Distinguished Engineering Educator award went to Dr Beth Todd, associate professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Alabama.

The Suzanne Jenniches Upward Mobility award was presented to Cindy R. Kent, vice president of strategy, business development and U.S. medical accounts for 3M’s Healthcare business group.

Distinguished New Engineer awards were presented to Holly Ann Friedt, new product introduction project manager at Rolls-Royce North America; Maureen E. Masiulus, program manager for U.S. Air Force Ground Opportunity at General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems; Jessica R. Mattis, shift leader at General Motors; Karen E. Roth, software engineer for the Air Force Research Laboratory; Natalie Vanderspiegel, senior manufacturing engineer and Six Sigma black belt at Solar Turbines Inc.; Eileen Vélez-Vega, PE, managing partner of Kimley-Horn Puerto Rico LLC; and Charlene Willenbring, a business development manager at UTC Aerospace Systems.

Emerging Leader awards were presented to Linh Dang, section manager of the automated production line at Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems; Lisa E. Depew, engineering manager for the support organization in the business client platform division of Intel; Sonja Domazet, engineering program manager at Northrop Grumman; Elizabeth Garypie, director of systems engineering at Sikorsky Aircraft; Dr Jessica Gullbrand, senior engineer at Intel; Dr Ya Guo, principal scientist in the cardiovascular division of Medtronic’s science and technology research group; Diane C. LaFortune, mechanical engineer at Northrop Grumman’s electronic systems sector; Pushpa Manukonda, global lead for technology innovation strategy at John Deere; Dr Susan Rea Peterson, product development manager at Medtronic Vascular; and Dr Danielle Simonelli, module engineering group lead at Intel.


Jelena Kovacevic chosen to head department of electrical and computer engineering at CMU

Pittsburgh, PA – Carnegie Mellon University’s College of Engineering (CMU) has named Jelena Kovacevic to head its department of electrical and computer engineering (ECE), effective in April.

Kovacevic, a professor of biomedical engineering and electrical and computer engineering and director of the Center for Bioimage Informatics at CMU, will succeed Ed Schlesinger. Her research involves bioimaging and multi-resolution techniques like wavelets and frames.

“I am extremely pleased that Jelena will join the college leadership as the new department head of ECE. Her exceptional scholarly reputation, her demonstrated commitment to her colleagues and students, her boundless energy and enthusiasm and collegial nature make her an excellent choice for the position,” says James Garrett, Jr, dean of the College of Engineering.

Kovacevic came to CMU in 2003. She received her undergraduate electrical engineering degree at the University of Belgrade (Serbia). She earned her MS and her PhD in electrical engineering from Columbia University (New York, NY). From 1991 to 2002, she was with Bell Labs in Murray Hill, NJ. She was co-founder and technical vice president of xWaveforms and an adjunct professor at Columbia.

“I am extremely excited about this opportunity. ECE is thriving by all measures of success; I will work together with all the ECE community to push ECE even further toward becoming the creative driving force in the Carnegie Institute of Technology, CMU and the world for its scholarly and entrepreneurial quality in terms of research, education and social impact,” Kovacevic said.

Kovacevic is a Fellow of the IEEE and has served as editor-in-chief of the IEEE Transactions on Image Processing, and associate editor, guest editor and editorial board member of numerous publications and special issues.

She is the author or co-author of many papers and several textbooks. She received the Belgrade October Prize in 1986, the E.J. Jury award at Columbia University in 1991 and the 2010 CIT Philip L. Dowd Fellowship award at CMU.


Obama names Susan L. Graham to President’s council of advisors on science and technology

Washington, DC – Dr Susan L. Graham was nominated by President Barack Obama to the President’s council of advisors on science and technology in November.

Dr Graham is the Pehong Chen distinguished professor of electrical engineering and computer science emerita at the University of California-Berkeley, where she began teaching in 1971. She is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

She was the founding editor-in-chief of the ACM Transactions on Programming Languages and Systems. Among her awards are the ACM SIGPLAN career programming language achievement award (2000), the ACM distinguished service award (2006), the Harvard Medal (2008), the IEEE von Neumann Medal (2009), and the Berkeley Citation (2009).

She has served on the President’s information technology advisory committee and was co-chair of a National Research Council study on the future of supercomputing.

She served as the chief computer scientist for the NSF-sponsored National Partnership for Advanced Computational Infrastructure (NPACI) from 1997 to 2005. Dr Graham received an AB in mathematics from Harvard University and an MS and PhD in computer science from Stanford University.


U.S. Army hosts VEX Robotics competition

San Antonio, TX – Middle and high school students from across Texas and Mexico competed at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl VEX Robotics Competition (VRC) in January. The competition was one of the lead-up activities before the All-American Bowl high school football game.

"This marks the second year the Army has partnered with VEX Robotics to host its annual student competition at the Army Strong Zone during Bowl Week,” says Col Lou Wingate, operations officer for the U.S. Army Cadet Command. “Throughout this time, we have worked together to reinforce the importance of higher education and professional and leadership development for minority youth. The U.S. Army is committed to ensuring our officer corps reflects the face of our nation, and partnerships like this one are very important to this mission.

“It is important that we bridge the gap between our nation’s minority youth and our ever-expanding need for STEM-educated professionals.”

The U.S. Army All-American Bowl VEX Robotics Competition is one of a series of VRCs taking place internationally throughout the year. The VEX Robotics Competition is a fast-growing, competitive robotics program for elementary schools, middle schools, high schools and colleges around the world. More than 9,000 teams from twenty-six countries participate in more than 400 VRC events worldwide.

VRC team 4080A, Silent Bot Deadly from Ladonia, TX, was recognized with the Excellence award, the top award of the competition. VRC team 400X, team Xtreme from Galveston, TX went away with the Design award for outstanding engineering and documentation.

Fifty-four teams from across Texas and Mexico participated. The Tournament Champions and Excellence and Design award recipients qualified for the chance to compete in the South Texas Regional VEX Robotics Competition and the U.S. Open VEX Robotics Championship in Omaha, NE.

Participants squared off to play the game Toss Up, developed by VEX Robotics, Inc. and the Robotics Education & Competition (REC) Foundation.



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