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17th Annual Black Engineer of the Year Awards
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Four Howard alumni will receive awards at the 2003 17th Annual Black Engineer of the Year Award Conference that was held February 13-15 in Baltimore, Maryland. The 2003 Black Engineer of the Years Awards Conference was sponsored by the Council of Engineering Deans of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities; title sponsors Lockheed Martin Corporation and The Foundation for Educational, Development, Inc., and the Career Communications Group, Inc.

And the Howard honorees are:

Dr. Lydia W. Thomas
2003 Black Engineer of the Year

Dr. Lydia W. Thomas was selected to receive the top honor –“Black Engineer of the Year.” She is a member of the Board of Trustees and president and CEO of Mitretek Systems. Thomas was elected to the Board of Trustees in1996, and president and chief CEO in 1996. She is responsible for the general management and direction of the company’s overall technical, financial and administrative activities.

Previously, as a senior vice president and general manager, Thomas was responsible for strategic planning and leadership of Mitretek’s Center for Environment, Resources and Space.

She is a member of the following professional organizations: American Society of Toxicology, American Defense Preparedness Association/National Defense Industrial Association, AIAA (Associate Fellow); the Conference Board and the Teratology Society. Thomas holds a Ph.D. (1973) in Cytology from Howard University, an MS in Microbiology (1971) from American University and a BS in Zoology (1965) from Howard University.

General Lester L. Lyles, USAF
2003 Black Engineer of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award

Gen. Lester L. Lyles, Commander, United States Air Force Air Materiel Command, was selected to receive the “Lifetime Achievement Award” for his “determined leadership and record of accomplishments.”"It's very meaningful to me that this comes from the deans of prestigious engineering schools, most of whom are not in any way associated with the Air Force," Lyles said. "This recognizes that hard work, perseverance and dedication always pay off, and validates what I tell others in mentoring or counseling sessions -- these are the ingredients to success in any endeavor."Besides his leadership and role-model qualities, the nine-member council chose Lyles for the award because of the general's career progression and the contributions he has made at each level. Lyles holds a BSME from Howard University and an ME (Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering) from the Air Force Institute of Technology Program, New Mexico State University

"Starting as a lead engineer and going to a four-star general in the Air Force, everything that he's done, he's done with dignity and style," said Dean James H. Johnson, Howard University College of Engineering, Architecture and Computer Science, who was Lyles' college classmate in the late 60s.

Frank C. Weaver
2003 Black Engineer of the Year Deans’ Award

Dr. Frank C. Weaver, director, Telecommunications Policy, Office of Government Relations, The Boeing Company, Washington, D.C., was selected to receive the “Black Engineer of the Year Deans’ Award.” He joined Boeing in 1998, and is responsible for coordinating corporate requirements for frequency spectrum and developing strategies to secure licenses and approval from the United State Congress, State Department, Federal Communications Commission, International Telecommunications Union and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.Weaver has over 25 years experience in government and private industry, and has marketed over $1 billion in communication satellites and launch vehicles to NASA and the Department of Defense, among others. He is chair of the Washington Space Business Roundtable and a board director of the U.S. Telecommunications Training Institutes.

Weaver received his BS in Electrical Engineering from Howard University, an MBA from the University of North Carolina. He also has received honorary doctorates in science from Saint Augustine’s College and humane letters from Shaw Divinity School.

Robin A. Smith
Special Recognition Award

Ms. Robin A. Smith, senior consulting engineer, Verizon Communications, was awarded a “Special Recognition Award.”

Smith is responsible for planning, initiating and overseeing the development and life-cycle management of business plans and systems ensuring that user, cost, quality and specific objectives are met. She has a strong background in central office telephone systems, job scheduling, quality assurance, contract planning, financial management, mathematical modeling, business research methods, client relations and both long and short-range planning.

Prior to joining Verizon in 2000, Smith was a project manager at Bell Atlantic, Virginia. She received her BS in Electrical Engineering from Howard University, an MBA from the University of the District of Columbia and a Master’s Certificate in Information Technology Management from George Washington University.

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