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Black History Month 2020

Wednesday, February 26, 2020  
Posted by: Jon Rivers
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The IAMCP Diversity and Inclusion Committee honors African-Americans in technology


As we celebrate February as Black History Month, the IAMCP Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Committee recognizes African-Americans, both past and present, who have played a significant role in technology, and beyond.

African-Americans represent a substantial portion of our North American cultural heritage, and this is our opportunity to honor their respective contributions to our society, and the technology sector in particular. This year we pay tribute to:

  • Frank S. Greene, Jr. (1938 – 2009) – A pioneering Silicon Valley technologist, Frank stood among technology giants Robert Noyce, David Packard, William Hewlett and the Varian brothers as one of 63 inductees into the Silicon Valley Engineering Hall of Fame, conferred by the Silicon Valley Engineering Council. As one of the first black technologists in the local sector, Frank also broke the color barrier in the Silicon Valley technology industry.
  • Gladys West – a U.S. Navy employee in the 50s and 60s who never knew the role that her work would play in GPS (Geographical Positioning System) technology, which most of us rely on today in our cars, cell phones and social media. West was the second black woman to join the Dahlgren, Virginia Naval base in 1956, where she was just one of four black employees. It was her sorority sister, Gwen James, who recently discovered the contributions that West made in GPS technology and strove to share her friend’s success story.
  • Roy L. Clay Sr. – who joined Hewlett-Packard in the 1950s, set up the company's first computer lab and was involved in creating its first computers. Later he helped venture capitalists decide on investments in startups like Compaq and Intel. He is in the Silicon Valley Engineering Hall of Fame.
  • John Thompson – who left IBM to lead Symantec, a computer-security company. During his 10 years at Symantec, revenue went from $600 million to $6 billion. He later became a tech investor, but then stepped into the CEO position at Virtual Instruments, which helps large organizations maximize their technology assets. John was also a former Chairman of Microsoft.
  • Dr. Marian Croak - who invented VoIP technology (Voice Over Internet Protocol), which changed how we communicate internationally by enabling us to make voice calls and host multimedia sessions over Internet Protocol (IP) networks, on the internet. While at AT&T Dr. Croak advocated for the company to make the switch from the regular wired phone technology to the internet protocol that we all know and embrace today.
  • Simone Askew – the first African-American woman to lead West Point cadets, Simone is the leader of the pack for the Class of 2021, graduating next year. Cadet Askew is not just making history – with her major in international history, she is studying it too. She also embraces team sports for their different perspective that they provide on leadership.

The IAMCP D&I Committee honors and thanks African-American leaders for their contribution to our society.




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