As we celebrate Black History Month, it is important to recognize and honor the diverse entities that have made significant contributions to various industries. While African-Americans have faced countless challenges and barriers throughout history, their resilience, determination, and innovative spirit have propelled them to excel in various fields, including technology and cybersecurity.
African-Americans have played a crucial role in shaping the landscape from the built environment to digital security. From pioneering advancements in CAD and BIM software to making strides in cybersecurity, these individuals have paved the way for future generations.
In this blog post, we will highlight some influential African-Americans in tech who have left a lasting impact in the fields of CADD, BIM, and cybersecurity and whose contributions continue to inspire and push boundaries. Let us take this opportunity to celebrate their excellence and honor their achievements during Black History Month.
Highlighting the Pioneers in CADD and BIM
Computer-Aided Design and Drafting (CADD) and Building Information Modeling (BIM) have transformed the architecture and engineering industries. African-American pioneers such as David Hughes and Sharon Egretta Sutton have made notable strides in these areas.
Hughes, a licensed architect since 1979, has completed over 50 built projects. He joined Kent State University’s architecture faculty in 1985 and became a full professor in 1999. A globally recognized speaker, Hughes authored the book “Afrocentric Architecture: A Design Primer” in 1994 and established his Afrocentric Architecture theory. His trailblazing work, including a 10-venue lecture tour through Nigeria and Cameroon, has left a lasting global impact.
Similarly, Sutton is a trailblazing figure who championed inclusivity and participatory planning. As the twelfth African American woman to be licensed in architecture, she was the first female African American professor in architecture and NAAB president. Sutton’s profound scholarship on racial justice’s impact on the built environment is exemplified in her latest book, “When Ivory Towers Were Black.” With support from the Ford Foundation, NEA, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Sutton’s significant contributions have been honored by AIA New York, AIA Seattle, and AIA National.
Their invaluable contributions to CADD and BIM are a testament to the remarkable innovation and creativity that African-Americans bring to the tech industry. Their efforts have not only paved the way for future generations of African-American professionals but also continue to shape the future of the architecture and engineering industries.
African-American Trailblazers in Architecture, Engineering, and Construction
African-Americans have been instrumental in pushing boundaries in the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry. Notable figures such as Paul R. Williams, the first black member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), defied racial barriers to become an influential architect. His renowned works include the Los Angeles International Airport’s iconic Theme Building and homes for celebrities such as Frank Sinatra.
Similarly, engineer Howard P. Grant made history as the first black graduate from the University of California, Berkeley’s College of Engineering and the first black engineer for the City and County of San Francisco. He later co-founded the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), providing mentorship and support to future black engineers.
In construction, trailblazers like Cheryl McKissack Daniel continue the legacy of her great-great-grandfather, a slave who founded the oldest black-owned construction company post-Civil War. Her leadership saw the company’s involvement in significant projects like the National Museum of African American History. Their impactful contributions demonstrate the immense talent within the African-American community and their vital role in shaping the AEC industry.
Celebrating African-Americans in the Cybersecurity Sphere
In the realm of cybersecurity, African-American professionals continue to make impressive strides. Founder and Chairman of Whiteside Security LLC, Larry Whiteside Jr., has made his mark with solutions designed to protect companies from cybersecurity threats. His leadership and expertise have established Whiteside Security as a trusted resource in the ever-evolving cybersecurity landscape.
Also making significant waves in cybersecurity is Dr. Stephanie Carter., CEO at JDC Unleashed. In recognition of her contributions to the field, Carter was honored as the Minority Educator of the Year 2017 at the International Consortium of Minority Cybersecurity Professionals.
Their remarkable achievements are redefining the landscape of cybersecurity.
The Importance of Diversity in Tech
The tech industry, as with all sectors, benefits greatly from diversity and inclusion. A diverse workforce fosters innovation by bringing together a myriad of perspectives, experiences, and skills. It is through these differing vantage points that groundbreaking solutions and advancements in technology can emerge.
African-Americans have long demonstrated their aptitude and ingenuity in this sphere, but there remains a critical need for broader representation. Encouraging diversity in tech fields like CADD, BIM, and cybersecurity is more than just a matter of equity; it is a strategic imperative for innovation.
The influential African-Americans highlighted here underscore this potential, illustrating the profound impact they can have on these industries. They serve as an inspiration for future generations and a reminder for the industry to continue fostering diversity.
Indeed, by breaking down barriers and ensuring equal opportunities, we can expect an even greater wealth of creativity and innovation in tech, paving the way for a future where the tech industry accurately reflects the rich tapestry of our society.
Continued Efforts for Inclusion and Representation
The journey to inclusion and representation in the tech industry is a continuous one that requires steadfast commitment and collaborative effort. Organizations such as RW2 Career and Technical Education (RW2) are championing this cause.
The mission is to change the FACE and close the gap in the nation’s technically skilled workforce by creating and increasing equitable opportunities through education and training. This mission promotes personal and workplace success aimed at a more diverse and inclusive tech workforce.
It’s time to make your mark in the tech world. Pre-register with RW2 today and begin your journey toward a thriving career; upcoming classes are on February 12 or March 18, 2024.