DOD and DAF to create first HBCU led UARC to advance new Tactical Autonomy Research Partnerships

DAYTON, OH—The Department of the Air Force (DAF) is creating the first Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) led University Affiliated Research Center (UARC). This is also the first DAF UARC. The UARC’s core competencies will focus on advancing the deployment of tactical autonomy for DAF missions.  The success of this effort is built on a strong partnership between the DAF, USD(R&E), USD(A&S) and USD(P&R) under the overarching guidance of the Secretary of Defense.

BACKGROUND OF THE PROGRAM
HBCU Students

HBCUs graduate 30 percent of African American STEM professionals, but receive less than .05 percent of DOD research funding. HBCUs consistently produce high caliber STEM talent able to compete for advanced degrees at top academic programs. More than one third of African American STEM PhD holders earned a bachelor’s degree from an HBCU while 88 percent of these PhD holders receive PhDs from non HBCUs.

(Left) Courtesy photo: Department of Education

This is clear evidence that untapped potential to address National Security imperatives resides at HBCUs but it is unavailable to the DAF due to historical inequities.

INTENT OF THE PROGRAM

This initiative will enable the DAF to establish and maintain essential research and development capabilities to advance the field of Autonomy and deliver operationally relevant autonomy for national security requirements.  Desired outcomes are to:

  • Advance the field of Autonomy by focusing on key DAF operational imperatives.
  • Grow and diversify the available pool of Scientists and Engineers to support the DAF and grow organic technical excellence.
  • Increase capacity accessible to the DAF by fostering HBCU R1 Research Classification.
  • Seed a unique ecosystem of small and large businesses around the UARC to further the above outcomes.

The UARC will be competitively selected through a Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) made available soon to industry and academia. It will be based on a consortium model with a Lead HBCU Institution and additional performer institutions, serving under a consortium framework. The DAF Chief Scientist (AF/ST) will be the UARC sponsor with a Management Office responsible for UARC implementation and oversite; and an Executive Steering Board (ESB) which will be populated with members from DoD community partners. The UARC award period will be 5 years with 5 option years at $12M per year. The DAF is leading the investment with $8M per year with additional annual contributions of $2M yearly each from USD(R&E) and USD(A&S).

Source and cover photo: Air Force Research Laboratory


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Verizon-Cisco collaboration advances autonomous vehicle tech

BASKING RIDGE, N.J.— Cisco and Verizon collaborated on a successful proof of concept demo in Las Vegas, showing that cellular and mobile edge compute (MEC) technology can enable autonomous driving solutions without the use of costly physical Roadside Units to extend radio signals.

The result paves a simpler and more efficient route to powering applications such as autonomous/unmanned last-mile delivery bots and robotaxis in cities like Las Vegas, where public MEC technologies exist. Additionally, cities and roadway operators could create safer roads with C-V2X applications including pedestrian protection, emergency and transit vehicle pre-emption, on and off-ramp protection (e.g., when a loaded truck needs autonomous guidance to merge or brake safely), and potentially others that involve vehicles approaching intersections with traffic signals.

Proof of concept

Autonomous features in connected vehicles have always relied on roadside radios to extend the signals vehicles use for low-latency communication with each other and surrounding connected infrastructure. The Cisco and Verizon test proved that Verizon’s LTE network and public 5G Edge with AWS Wavelength, together with Cisco Catalyst IR1101 routers in connected infrastructure, can meet the latency thresholds required for autonomous driving applications – replacing the costly roadside radios previously required to meet those needs.

By using LTE and edge compute to virtualize the role of the Roadside Units, C-V2X communications proved to be more streamlined – likely to result in improved efficiency and cost effectiveness for municipalities, infrastructure providers, and application developers working with autonomous vehicles. (C-V2X refers to a vehicle’s ability to communicate with other vehicles and connected infrastructure surrounding it.)

The result demonstrates that connected and autonomous vehicle applications can be deployed today using LTE networks, mobile edge compute, and in-vehicle interfaces deployed by OEMs. These capabilities could lead to safer, less congested roads with current connected and autonomous vehicles, with scalability for future applications hosted at the edge and using LTE and 5G connectivity.

Connected transportation – powered by cellular

Improving communication between vehicles and their surrounding infrastructure is essential for creating safer roadways and enabling the autonomous future of driving. Intersections must be securely connected and equipped with compute to allow applications at the edge to communicate and inform split-second decision making.

“This test is a huge milestone in proving that the future of connectivity for IoT applications can be powered by cellular,” said Krishna Iyer, Director of Systems Architecture, Verizon. “We’re marking the strength of mobile edge compute platforms for connected transportation innovation with much more streamlined architecture. Together with Cisco technologies, we’re setting the foundation potentially to realize a ubiquitous IoT in the connected and autonomous future of driving.”

“The future of autonomous vehicles cannot progress without reliable communication between vehicles and their surrounding environments,” said Mark Knellinger, Lead Transportation Solutions Architect, Cisco. “This is huge for roadway operators in that it relieves them of the massive expense of deploying and operating a dedicated V2X environment.”

— by Matt Conte, Verizon

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Ford Celebrates the Outdoor Spirit of Black Women in ‘We Do’ ad Campaign for their new 2021 Bronco Sport

DEARBORN, MI—Ford Motor Company is celebrating the outdoor spirit of Black women in a new ad campaign for the 2021 Bronco Sport. In “We Do,” Black women embrace the great outdoors in the all-new Bronco Sport, going off-roading, biking and hiking – all while reveling in a feeling of triumph as they honor their connection to nature and their sense of adventure.

Staying true to the DNA of the first-generation Bronco – designed by a team that included McKinley Thompson, Jr., the first African American automotive designer to work at Ford – the all-new Bronco Sport SUV pays it forward with modern, heritage-inspired style, available agile off-road architecture and G.O.A.T. Modes™ to go over any type of terrain.

“Our ‘We Do’ campaign challenges the perception of outdoor enthusiasm,” said Dibrie Guerrero, multicultural marketing manager, Ford Motor Company. “Over this last year of pandemic living, many Black women have doubled down on or discovered a love of the outdoors. Whether it’s solo time to convene with nature or a weekend retreat with the girls, Black women are relishing the joy and freedom of the outdoors, and the Bronco Sport is the vehicle to get them there.”

The “We Do” campaign will appear across all digital and social channels, with TV, radio and print activations. It features members of Black American outdoor organizations such as Outdoor AfroBlack Girls Do Bike and Black Girls Run. The campaign is the latest effort from UWG, the longest-standing multicultural advertising and marketing agency in the United States.

Ford is at the front of the automotive technology wave, coming up with new ideas and conveniences every year.

The all-new Bronco Sport is part of the new outdoor brand of Built Wild Ford SUVs. With off-road performance at its core and standard 4×4 across the lineup, Bronco Sport lives up to its G.O.A.T. (goes over any type of terrain) heritage with Built Wild Extreme Durability Testing, Capability and Innovative Design. The Bronco Sport is made for the trails with water-fording abilities and available features like obstacle protection, unsurpassed ground clearance and class-first Trail Control Technology.

Bronco Sport is designed for life on the trails and includes a safari-style roof that provides class-leading second-row headroom. It also has a cargo area* high enough to hold two 27.5-inch-wheel mountain bikes. More than 100 factory-backed and aftermarket accessories are available to transport gear such as kayaks, surfboards, skis and camping equipment. Bronco Sport is a gateway to the outdoors for the adventurer, the sightseer and the day-tripper.

Source and photos: Ford


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GM’s Gerald Johnson recognized as 2021’s Black Engineer of the Year

By : Lango Deen

DETROIT, MI (U.S. Black Engineer) — The 2021 Black Engineer of the Year Awards (BEYA), held Thursday, Feb. 11 through Saturday, Feb. 13, was an all-digital event. The year’s conference theme was “Stand Up. Step Up. Make a Change,” a call to social justice action. Participants in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields had access to 24 hours of events, award shows, and entertainment.

An iconic line up of stars, including jazz saxophonist Gerald Albright, singer Parris Lane, and Detroit’s DJ Smooth, headlined performances featuring music that celebrated 500 years of African American culture, the contributions of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), and Blacks in the U.S. military and federal service.

BEYA’s 35th annual STEM conference offered career development seminars, presentations, and workshops led by 150 influential speakers, managers, directors, recruiters, decision-makers, and college administrators. Discussions focused on navigating health care during COVID-19, the economy, diversity, equity, and inclusion in workplaces.

High-profile companies at the Technology Recognition event feat. Modern-Day Leaders and Science Spectrum Trailblazers event included Amazon, The Boeing Company, Lockheed Martin Corporation, Northrop Grumman Corporation, Raytheon Technologies, and Walmart Global Tech.

During the specially produced 35th Annual BEYA Gala, the 2021 Black Engineer of the Year Award went to Gerald Johnson, executive vice president, Global Manufacturing.  He was recognized for his commitment to mentoring, promoting diversity, equity, inclusion, and leading General Motors’ (GM) efforts to support the United States during the pandemic.

Gerald Johnson, executive vice president, Global Manufacturing

Johnson, the first African American to lead manufacturing at General Motors, heads GM’s global manufacturing operations, manufacturing engineering, and labor relations organizations. He is a member of the GM Senior Leadership Team and reports to Mary Barra, chairman, and CEO of General Motors Company. “Gerald’s passion for the business, strong leadership skills, and extensive manufacturing and labor experience will help in our efforts to continue to transform the company, supporting both the core business and future of mobility,” said Barra. Johnson is the third GM employee to be named Black Engineer of the Year after Alicia Boler Davis in 2018 and Ed Welburn, the sixth design chief in GM’s history, in 2015.  Boler Davis and Welburn both made comments during the live-streamed ceremony.

One of the BEYA gala highlights included Mrs. Lynn Gerald Johnson serenading her husband with a song that the family holds dear. During his acceptance speech. Johnson stressed the importance of hard work, family, faith, and community.

Bruce T Crawford, retired Lieutenant General Bruce T. Crawford, 2020 Black Engineer of the Year, and former chief information officer, United States Army, beamed in for the prestigious black-tie “Passing the Torch” ceremony with his wife to congratulate the 2021 winner of the award.

Visit Career Communications Group’s YouTube channel to view.

In addition to General Motors, there were award ceremony remarks from captains of industry, head of federal agencies and military commanders from the Air Force Research Laboratory, Army Engineer Research and Development Center,  AT&T, Bell Textron Inc., The Boeing Company, Clemson University,  Collins Aerospace, Corning Incorporated,  Corteva Agriscience, Exelon Utilities, Ford Motor Company, General Dynamics Information Technology, Idaho National Laboratory, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab, Leidos, Lockheed Martin Corporation, The MITRE Corporation, NASA Langley Research Center, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration,  National Science Foundation, Naval Research Laboratory, U.S. Navy, Northrop Grumman Corporation, Office of Naval Research, Raytheon Technologies, Sandia National Laboratories,   Spirit AeroSystems, U.S. Army,  United States Air Force,  University of the District of Columbia, University of Houston, Mission and Installation Contracting Command, and Walmart.

Read the 2021 winner profiles in US Black Engineer‘s digital magazine.

At this year’s 16th annual Stars and Stripes Recognition event, part of the 2021 Black Engineer of the Year STEM conference, members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff served as keynote speakers and presenters for awards uniformed and federal Black scientists and engineers. Top brass at Stars and Stripes included General Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General James C. McConville, Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. David H. Berger, and Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr. The Military Tribute Hall compiled memorable Black achievements in the United States military.

The BEYA World Digital Platform showcased the Historically Black College and University (HBCU) Village, which featured the all-digital HBCU Engineering Deans Recognition program, the HBCU Homecoming event, and interactions with engineering deans from ABET-accredited schools at 15 HBCUs. They graduate most of America’s Black engineers.

The digital platform was also a place for job seekers. More than 100 booths were staffed by staffing specialists, corporate recruiters, and talent management professionals offering job interviews, internships, co-ops, and other positions.

The BEYA Pre-College Program featured young people’s activities to diverse STEM opportunities.  Students, alumni, parents, and supporters of K-12 organizations focused on STEM.

Career Communications Group (CCG) holds its annual Black Engineer of the Year Awards (BEYA) Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Conference during Black History Month. The annual observance, which begins each year on Feb.1 and ends on the last day of February, celebrates 500 years of African American history culture and their history. Each year, the BEYA STEM Conference coincides with the national celebration of inspiration.

The 2022 BEYA STEM Conference will be hosted in Washington D.C. Information can be found at http://www.beya.org.

National BDPA’s Greater Washington D.C. and Baltimore chapters are co-hosts for BDPA Members attending annual BEYA events. Join, renew, or update membership profiles at BDPA.org for special VIP or all-access invitations.

— Photo credits: GM, CCG, and U.S. Black Engineer Magazine

GM executive Telva McGruder promoted as automotive giant’s tech-inclusion missions rapidly evolve

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DETROIT, MI (BDPA Detroit) ― General Motors Company (GM), welcomes Telva McGruder as their new Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer. In a recent statement, the global automotive corporation looks forward to Telva’s leadership as she expands on their current Diversity team’s efforts to bring GM closer to their aspiration of being the most inclusive company in the world.

Telva recently served as GM’s Director of Workplace Engineering and Operations Solutions in the Sustainable Workplaces organization at General Motors. Named to her last position in August of 2016, Telva supported the global footprint as she leads facility engineering, technologies, energy strategy and multiple facility management strategies. Her team designs and implements sustainable technical solutions, ensuring environments for successful enterprise operations. Her team also focused on comprehensive facility management operations through key business partnerships. Global process leadership in the areas of facility maintenance, energy procurement, contract management and material handling ensure coordination across the operating regions.

telva-mcgruder_gm_headPreviously, Telva was Tool and Die Commodity Engineering Manager in Global Body Manufacturing Engineering. In this role, she led the engineers responsible for closure panel engineering and launch deliverables on all North American vehicle programs.  Prior to that assignment, Telva was the Engineering Group Manager of Die Center Program Management, where she led the team responsible for tool and die strategy, planning, quality and launch for global vehicle programs.

Telva earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University and began her career as a Test Operations Engineer for Sverdrup Technology, working at the NASA Lewis (Glenn) Research Center in Cleveland, OH.  She moved on to start her career with General Motors as a manufacturing engineer in 1994 while completing her Master of Science in Electrical Engineering at Purdue University.  Since then, she has held positions of increasing responsibility and influence within manufacturing and manufacturing engineering, including manufacturing maintenance, operations and project management for major Press Center projects. Her career path has led her through Ohio, Indiana, Ontario, and she is now making contributions in Michigan.

GM Orion Assembly - Bolt EV and Sonic

Telva contributes to development of the talent pipeline for General Motors. She is the president of the General Motors African Ancestry Network (GMAAN) and also serves as the GM executive liaison for the Women of Color STEM Conference and the BEYA STEM Conference, which GM proudly sponsors.  With her focus on personal and professional growth, Telva is the Vice-Chair of the Board of Advocacy and Resource Development for the Oakland University School of Health Sciences. She also serves as a dedicated member of the Advisory Board for the University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability.

Along with her professional accomplishments, Telva is dedicated to teaching and leading others inside and outside of General Motors. She enjoys mentoring professionals as well as motivating young students to pursue STEM fields and leadership opportunities. She is the Chair of the Board of Directors for the Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan and committed to building girls of courage, confidence and character. Among her volunteer activities, Telva has served as a mentor for FIRST FRC high school robotics teams and is a volunteer for A World in Motion, an SAE program.

Telva enjoys wonderful life experiences with her husband, son and two daughters.  Telva is a positive, driven individual with a keen sense of what is important.  She looks forward to continued opportunities to contribute in both local and professional communities.

Source and photo credits:
GM  (Assemble line Photo by Jeffrey Sauger for Chevrolet)

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Register here, today! Discover more about this year’s $97 million Air Force technology transfer programs for small businesses and research institutions.  Powered by BDPA during vBDPA2020, learn step-by-step approaches to capture start-up funding and defense contracts with HBCUs and start-ups.

Small Businesses and HBCUs, select here to register.

An “Ecological Paradise”: Tesla Gigafactory Austin is now Official

AUSTIN, TX (BDPA Austin) — “We’re going to make it a factory that is going to be stunning; it’s right on the Colorado River. So we’re actually going to have to have a boardwalk over you, hiking, biking trail. It’s going to basically be an ecological paradise,” Elon Musk announced during the company’s earnings call this week.

tesla-model-x-rear-three-quarter-with-doors-openTesla’s mission is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy through increasingly affordable electric vehicles and renewable energy generation and storage systems. At the heart of these products are batteries. Tesla has seen enormous demand for energy products and electric vehicles. Today, there are more than 350,000 Tesla vehicles on the roads worldwide, and we’ve installed over 1 GWh of energy storage across the globe.

The Gigafactory was born out of necessity and will supply enough batteries to support Tesla’s projected demand. In mid-2018, battery production at Gigafactory 1 reached an annualized rate of roughly 20 GWh, making it the highest-volume battery plant in the world. Tesla currently produces more batteries in terms of kWh than all other carmakers combined. With the Gigafactory ramping up production, Tesla’s cost of battery cells will significantly decline through economies of scale, innovative manufacturing, reduction of waste, and the simple optimization of locating most manufacturing processes under one roof.

tesla_powerpack

Powerpack (shown above) integrates batteries, power electronics, thermal management and controls into a turnkey solution that’s easy to install for businesses and utilities.   Photo credits: Tesla

The Gigafactory is designed to be a net-zero energy factory upon completion. It will not consume any fossil fuels – there is no natural gas piped to the site nor are there permanent diesel generators being used to provide power. Emergency backup is fed from various electric sources, including renewable energy and storage products.

— Source: Tesla, Inc.

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Amazon is acquiring Zoox for $1.2 billion to help bring their vision of autonomous ride-hailing to reality

FOSTER CITY, CAAmazon has signed an agreement to acquire Zoox, a California-based company working to design autonomous ride-hailing vehicles from the ground up. Aicha Evans, Zoox CEO, and Jesse Levinson, Zoox co-founder and CTO, will continue to lead the team as they innovate and drive towards their mission.

Zoox is a forward-thinking team that is pioneering the future of ride-hailing by designing autonomous technology from the ground up with passengers front-of-mind. Aicha Evans, Zoox CEO, and Jesse Levinson, Zoox co-founder and CTO, will continue to lead Zoox as a standalone business as they innovate and drive towards their mission.

“Zoox is working to imagine, invent, and design a world-class autonomous ride-hailing experience,” said Jeff Wilke, Amazon’s CEO, Worldwide Consumer. “Like Amazon, Zoox is passionate about innovation and about its customers, and we’re excited to help the talented Zoox team to bring their vision to reality in the years ahead.”

“This acquisition solidifies Zoox’s impact on the autonomous driving industry,” said Aicha Evans, CEO of Zoox. “We have made great strides with our purpose-built approach to safe, autonomous mobility, and our exceptionally talented team working every day to realize that vision. We now have an even greater opportunity to realize a fully autonomous future.”

zoox-tech

“Since Zoox’s inception six years ago, we have been singularly focused on our ground-up approach to autonomous mobility,” said Jesse Levinson, Zoox co-founder and CTO. “Amazon’s support will markedly accelerate our path to delivering safe, clean, and enjoyable transportation to the world.”

Zoox started in 2014 with the vision of purpose-built, zero-emissions vehicles designed for autonomous ride-hailing, along with an end-to-end autonomy software stack. Zoox’s ground-up vehicle focuses on the ride-hailing customer, with tightly integrated features designed to provide a revolutionary passenger experience. Zoox’s approach to invention provides flexibility and the means to iterate rapidly to continuously deliver a superior experience for customers.

Completion of this transaction is subject to review and customary closing conditions.

― Source and courtesy photos: Zoox/The SiliconReview

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Uber Technologies joins list of Silicon Valley firms with an IPO filing

SAN FRANCISCO — In a regulatory filing this week, Uber said it will list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “UBER.”

Uber Technologies has decided it will seek to sell close to $10 billion worth of stock in its initial public offering, and made public the registration of their offering. According to CNBC, an IPO of this size would make Uber one of the biggest technology IPOs of all time, and the largest since that of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding in 2014.

Uber seeks a valuation between $90 billion and $100 billion, influenced by recent poor performances of smaller rival Lyft’s shares following their IPO late last month. CNBC also stated investment bankers previously told Uber it could be worth as much as $120 billion.

— Photo credit: UBER
Sources: CNBC and SEC

 


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Earth Day Tech Summit | #CyberEarth19

CES 2019 unveils Industry’s latest transformative technologies

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LAS VEGAS, NV — CES® 2019 opened this week, unveiling the latest transformative technologies that will redefine industries.

LG Electronics President and CTO Dr. I.P. Park kicked off the first keynote of 2019 with ambitions to create a world of connected, intuitive AI-powered technologies that will seamlessly work in unison to deliver unparalleled customer experience in all areas of life.

Consumer Technology Association (CTA)™ President and CEO Gary Shapiro and CES Executive Vice President Karen Chupka launched Day 1 of CES 2019 along with IBM Chairman, President and CEO Ginni Rometty, sharing insights on how technology is significantly improving the way businesses operate and how people live.

Verizon’s CEO Hans Vestberg kept the opening day excitement going in the afternoon with a keynote exploring the impact of 5G on improving education, aiding first responders and more.

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Beginning Sunday, BDPA Members, BDPA Student Members, bdpatoday staffers, and Interns  (above) arrived to attend Media Day events.  CES Unveiled Las Vegas, which exclusively launched for the media Sunday night, previewed industry’s latest announcements with award-winning innovations arriving later in the week on convention floors at the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) and adjacent hotel exhibit halls.

Follow bdpatoday and PTTV (Popular Technology TV) throughout CES on the world’s largest technology stage via Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube for the latest.

→ https://bdpatoday.com
→ https://populartechnology.tv
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Partner, embrace, and support local BDPA Chapter programs (BDPA.org) and BDPA youth technology summits (above)  featuring 5G, AI, XR, data sciencecyber, autonomous systems, and quantum computing projects with coding competitions or research papers.

— Sources: CTA and BDPA
Photos © 2019 bdpatoday

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BDPA EARTH DAY TECH SUMMIT EVENTS 2019
#CyberEarth19

April 19-20th and April 22nd
Washington, D.C./Central Maryland
Contact: events@bdpadc.org | kia@bdpadc.org

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40-Year milestones marked by celebrations with Small Business, Academia, and Public Sector Executives

WASHINGTON, D.C. — BDPA Members, ICT Industry Mission-Partners, and Small Business executives visited Samsung’s Solutions Center during a 40th anniversary celebration and Holiday Soirée at 700 Penn in Washington, D.C. This season’s theme, “Innovation Beyond 5G“, was coined to welcome Industry’s next generation of professionals and students into our fifth decade of community service.

National BDPA’s Washington, D.C. Chapter (BDPADC) was chartered by Norman Mays in 1978. That same year, Samsung Electronics produced over 4 million black-and-white televisions, the most in the world. Later in 1978, Samsung Electronics established their first overseas office in the United States, Samsung Electronics America (SEA).

samdc05On Saturday, December 8, 2018, Samsung and BDPADC co-hosted this year’s 40-year milestone celebrations in Samsung’s new solutions center. Mr. Terry Halvorsen (above and left photos), Executive Vice President and CIO for Samsung Electronics America, Inc., hosted Small Business executives and BDPA Members for a very unique Holiday gathering and tour of the new Capitol Hill facility.

Located at 700 Penn, the solutions center showcases 5G and Secure-5G solutions with modular LED display technologies tailored for a wide variety of vertical industry sectors, demonstrations, and related policies.

For more information about BDPA, community programs across the nation’s 40 BDPA chapters, and technical career development activities within the National Capital Region, visit → BDPADC.org.

Join. Partner. Innovate beyond 5G with local BDPA Chapters and Mission Partners.

— Sources: Samsung USA and BDPA Washington, D.C.

2018 Holiday and 40th Anniversary Soirée | BDPADC.org Poster

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