The U.S. Army Research Laboratory's outreach program manager was given the prestigious U.S. Army's Superior Civilian Service Award and the Black Engineers of the Year Deans Award at the BEYA conference held in Baltimore Feb. 18 to 22. Maj. Gen. Paul S. Izzo, commander of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, gave Dr. Val Emery the service award for his extensive work with historically black colleges and universities and minority institutions. "Dr. Emery's achievements and exemplary performance are in keeping with the highest traditions of government service," Izzo said in the award citation. Through his extensive outreach work from October 2003 through December 2008, Dr. Emery helped with the development and sustainment of many critical university relationships in an effort to engage top technical talent in service of our Soldiers, according to the citation. "We work hard to find capabilities on the campuses for ARL," said Emery about the outreach efforts. His performance in forging these recruitment and academic relationships helps not only the students find a career in federal research but also brings more originality and talent to the laboratory. "If you hire people from the same school, they all know and don't know the same things," said Emery. "If we're academically diverse, we have a much more innovative capacity." Emery has been the outreach program manager for ARL since "leaving the bench" as a research scientist with the Army Corps of Engineers in 1999. Since then, he's taken the ARL outreach from a fledgling program to one being recognized by the government and industry "showplace for black talent in engineering and technology," according to the BEYA Web site. For more than two decades, the BEYA conference has showcased the outstanding contributions of blacks in the fields of science, engineering, technology and math. The BEYA awards are considered the "Oscars" for blacks in technology, recognizing men and women for their career achievements. Emery was just one of the four RDECOM employees to be acknowledged at the BEYA conference. "It was a distinct pleasure receiving these awards," said Emery about his first time receiving the awards. "The fact that General Izzo took the time to recognize us was also very special."