ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. -- Two Joint Munitions Command employees were honored at the 2018 Black Engineers of the Year Award--Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Global Competitive Conference. Brian Freeman, Program Manager at Blue Grass Army Depot, and Cindy Brock, Safety Engineer at JMC, were awarded the Modern-Day Technology Leader Award at the conference in Washington, D.C., Feb. 8-10.

For more than 30 years, the BEYA STEM Global Conference has offered students and professionals a vast range of STEM-related opportunities and information.

Recently, Freeman and Brock were honored for their leadership, innovative minds, hard work and dedication.

Freeman is responsible for managing the ammunition maintenance and demilitarization division at BGAD. This is Freeman's first year attending the BEYA conference, and he expressed a strong interest in attending in the future.

But, this isn't the first time he has been recognized for his accomplishments. Freeman was recognized as the technical lead for the first non-energetic project for BGAD back in 2010, and continues to bring light to the area of STEM.

Freeman's supervisor, Joel Kallenberger, Deputy Mission Management at BGAD, said, "Another example of Brian's leadership at BGAD is his ability to improve processes on current ammunition production lines, and to offer tooling redesign that improves processes that increase production levels and lower operating costs."

By recognizing STEM success, Freeman hopes that others in Kentucky are encouraged to participate in STEM careers.

"It is an honor to receive this award. I am hoping that this award creates opportunities to bring awareness to the need of STEM-related activities in this region," said Freeman.

Brock is a Safety System Headquarters Team Lead at JMC and has more than 11 years of manufacturing, safety and engineering experience. She applies safety and health principles, methods and techniques to manage safety programs within the command.

Luke Kearns, Chief of Safety, JMC, highlighted the excellence of Brock's leadership and talent at JMC.

"Cindy is a safety star and an outstanding safety engineer who continuously provides quality support to the Army, Army Sustainment Command and the JMC team. She is constantly recognized by name by leaders throughout the Army for what a great talent she is and for the first-class support she and her team provides," Kearns said.

"Cindy is a phenomenal team leader who has a ton of potential and ability to be a great leader and manager. I couldn't be more proud of her recent accomplishment with BEYA," Kearns added.
While winning is an honor, Brock acknowledged a more important facet to the recognition.

"It is always encouraging to feel supported in an organization. Perhaps more important than winning the award, I am most appreciative that my supervisor took the time to submit the nomination package. That means a lot to me," said Brock, who has also won awards at previous BEYA conferences.

Brock emphasized the same hopes as Freeman.

"One thing that I love about BEYA is that a part of their focus is geared toward encouraging students to pursue careers in the STEM field," said Brock.

Freeman agreed. "I really enjoy speaking with fifth-graders. That was the time engineering became exciting for me," he said.

Great inventions are often created, but good character is the foundation of it all. In many commands, it is engineers who push innovation.

"The true wealth of our country is found in our people, and that was certainly on display at the conference," said Freeman.