FORT BELVOIR, Va. — George Grant, an electronics engineer with the U.S. Army Information Systems Engineering Command, part of the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command, has been awarded the prestigious 2021 Black Engineer of the Year STEM Science Spectrum Trailblazer Award. The honor is reserved for men and women who are actively creating new paths for others in science, research, technology and development.
“My supervisor nominated me for the BEYA award, and I thought he was joking initially,” Grant said. “I told him ‘no’ three or four times, but he would not take no for an answer.”
Always pushing forward
Grant, an Army civilian employee for the last 12 years, was raised in North Philadelphia and started his career in the U.S. Navy.
“The Navy experience provided discipline, structure and a great opportunity for me to realize what was possible,” he said. “One of the motivators to become an engineer was that someone told me that I couldn’t do it, and with that, I was determined to prove that person wrong.”
After the Navy, Grant attended Morehouse College, Atlanta Metropolitan State College and Kennesaw State University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. He later earned master’s degrees in telecommunications management, systems engineering and engineering management from the University of Maryland, Johns Hopkins University and Stevens Institute of Technology, respectively. He also holds an engineer’s degree from George Washington University.
“Anything is possible, if you believe,” he said. “I am living proof. I often refer to myself as the ‘little engine that could,’ which helps me to stay humble and focused. If I can do what I am doing, anyone can. It just takes discipline, hard work and faith.”
Current Army responsibilities
For the last two years, Grant has served as project lead for ISEC’s Intelligence and Security Command effort. He is responsible for leading 14 engineers on eight different projects, with varying degrees of complexity, that require detailed focus, analysis, discipline, efficiency, adaptability and sound judgment to complete tasks within scope, on time and under budget.
The team is responsible for INSCOM’s IT modernization projects, which include planning, designing, implementing and testing the transport infrastructures; conducting site surveys; defining and refining customer requirements; developing project charters, work plans, budgets and spend plans; monitoring funds expended; and working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to understand construction concepts such as floor plans, drawings, power, heating, ventilation and air conditioning.
Around 2014, Grant became a member of the National Society of Black Engineers, which is committed to ensuring K-12 students are aware of science, technology, engineering and math fields. He attends as many NSBE events as possible, because he believes it’s important for everyone to understand the power of STEM, especially people of color in the inner city.
“I’ve always tried to treat people the way I wanted to be treated and give back in some small way,” he said.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic started, he received approval from the ISEC National Capital Region Engineering Directorate to allow students from Friendship Academy to visit the office and experience the day as an ISEC engineer.
He also noted that in 1993, he participated in BEYA when he worked for Mobil Corporation. As part of that effort, his team conducted a workshop for middle schoolers in Baltimore.
“Twenty-seven years later, I am an award recipient, which is beyond awesome,” he said.