ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. – U.S. Army Information Systems Engineering Command Electronics Engineer Keithley Crooks won the Black Engineer of the Year Award STEM Modern-Day Technology Leader Award November 25, 2020 at Fort Detrick, Maryland.
Crooks was selected among hundreds of nominations evaluated by the BEYA Selection Panel. He and other ISEC BEYA awardees, including Dante Milledge, Joseph Hill, Kevin Ledbetter and George Grant, will be officially recognized during the 2021 BEYA STEM Virtual Event that kicks off February 11, 2021.
Nominated by his supervisor, Crooks was chosen for the BEYA award for his proven ability to be multi-disciplined within his field, and his demonstrated desire and skill to be a leader among his peers.
“I feel honored to be recognized and am very appreciative of the award,” Crooks said. “The most rewarding aspect of my work experience has been the opportunity to serve in various leadership roles, and being able to serve others as an expert, advisory resource and mentor has been most fulfilling.”
The annual BEYA STEM Modern-Day Technology Award recognizes bright men and women who are shaping the future of engineering, science and technology. The nomination packages are reviewed and recommended for award by a panel of leaders from industry, government and academia. Crook’s supervisor, ISEC Electronics Engineer Victor Andriene, considered it a great honor and privilege to nominate Crooks.
“I have had the privilege of working on several projects with Keithley, both as a peer and as his supervisor, and found it a pleasure to experience the way he is not only able to analyze and understand new technologies, but to explain the impact they have to information technology solutions supporting the Army mission,” Andriene said. “He is gifted at provoking thought among his peers and leadership, as well as providing innovative ideas on how to solve today’s and tomorrow’s problems.”
Crooks has been in federal service for more than 20 years and has worked for the Department of the Army since 2009. He currently serves as an engineer leading the Voice Over Internet Protocol Modernization program efforts to transition the U.S. Army to VoIP infrastructure and technology.
A graduate of Howard University, Crooks has been familiar with BEYA since college but has never attended a conference. His first opportunity will be as an Army civilian and one met with esteemed recognition.
“I always wanted my work to have a purpose more than to earn money for a corporation and desired to use my talents in service to my country,” Crooks said. “The Army has given me many opportunities to make an impact, travel and be exposed to great dedicated people, from whose influence I have benefited immensely.”
When asked if he had any advice for young, aspiring engineers interested in becoming an Army civilian, Crooks recommended they always strive for the best.
“Keep pursuing your dreams, step by step,” Crooks said. “Be patient, persistent, and above all, willing to learn from everyone. Your degree is just the beginning of your journey.”
The BEYA conference provides a platform for the Army to generate a professional dialogue with students and thought-leaders, and educates a national audience on the connection between STEM-related professional opportunities and the Army.
The U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command’s ISEC, headquartered at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, provides systems engineering, installation, integration, implementation and evaluation support for communications and information technology systems worldwide. It provides capabilities to Army organizations, combatant commanders, DOD agencies and federal agencies in support of the warfighter.
Headquartered at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, CECOM sustains and delivers command, control, communications, computers, cyber, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C5ISR) readiness for U.S. Army soldiers. Whether repairing radar and satellite terminals to maintain battlefield awareness, delivering software updates to keep tactical radios safe from virtual intruders, or ensuring spare parts are available whenever and wherever needed, CECOM's global team equips and empowers soldiers in all aspects of C5ISR, every minute of every day.