ARLINGTON, Va. (Army News Service, May 4, 2011) -- The Federal Asian Pacific American Council will recognize an Army noncommissioned officer at its national conference, May 12, 2011.

Sgt. 1st Class Mark Steinfeld will receive the Federal Asian Pacific American Council, or FAPAC, Military Meritorious Service Award for his previous work as a garrison Equal Opportunity advisor at Fort McPherson, Ga. He's now stationed at the new U.S. Army Forces Command headquarters on Fort Bragg, N.C., and continues to work in the field of equal opportunity.

The award presentation will be at the FAPAC 26th annual National Leadership Training Conference in Bellevue, Wash. The theme for this year's conference is "Leadership, Diversity, Empowerment and Beyond."

It's the same theme recognized nationwide for this year's Asian-Pacific Heritage Month, observed throughout the month of May.

Founded in 1985, FAPAC represents civilian and military Asian-Pacific American employees in the federal and District of Columbia governments and provides a focus for more than 30 ethnically distinct groups originating from Asian and Pacific regions as recognized by the United States Bureau of Census.

The conference program is designed to continue the organization's longstanding commitment to promote equal employment opportunity and cultural diversity in federal employment.

With his work as EO and at the FAPAC training conference last year at Washington, D.C.'s National Harbor, Steinfeld said he learned a lot.

"I enjoyed the seminars at that conference, especially one about overcoming an accent and why that's necessary to minimize the barriers of conflict and misunderstanding," he said.

Although he's not Asian American and doesn't have an accent, he understood the dilemma of those who do and how this can hinder communication.

"I had dinner at the conference with Doctor Meng, whose family had escaped persecution during Chiang Kai-shek's reign. He had earned his doctorate by writing a dissertation on his theory about bringing the space shuttle back to earth feet first, rather than head first and reducing the heat suffered by those inside," Steinfeld said.

"But what I took away from that night was the fact so many refugees have escaped prison or death for their beliefs to come here and make America a better place to live," he said.

His supervisor, Sgt. Maj. Carl G. Downey, who nominated him for this award, said Steinfeld has supported the full integration and promotion of minorities and women within the U.S. armed forces by fostering innovation and creating involvement within countless communities, both military and civilian, that support not only FORSCOM Soldiers but all Soldiers and their families.

"Sergeant 1st Class Steinfeld currently provides direct support for over 144 Equal Opportunity specialists throughout the United States Army. The overall region of responsibility includes 12 major installations and eight special staffs that provide support to over 400,000 Soldiers and 13,000 civilians.

"In addition, he coaches, teaches and mentors over 400 sexual assault victim advocates. His commitment to the promotion of race and human relations is unquestionable," said Downey, who is the Forces Command Equal Opportunity and Sexual Harassment Assault Response and Prevention sergeant major.

Steinfeld, a graduate of the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute, has planned, prepared, executed or assisted subordinate commands with more than 40 observances and or training seminars. These events encouraged Asian-Pacific American, Native American, African American, Hispanic American, and Women's history awareness.

He has assisted senior leaders and subordinate commands with identifying barriers or institutional procedures that cause under representation, discrimination or inequality. In addition, he has created study groups, panels and teams to ensure affirmative hiring procedures are being conducted in accordance with mandatory laws, regulatory guidance, and command directives.

"'Diversity is the big picture and truly has no limitations. There are so many variables and people are the greatest common multiple.' These were the thoughts I shared with my garrison leadership when receiving a diversity brief from the U.S. Army Europe EO/HR program manager," Steinfeld said.

For more information about FAPAC, visit