Three U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) scientists from the Sensors and Electron Devices Directorate, Dr. Richard Fu, Dr. Susan Young, and Dr. Tien Pham, attended the 8th annual Asian American Government Executive Network (AAGEN) leadership conference recently held in Crystal City, Va.

The Department of the Army sponsored this year's conference for the first time.
Carrying the theme "Leadership in an Austere Environment," the conference provided a valuable learning and networking opportunity for participants eager to be effective leaders and manage their professional careers.

In his keynote remarks, Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry underscored the importance of investing in training, including leadership training such as the AAGEN conference, especially when other areas of the budget are cut.

"We can't just throw people into very complicated situations that affect public health and safety without giving them the training to get the job done well," Berry said.

"In fact, training is probably one of the most efficient expenditures you can make," added Berry.

"Mr. Berry's distinguished remarks at our conference send a timely and positive message that diverse leadership is the key in our diverse society," An-Ming "Tommy" Hwang, AAGEN chair, stated.

With well over 400 registrants, conference attendance set a record high.

Other distinguished speakers included John Transviña, assistant secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, Department of Housing and Urban Development; Juan Garcia, assistant secretary of the Navy, Manpower and Reserve Affairs; Teri Takai, chief information officer, Department of Defense; and Clarence Johnson, director for Civilian Equal Employment Opportunity, Office of the Deputy Under secretary of Defense at the Pentagon.

More than 120 participants took advantage of AAGEN's signature Executive Coaching Sessions, provided by 27 senior executive and private coaches.

All three ARL scientists got the benefits from this one-on-one training session.

"This event is invaluable," said Fu.

"Asian Pacific American (APA) federal employees can get insight into the latest issues and solutions, and gain accesses to a broad network of professionals who can help us attain our full potentials," added Fu.

Following the conference, AAGEN held its annual banquet to recognize the achievements of APA leaders such as secretary of Energy, Dr. Steven Chu (Distinguished Lifetime Achievement), Brig. Gen. Frederick Wong (Outstanding Public Service), and Dr. Jeremy Wu (Stanley Suyat Memorial Leadership Award).

As role models, the distinguished careers of the honorees exemplify the extraordinary contributions APAs make to our nation.

"We were so fortunate to have this opportunity to attend the leadership conference, and appreciated the sponsorship of the Department of the Army, and the encouragement of the ARL Equal Employment Opportunity Office for participating in this conference," stated Fu.
"We hope that more ARL APAs attend the conference in the future," added Fu.