Professional Development Conference in San Diego Inspired More Than 400 Black Technical Professionals

Annual Event Supported the Mission of the National Society of Black Engineers

NSBE Professionals, the 4,000-member organization for STEM practitioners within the National Society of Black Engineers, recently hosted its annual Professional Development Conference in San Diego, California. The five-day event, held at the San Diego Marriott Mission Valley Hotel, attracted more than 400 attendees and provided a healthy atmosphere for networking, employee recruitment and technical training.

The conference began with a “Welcome to San Diego” networking event sponsored by Solar Turbines. Other activities included a reception hosted by NSBE’s Healthcare Innovation Special Interest Group (HISIG) and sponsored by Thermo Fisher Scientific, and a meet and mingle event hosted by NSBE’s Information Technology Think Tank Special Interest Group. Amazon and Facebook sponsored hospitality suites.



Amazon, the Platinum Sponsor of the conference, also hosted a networking mixer, a web service training course and a Tech Talk Series, which offered knowledge about recent technical innovations. An Executive Leadership Luncheon sponsored by the company provided an overview of cutting-edge technologies.


A workshop presented by United Technologies Corporation discussed data and access applications for developing geospatial information systems (GIS) technologies. Other workshop sessions covered topics such as corporate leadership as a black professional and creating start-up businesses. Communication-related workshops included understanding personalities; interview preparation, presented by Dialpad; and branding via LinkedIn and social media. Panel discussions covered diversity topics and included a Mentoring Series.

Baxter Healthcare Corporation, longtime partner with NSBE’s HISIG, shared strategies to navigate challenges in medical device development and discussed healthcare disparities in the black community. HISIG also organized a tour of global medical technology company Becton Dickinson (BD).

The conference’s Luncheon & Distinguished Speaker Series featured William (“Billy”) Cohn, M.D., of Johnson & Johnson, who shared his experiences in running with an idea, assembling a team and raising capital.

The Aerospace Industry Exchange and Collaboration Circle discussed how to leverage industry research to support innovative solutions. Ghana Innovation and STEM Entrepreneurship Centre was present to provide an environment for innovators to build relationships.

Three of NSBE’s 11 Special Interest Groups (SIGs) hosted informational meetings offering opportunities for attendees to get involved with the groups: Women in Science & Engineering (WiSE), Environmental Engineering and Transportation.

A main conference event, the Career Expo, gave employers and academic institutions the opportunity to recruit talented technical professionals. Exhibitors included Accenture, Amazon, Dialpad, DropBox, Ingredion, Ingersoll Rand, Rockwell Automation, RTI, Solar Turbines Incorporated, ThermoFisher, United Technologies Corporation and the University of Washington Bothell – School of STEM Graduate Programs.

To “positively impact the community” is a mandate for NSBE members, and the conference fulfilled that with its #Community Matters: NSBE Public Policy Roundtable and a community outreach event named Self-ESTEM, which exposed middle school and high school students to engineering professionals and science activities.

The conference’s culminating event, the Evening of Excellence Scholarship Gala, raised funds to support NSBE’s Edward Barnette Jr. Community Impact Scholarship, which benefits select NSBE members pursuing STEM education. The gala also celebrated the achievements of some of the best and brightest individuals and organizations in the STEM fields and in the broader community.

To learn about NSBE’s 2020 Professional Development Conference in Miami, Florida, visit the website,  or the Facebook page, .

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