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Related News Release 14 Asian American STEM Professionals Honored in Albuquerque, New Mexico
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Posted 4/16/2018

Release no. 18-004

Dr. Lin Ye
(505) 249-4896

[Editor's Note: This news release was not written by the Albuquerque District, USACE. It is being shared here because one of our employees, Mr. Thomas Bueno, was honored with the Asian American Engineer of the Year Award.]


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- 14 Asian American STEM professionals were honored at an award banquet on Saturday, April 7, 2018 at Hotel Albuquerque in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The celebration was part of a two-day event that included a tour of the awardees and sponsor representatives to the Microsystems and Engineering Sciences Applications (MESA) and the National Solar Thermal Test Facility (NSTTF) at Sandia National Labs and a pre-award dinner at the Albuquerque International Balloon Museum on April 6; and four professional development seminars that were facilitated by professionals from the event sponsors the morning of the banquet. The celebration was part of the National Engineers Week:

1. Understanding Artificial Intelligence Intelligently presented by Dr. Anne Kao of The Boeing Company;

2. Architecting Disruption: Leveraging Cognitive, Automation and Cloud to Accelerate Your Business Today and Tomorrow presented by Mickey Iqbal of IBM;

3. Minority Women in Leadership: Finding Success Where Identities Intersect presented by Krunali Patel of Texas Instruments; and

4. Speaking Your Truth: Are You Having Courageous Conversations? presented by Dr. Mia Logan of Sandia National Laboratories.

The major sponsors of the 2-day program are The Boeing Company, General Motors Company, IBM Corporation, Idaho National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, Texas Instruments Inc., and Westlake Chemical Corporation. Other supporters include Advanced Network Management, Bank of Albuquerque, Berkshire Hathaway Real Estate, Chinese American Citizens Alliance, Eaton, Fidelity Investments, Hayashi Japanese Steakhouse, Hsinchu Science Park, Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute, Sandia Laboratory Federal Credit Union, Science and Technology Division, Taipei Economic and Culture Office in LA. U.S. Armed Forces, U.S. NAVY and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers also participated.

The entire program was organized by the 2018 AAEOY (Asian American Engineer of the Year) Executive Committee that was part of the New Mexico Chapter of the Chinese Institute of Engineers (CIE-USA).

The Saturday evening celebration started with a VIP reception for over 120 guests. The award banquet was kicked off with a breathtaking lion dance that captivated the 350 guests in the audience. It was followed by the presentation of colors by the University of New Mexico Army Color Guard and the singing of the national anthem by Ms. Micaela Bateman. After the welcome remarks by Chui Fan Cheng, Chair of the 2018 AAEOY Executive Committee, Dr. Cliff Ho and Ms. Anita Wong, master and mistress of ceremony, presented a few excerpts from congratulatory letters from the Governor of New Mexico, Mayor of Albuquerque, the NM Congressional Delegates as well as several Asian American government officials. The keynote speaker at the banquet was Dr. Steve Younger, Director of Sandia National Laboratories.

In addition to honoring two world-renowned STEM leaders, each with a Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award, CIE-USA also recognized 12 outstanding scientists, engineers, and corporate leaders of Asian heritage from across the U.S. for their exceptional contributions in their profession and public service.

The recipients of the two Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Awards were Sundar Pichai, Chief Executive Officer of Google, LLC and Dr. Yitang Zhang, Professor of Mathematics at the University of California at Santa Barbara. Sundar Pichai is selected for his vision and leadership in shaping the global information technology of the 21st century. He led the development of key consumer products, such as Google Toolbar and Google Chrome that are now used by over two billion consumers globally. Over half of the global mobile browser market is held by Google Chrome. Dr. Yitang Zhang is recognized for his breakthrough work in establishing the first finite bound on gap between pairs of twin prime numbers and for his legendry career as a mathematician. His work has helped move forward a 2000-year-old conjecture about prime numbers in Number Theory.

Edward Gerding, The Boeing Company was the sole recipient of Asian American Executive of the Year Award.

Nine professionals were honored with the Asian American Engineer of the Year Award. They are:
· Thomas J. Bueno, US Army Corps of Engineers
· Dr. Mei Cai, General Motors Company
· Mickey Iqbal, IBM Corporation
· Dr. Sreenivasan Koduri, Texas Instruments, Inc.
· Dr. Shelly Li, Idaho National Laboratory
· Dr. Shengyi Liu, The Boeing Company
· Dr. Hy Tran, Sandia National Laboratories
· Dr. Jaya Shankar Tumuluru, Idaho National Laboratory
· Dr. Grant Wang, The Boeing Company

The Asian American Most Promising Engineer of the Year Award went to Dr. Rian Mustafa Bahran of Los Alamos National Laboratory, and Jennifer Lam-Nguyen Pham of the US Navy Naval Air Systems Command.

The 2 ½-hour award ceremony was designed as a single production. Weaving through the three categories of award presentations were short entertainments showcasing New Mexico’s cultural heritages--Native American Hoop dance, Chinese traditional Face Change, and Spanish Flamenco dance. The awards were presented by the honorees’ affiliated organization within each category. A brief introductory video of each organization was shown prior to the introduction of an honoree by the nominator from the organization. The honoree received the award from AAEOY Chair and Co-chair and gave an acceptance speech. This format not only celebrates the individual achievements of each awardee but also highlights each organization as an entity.

During the special dessert break of the banquet, two videos were shown. The first one, Asian American Experience, was specially choreographed for the 2018 AAEOY celebration. It traced the immigrant experience of Asians from mid 1800s (exacerbated by the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 that was enforced for over 60 years and the Japanese Internment Camp during WWII) to their achievements and successes in recent years. The second video narrated the 100 years of statehood of New Mexico and its cultural diversity. It was provided by New Mexico Tourism Department. Both videos touched a deep core in the banquet attendees and put the 2018 AAEOY celebration in a historical context.

The evening concluded with closing remarks by the Chair of the National Council of CIE-USA, Dr. Yifeng Wang. Next year’s AAEOY celebration will be hosted by Dallas/Fort Worth Chapter of the CIE-USA.

Photographs, citation of accomplishments and biographies of all awardees can be found at

Asian American Engineer of the Year Award Brig. Gen. Peter Helmlinger CIE-USA Lt. Col. James Booth New Mexico Chapter of the Chinese Institute of Engineers (CIE-USA) south pacific division South Pacific Division commander