Diversity Champions

Corporate Champion

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Annie Lidge

Supplier Diversity Manager

Fluor

Starting her career with Fluor in 1974, Annie has more than 40 years of experience in procurement and contracting within the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) industry in both government and commercial applications. Annie was appointed Fluor’s Corporate Supplier Diversity Program Manager in 2013. In this role, she transformed the longstanding Program into one that is proactive and innovative. Annie has developed groundbreaking processes and procedures by establishing various internal program committees that foster connections and provide developmental growth opportunities for diverse businesses in the supply chain. She has created a thriving supplier diversity program with all domestic Fluor offices engaged and supporting diverse business enterprises and minority development councils in their respective regions.

 

She must vet the M/WBE companies to ensure they meet Fluor’s supplier standards from Insurance, to Quality, to Safety to the specific product or service that Fluor acquires. Annie goes out of her way to help M/WBEs understand Fluor’s requirements and then assists with getting the M/WBE the needed help to meet Fluor’s expectations. She then does introductions to the appropriate personnel within Fluor and follows up to ensure both parties are aware of next steps. She even meets with both parties in a meeting to help facilitate the conversation for two way understood communication.

 

During Covid, Annie assisted M/WBEs who had new products to meet the Covid protocol for Fluor that created new business opportunities. She helped diverse companies pivot during covid. Annie is a mentor to diverse businesses and shares her rolodex for referrals.

Annie is not afraid to include senior management in the conversations about Fluor in the business community so that they understand that it is their influence that will help Fluor meet is diverse goals, and meet their customer’s expectations as well as Fluor meeting their ESG goals.

 

Annie participates in MBE and WBE organizations, SBA and others to find diverse businesses to vet for Fluor. She connects diverse businesses in the community with Fluor’s non profit outreach so that Fluor personnel can work side by side with M/WBEs. She supports education at universities as well as non profits for leadership and business for diverse business through scholarships.

Community Champion

David W. Leebron became Rice University’s seventh president in 2004. Under Leebron’s guidance, the institution has undergone a period of growth and transformation. During his tenure, the university has increased its undergraduate student population, enhanced the vibrancy of the campus with $800 million in new construction, extended its research endeavors and international presence, deepened its relationship with its home city of Houston, and earned greater visibility locally, nationally and internationally.

Early in his presidency, Leebron engaged in extensive consultations that produced the Vision for the Second Century (V2C), a plan for Rice’s growth and advancement as one of the world’s premier research universities. As Rice enters the next phase of strategic planning, the Vision for the Second Century/Second Decade (V2C2), the university is well positioned for its second hundred years.

Perhaps the biggest change has occurred in undergraduate enrollment, which has increased 30 percent since 2004. The number of applications received for fall 2018 set a record at approximately 21,000. President Leebron, as part of the V2C2, also introduced The Rice Investment - groundbreaking financial aid initiatives for the middle class, offering free and reduced tuition and fees to families in America's largest economic class. International applicants have increased fivefold, and undergraduate and graduate students now come from more than 90 countries.

 

Under his watch, the student body has become more diverse and more international. The Among the domestic student population, Blacks increased from 7 percent to 10 percent; Hispanic students increased from 11 percent to 16 percent and the Asian- Americans representation went from 14 percent to 32 percent. The international students boomed during this period from 3 percent to 12 percent, representing more than 70 countries. The increase in student diversity led to the creation of a multicultural center to provide a space in which a diverse Rice community can collaborate on diversity and inclusion programs and initiatives.

Leebron led the efforts to grow the student population and create a more generous financial aid program to allow more students of color to attend Rice. As president, he saw the student population almost doubled from 4,855 to 8,500. He created a financial aid program that benefits all students, especially low-to-middle- income students. Students from families with under $65,000 in income receive free tuition, fees and room and board. Students from families who make between $65,000 to $130,000 receive free tuition.


Leebron also increased the diversity of the faculty. Black professors in 2005 made up 1.9 percent of the faculty; today it is 2.6 percent. The percentage of Hispanic professors increased from 3.2 percent to 6.8 percent. Leebron also hired the first Asian provost, the first Black provost, the first Latino vice president of enrollment, the first Latina vice president of enrollment, the first Latino dean of the Jones School of Business, the first Black dean of the School of Engineering, the first Black vice president of Human Resources, the first Black vice president of Development, the first female vice president of Public Affairs, the first Black magister of a college (dorm), the first Black police chief, and the first Latino police chief. Diversity climbed to the very top as more Black and Latino members took their seats at the board of trustee table.

During his tenure, the number of diverse student groups flourished. Where at one time there was only one Black student group, there are now nine: Black Business Student Association, Black Graduate Student Association, Black Male Leadership Initiative, Black Student Association, Caribbean Student Society, DAWA Pre-Health Society, National Society of Black Engineers, Rice African Student Association, Rice Black Women’s Association.

Hispanic student groups also grew. There are now five: The Hispanic Association of Cultural Enrichment (HACER), the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, the Rice Mariachi Luna Llena, Rice Salseros and the Latino Graduate Student Association.

Because of his commitment to diversity, almost every major department or school at Rice now has a diversity and inclusion officer or committee. For example, the Athletic Department, the business school, the engineering School, the Admissions Office and the Alumni Relations Department have people assigned to lead diversity efforts. Most recently, Leebron created the position of vice provost of diversity, equity, and inclusion to overlook all the diversity efforts at Rice.

Under his leadership, Rice created a series of centers that provide students with a variety of ethnic and cultural studies. They include the Chao Center for Asian studies, the Center for the United States and Mexico, and the Center for African and African American Studies.

Leebron was also instrumental in establishing an array of institutes and programs to address social issues that affect our communities. These include the Boniuk Institute for the Study of and Advancement of Religious Tolerance, the Kinder Institute for Urban Research and the Doerr Institute for New Leaders.

Most recently, Leebron created the Task Force on Slavery, Segregation and Racial Injustice whose mission is to investigate Rice’s past with respect to slavery, segregation, and racial injustice; to encourage frank and honest discussion about the past; and to identify suggestions for Rice’s future.

His efforts to make Rice more diverse has paid off. Rice was named the No. 1 school for “race/class interaction” by the Princeton Review. Under the guidance and vision of Leebron, Rice has come a long way since it was founded to provide a college education to the white residents of Texas. Once again, Rice is one of the most diverse universities of the country, reflecting the demographics of Houston, the most diverse city in the country.

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David Leebron

President

Rice University

Team Champion

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The team comprises Samir Saber, Program Director of IT Continuing Education; and Raymond “Mitch” Keller, Professor of Computer Networking.

The team successfully conceived and conducted four free STEM camps at HCC West Loop and Stafford campuses (HCC Southwest); North Forest campus (HCC Northeast); and Eastside campus (HCC Southeast). The subjects were Virtual Reality and Apple Swift Coding with Robotics. Participants included middle and high school students from low socioeconomic neighborhoods who receive reduced or free lunches.

There were 142 students who confirmed their attendance by phone prior to the camp; 102 attended and 91 successfully completed the camps. The demographic breakdown was as follows: Latino, 30 percent; African American and White, 25 percent each; and Asian American, 20 percent. Students who completed the camps received 1.5 Continuing Education units via HCC’s Digital and Information Technology Continuing Education program to compensate their 15 hours of camp activities.

The camps were largely funded by a $69,971 Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) Governor’s Summer Merit Program (GSMP) grant. The grant proposal was pursued and submitted by Samir Saber as the principal investigator and grant manager. Raymond “Mitch” Keller and Samir Saber also assumed the roles of co-directors and co-managers of the camps.

The purpose of the camps was to give underserved young people the opportunity to experience technology traditionally beyond their reach. Students were able to use the latest Virtual Reality (VR) technology powered by Oculus headsets. Students were fully immersed during the camps and empowered to explore new worlds and new possibilities thanks to the technology and experienced faculty. The students also benefited from HCC’s existing Engage virtual world and other cutting-edge software to provide the full experience. Many students were inspired to create their own games and explore more possibilities with the use of VR, which is rapidly being integrated in many existing and upcoming industries. The summer camps exposed students to a high-tech world and motivated them to pursue studies toward a future career in IT.

The K-12 students also participated in Apple Swift coding camps, gaining an understanding of coding by playing the Swift Playgrounds game and learning about block coding and scripting with Swift. They applied the concepts by using Sphero robots that were donated by Apple, a partner of HCC since 2017.

Saber and Keller worked to secure a donation from The PepsiCo Foundation that funded T-shirts, giveaways and refreshments for the summer camp participants. The students also enjoyed visits and pep talks from several guests including college presidents, deans, directors, and a resident director of entrepreneurship who offered career coaching.

To ensure the camps’ success, under the direction of Saber and Keller, 18 faculty and 11 support staff members were involved, serving as mentors and providing logistical assistance. They included administrative assistants, an office manager, an instructional server administrator, and three lab technicians. The camps were originally planned to be held virtually due to COVID-19. However, after prudent consideration with college leadership, Saber and Keller tackled the difficulties head- on opting for in-person camps so that students would receive the full benefits of the cutting-edge technology and a robust, fully immersive camp experience. The plans were carried out successfully with meticulous safety measures.

 

The camps provided invaluable, lifetime experiences for the students who otherwise may not have had the access to a high-tech experience that they will never forget. Meanwhile, the students also inspired the Digital and Information Technology team with their curiosity, enthusiasm and appreciation for the camps.

  • Commitment to diversity as an important part of the institution’s mission

  • Public and/or academically oriented endeavors that demonstrate intellectual excellence

    and commitment to cultural diversity in service, teaching, scholarship, and/or creative activity

  • Efforts to increase diversity within one’s unit and/or the institution

  • Efforts to use scholarly and/or creative work to enhance the success of staff of diverse

    cultural and racial backgrounds

  • Willingness to serve as a mentor to others

  • Efforts to bring about equity in our society

Digital and Information Technology STEM Team,

Houston Community College