Monday, February 7, 2011

Black History Month Blog Series (Part 3 - Eugene Vickers, Engineering Test Division Acting Chief)

In honor of Black History Month, Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC) is hosting a special blog series, featuring insights and candid narratives from several of the Center’s African-American leaders. We invite you to follow the series this month here on ECBC’s official blog site.The third and final installation of this series features Eugene Vickers, Acting Chief of the ECBC Engineering Test Division.

What is the one word that characterizes Black History Month for you?
The one word that characterizes Black History Month for me is inspiration. When I think about Black History Month, I am inspired both mentally and emotionally how (we), as African-Americans have endured the obstacles of slavery, depression and segregation. Black History Month helps stimulate our knowledge and draws on history that blacks (African-Americans) were kings and queens in early civilizations, slaves to a new country, and now leaders of the most powerful country in the world. To me, that’s inspiration!

What moment in black history do you find to be the most significant moment for you, the community, or the Nation? Why?
The moment in black history that is most significant for me has to be the election of Barack Obama as the first black President of the United States of America. There has been over 48 successful and non-successful, African-American U.S. Presidential Party nominee candidates, but only Barack Obama was elected as President. When President Obama was elected hope was given to me, and the next generation of minorities, that in this country you can achieve your dreams with hard work, prayer and help from others.

What are your thoughts about the significance of Barack Obama’s election as the first black Commander in Chief?
Growing up as a young boy and into my adulthood, I wondered why there hadn’t been a black President. Blacks had attended the prestigious Ivy League schools, obtained doctorate degrees, became CEO’s of their companies, and held the highest military position in the Department of Defense (Gen. Colin Powell, 12th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff). I read newspapers and articles that blacks didn’t have the leadership skills to lead the country. To me the significance of Barack Obama’s election as the first black Commander in Chief confirms to me that blacks do have the ability, leadership skills and knowledge to hold the most powerful office in the country.

What can ECBC workforce do to support diversity as the Center?
Some of the things I think ECBC workforce can do to support diversity is:  conduct workshops to bring diverse groups together to learn about their differences; participate in a shadowing program where people of diverse groups work with each other; have a suggestion box where the workforce can put their concerns in and the questions are addressed within 30 days. 

Mr. Vickers serves as Acting Division Chief for Engineering Test Division, Engineering Directorate at the Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC).  He is responsible for the oversight, planning, coordination, training and directing all Surety and Non-Surety Commodity Area Testing of critical chemical/biological defense programs within the Engineering Directorate. Formerly, Mr. Vickers held the position as Chief of the Accredited Laboratory Program with the United States Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) located in Washington, DC. for two years. He provided management oversight and scientific advice to over 70 non-Federal laboratories who conducted analytical food technology studies on ready to eat meat products and conducted laboratory audits on these laboratories. Mr. Vickers holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from Tuskegee Institute, Masters of Science in Analytical Chemistry from Drexel University, and a Masters of Business Administration from Loyola College in Maryland and a member of the U.S. Army Acquisition Corps.

This content on this blog does not represent the views or beliefs of ECBC, its employees, its management or the federal government.

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