The time is quickly approaching when more than 8,000 people are expected to convene in Pittsburgh for the annual National Society of Black Engineering conference. “

We are excited and looking forward to a great event,” proclaimed Carl Mack, executive director of the student run organization.

READY TO CELEBRATE—Carl Mack, executive director of the National Society of Black Engineers is flanked by Pittsburgh members Travelius Harris, president of the Pittsburgh Alumni Chapter and Dyinkansola Dina, convention speakers and workshop chairperson. (Photos by Diane I. Daniels)

With the mission to increase the number of culturally responsible African-American engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally and positively impact the community, the group will celebrate the successes of their members as well as support and promote the aspirations of professionals, students and pre-college students.

For the second time in six years, NSBE is expected to bring millions of direct spending visitor dollars to Pittsburgh. It is projected that the March 28 through April 1, conference will generate $14 million. In 2006 during their annual conference, officials from VisitPittsburgh calculate that the City benefited by $12 million.

“We are absolutely delighted to welcome NSBE back to Pittsburgh,” said Joe McGrath, president and CEO of VisitPittsburgh. “This return engagement demonstrates that Pittsburgh, together with the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, combine to create the ideal destination for a convention of this significant size.”

The NSBE confab is one of the largest conferences slated for the year.

“It was an easy decision to return to Pittsburgh for our 38th annual convention,” said Mack. Classifying the 06 conference as one of their best, he said Pittsburgh had a great spirit. “VisitPittsburgh made the group feel welcome from day one, were responsive to our requests and made sure our convention attendees were well taken care of,” he said.

VisitPittsburgh, formerly the Greater Pittsburgh Convention & Visitors Bureau is the official tourism promotion agency for Allegheny County.

The goal of the premiere event for the organization is to provide its membership with the pipeline necessary to continue to strive for success in their academics, profession, and community. The convention will showcase the NSBE culture, achievements of the membership, local and nationwide talent, and Black-owned businesses in the Pittsburgh area. There, will be various programs and workshops aiming to benefit grade school, collegiate, graduate, technical professional and international entities of the Society.

The four-day conference will include an informal Science and Engineering Fair and GE BEE Healthy obstacle course. Considered a “reverse” science fair for youth in grades three through eighth, it will include eight different hands-on activities.

Scheduled conference speakers include Bob Johnson, African-American billionaire and Black Entertainment Television founder; Andrew Young, former mayor of Atlanta and civil rights leader; Admiral Jonathan W. Greenert, chief of naval operations; and Rod Adkins, senior vice president for Systems and Technology Group.

Entertainers will include Pittsburgher Lamman Rucker who has appeared in the movies “Why Did I Get Married” and “Why Did I Get Married, Too,” and television shows “Law and Order” and “Meet the Browns.”

Also scheduled to grace the stage is Liverpool England born vocalist, songwriter and producer Marsha Ambrosius. Formerly a part of the singing duo Floetry, Ambrosius has penned and or produced music for Alicia Keys, Jamie Foxx, Nas and the late Michael Jackson. She has been nominated for six Grammys and honored by major music organizations.

The group recently announced that because of the significant impact he has made on the community and his contributions to the African-American community, Robert O. Agbede, president and CEO of Pittsburgh based Chester Engineers has been selected to receive their 2012 NSBE Golden Torch Award for Entrepreneur of the Year. With offices throughout the country as well as affiliates internationally, Chester Engineers is a leading water, and waste water facility. The company is also a scientific research and management firm. A recognized expert in the field of environmental engineering, Agbede is a University of Pittsburgh School of Engineering graduate with bachelor’s and master’s degrees and a holder of several U.S. patents. In 2000, he was inducted into the school’s Engineering Hall of Fame and he is the recipient of the 2009 Distinguished Alumnus Award of the University of Pittsburgh.

The Golden Torch Awards link the accomplishments of distinguished African-American engineers and technical professionals with college bound dreams of pre-college students. Since its inception GTA has served as a night to honor the best and the brightest in technology.

Established in 1970, NSBE is the link between the African-American community and the world of technology. A technical community service association, NSBE is the premier organization serving African-Americans in engineering and technology. With 30,000 members and 394 chapters worldwide, NSBE offers educational, professional and networking programs to high school and college students. Pittsburgh chapters are located at the University of Pittsburgh, and Carnegie Mellon University.

NSBE programming advances the mission of the organization to support the preparation and matriculation of under-represented pre-college and collegiate students on to engineering degrees and into the technical workforce. Programs and competitions are offered to all pre-college, undergraduate student, graduate student and technical professional members in the areas of academic excellence, technical excellence, professional development, leadership development, entrepreneurship, community service and pre-college outreach.

(Information concerning the conference can be obtained from the NSBE website at

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