By James Johnson, NAVFAC Far East Public Affairs
YOKOSUKA, Japan—Public Works Department (PWD) Yokosuka, Japan, Installation Environmental Program Director Krystle McClain has won an important honor in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
McClain, who has worked for Naval Facilities Engineering Command Far East since 2015, won the 2019 Black Engineer of the Year Award (BEYA) in Professional Achievement.
“I am grateful and humble to be a recipient of this award. This award underlines that faith and hard work will produce recognition in due season,” said McClain. “There are many times in my career when I question my abilities and feel very overwhelmed with tasks. This award serves as the encouragement I need to continue to put my best foot forward in support of the Department of Defense and serve as an example to rising black female engineers.”
McClain will receive the award Feb. 9 in Washington D.C. at the BEYA STEM Global Competitiveness Conference.
“The black engineer community in Yokosuka is small yet impactful with many of us in leadership positions. Having worked for different services, in general, the black engineer community within the Department of Defense is small with minimal diversity in key leadership positions. There are times when entering a room, I take note that I am one of maybe two minorities at the table. The lack of diversity in leadership is a focal point for me as young black engineers need to see diverse representation for encouragement to stay the course along the engineer career path. I believe receiving this Black Engineer of the Year Award is the beginning of my charge to bridge the gap between untapped potential in minority students with leadership opportunities within the Department of Defense,” said McClain.
For more than 30 years, awards presented at the BEYA STEM Conference have honored excellence in STEM and underscored the serious under-representation of minorities in STEM and at senior levels in all disciplines. Employers committed to inclusion have chosen the BEYA STEM Global Competitiveness Conference to exchange best practices and strategies on how to promote and retain diversity in scientific and technical fields.
“I can think of no one more deserving of recognition for the BEYA STEM Award for Professional Achievement for her 14 years of service to the private sector and three different branches in the Department of Defense,” said PWD Yokosuka Public Works Officer Cmdr. Jason Wood. “She has achieved personal and team recognition at the highest levels through her leadership in environmental compliance and conservation.”
McClain currently leads a team of 30 environmental engineers and technicians from the U.S. and Japan at Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka. The team provides a complete spectrum of environmental compliance, planning and management services for the largest and most complex overseas U.S. Navy base. McClain has also been very active in her local community, taking leadership roles in service-oriented organizations and teaching about STEM careers to young students.