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Textron Systems employees presented with awards at BEYA conference

February 19, 2024

The Black Engineer of the Year Awards (BEYA) conference brings students and professionals from various backgrounds together annually to celebrate diversity and excellence in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

Hosted by Career Communications Group, Inc., BEYA strives to promote and recognize the achievements of African Americans in STEM fields while providing opportunities for networking, professional development and mentorship.

Each year, exceptional individuals in various categories are honored for their significant contributions to their respective fields. The awards recognize those who have not only excelled academically and professionally, but have also served as role models and advocates for diversity and inclusion in STEM.

This year, two Textron Systems employees have been presented with awards at the annual BEYA conference. William, Director of Research and Advanced Systems, was awarded the Senior Technology Fellow Award for his impact in the research and development (R&D) field. Lydell, Principal Embedded Software Engineer, was awarded the Science Spectrum Trailblazer Award for actively creating new paths for others in science, research, technology and development. Congratulations to William and Lydell for such an outstanding honor!

Meet William

William, Director of Research and Advanced Systems


William has been with Textron Systems for more than 17 years. As a member of the Applied Technologies and Advanced Programs (ATAP) team, he leads novel solution concept development and efforts to pursue and capture new research and design (R&D) programs for Textron Systems.

“A typical day for my team entails regular communications with internal partners, virtual and in-person interactions with industry and academic partners, and with Department of Defense (DoD) Science and Technology (S&T) leads and their teams at some of their key institutions,” William said.

“I relish working with individuals who have an innovation mindset and a can-do attitude even in the face of the most complex and difficult-to-articulate problems,” said William, who has found his niche within the DoD Contract R&D environment.

“This career-level recognition of William is extremely well-deserved and I am honored to have been able to work with the BEYA committee on his nomination,” said William’s leader, Michael Kraft, Senior Vice President of ATAP and Chief Technical Counsel for Textron Systems. “He has leveraged the arc of his personal experiences in academia and industry and from Benin to France to CalTech and then, ultimately, Textron, and his accomplishments are significant, period. William remains a voracious learner willing and capable to expand his scope of understanding on some of our - and our customers’ - most demanding problem sets.”

Meet Lydell

Lydell, Principal Embedded Software Engineer

Lydell has been with Textron Systems for more than 40 years and initially came on board as an engineering analyst in the Electronic Warfare division. Since then, Lydell has gained experience in software development and code writing, both of which led to his successful master’s degree completion in software development.

“Along the way I was mentored by numerous supervisors who saw potential in me and presented me with the opportunities to take on an ever-increasing amount of responsibility,” said Lydell, who is grateful for the opportunity to oversee both technical and project engineering responsibilities. “I would not have imagined being in the position I am in now at this stage of my career.”

“As the Compass Call Mission Crew Simulator (CCMCS) program develops systems that train our users to help protect those who face an ever-changing array of threats, there are always new challenges,” Lydell said. “As a group everyone, is conscious of whom we are working for, meaning not just Textron Systems but the end user – the warfighter.”

“Lydell has been a leader, mentor and advocate for young engineers throughout his time with Textron Systems. He has exemplified a tireless work ethic on each project he has been a part of, setting the standard that others to look up to and strive to emulate,” said Lydell’s leader, Matt, Senior Director, Engineering. “His long experience being both a Software and Systems Engineer working on highly complex and demanding programs gives him the perspective that others seek out when in need of good counsel.”

Congratulations again to William and Lydell on these incredible honors! Textron Systems is proud to continue supporting BEYA and other DEI and STEM organizations that strive to create opportunities in these fields for tomorrow’s youth.