Alland Leandre Receives Black Engineer of the Year Entrepreneur Award: Dedicated to Education and to Making a Difference

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Alland Leandre, Chief Executive Officer of Vyalex Management Solutions, Inc., received the Entrepreneur Award at the Black Engineer of the Year (BEYA) Awards Conference 2008.

Alland Leandre received the Entrepreneur Award before an exuberant audience at the Black Engineer of the Year (BEYA) Awards Conference 2008 held Feb. 14-17, celebrating the most distinguished minorities in the science and technology fields in institutions ranging from the U.S. military to the civil service to industry.

Leandre's recognition with only five years under his belt as the Chief Executive Officer of Vyalex Management Solutions, Inc. (http://www.vyalex.com), a small avionics engineering and management company headquartered in Howard County, Maryland, illustrates the combined power of business and technology. In fact, this coveted award has not been given every year in the 22 year history of the conference.

"One of my earliest and most profound memories is the first time I ever saw an airplane up close. I was 3 years old at the time and was at the airport with my mother saying "goodbye" to my father who was leaving Haiti for America. I remember being mesmerized by what appeared to be a magical object that flew to great places. I knew then that I would spend a great part of my life learning how the magic of flight works. I decided early to do whatever was necessary in order to become an engineer," Leandre told the crowd gathered at the awards formal gala.

In turn, Leandre has always been interested and involved in education and helping others take advantage of what he aspired to at an early age.

Leandre received an undergraduate degree in aerospace engineering from Syracuse University, and an MBA from the University of Michigan's Ross Graduate School of Business. He is a U.S. Army veteran and honed his skills in the corporate world. But owning his own business was always in his dreams. The dream became real with the founding of Vyalex. Part of that dream has always been to contribute to the U.S.'s ability to compete in the global marketplace by helping to increase the diversity of its workforce.

As part of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) initiative, Leandre's company and C&M Solutions of Lexington Park, MD, created the Vyalex Total Technology Pipeline (V-TTP).V-TTP sponsored a visit by more than 36 students, most from Great Mills High School in St. Mary's County, Maryland to the BEYA Black Family Technology Awareness Program in Baltimore on Saturday, February 16, 2008. The students engaged in interactive exercises with host Mario Armstrong, a technology broadcaster with NPR, to learn about science, technology, math and engineering facts and feats. Being able to win iPODs and other technology gadgets for answering questions correctly made the competition more exciting for the students.

In an orientation session, Dr. Cardinal Warde, Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), urged the V-TTP to "do something you like." He stressed the importance of using the public library, school resources and mentors to succeed in their education and career goals.

Engineer and mentor Albert Sweets from Morgan State University's Clarence M. Mitchell School of Engineering, helped the students make a road map and plan of their time, studies and future by engaging them in discussions of their ideas and aspirations.

The Vyalex Day ended with a tour of the U.S. Navy warship USS Forrest Sherman, DDG 98 that traveled to the Port of Baltimore from Norfolk, VA, especially for this event. Students, staff and chaperones got a full tour of the Navy destroyer and got to experience what careers exist in the U.S. Navy and what life is like aboard ship.

From dreams to reality, Leandre is realizing the fruits of his labor. The BEYA award, he said, is one of the capstones in his career.

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Steve Parezo
Vyalex
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