ARLINGTON, Va. (NNS) -- The Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards Conference (HENAAC) recently recognized a veteran employee of the Office of Naval Research (ONR), headquartered in Arlington, Va., with the Luminary Award.
Elmer Roman was honored with the award for his contributions as a leader and role model for the Hispanic technical community.
"We felt his body of work is one that should be shared with the country as a role model in [science, technology, engineering and math (STEM)]," said Ray Mellado, chairman and chief executive of HENAAC. "We're very proud of all our winners. Our role is to share their stories with teachers and students so they can inspire others."
Roman is the regional director of the ONR Global office in Santiago, Chile, where he is responsible for maintaining liaison with Canadian and Latin-American governments, industry and academia in areas relevant to Naval science, technology and research and development.
Established in 1989 to recognize the contributions of outstanding Hispanic-American STEM professionals, HENAAC Luminary Award winners are chosen by their professional peers.
Roman and fellow honorees will be presented their awards at HENAAC's 2009 Career Conference Oct. 8-10 in Long Beach, Calif.
Roman was also recognized in 2006 by the Navy League of the United States with the Rear Admiral William S. Parsons Award for Scientific and Technical Progress. He was presented the award for his contributions while serving as science advisor to the deputy chief of naval operations for Plans, Policy and Strategy and to the director of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service to Navy programs.
Roman has also played a leading role in support of the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Navy International Programs Office. Roman assisted with negotiations and the eventual establishment of a Master Information Exchange Agreement in research and development with Chile and Colombia in 2008 and 2009, respectively. These agreements will open the doors for scientific and technological collaboration in defense security matters between the United States and countries in Latin America.
"I'm honored to have been selected for this award," Roman said. "I'm really proud to represent the Navy scientific community, its Sailors and Marines. I look forward to continuing to provide a path for others, especially young folks in the Hispanic community. My role is to show that there are options and opportunities in one's career. The door (of opportunity) isn't closed to anyone. We choose to close those doors. My role is to show others, especially the younger generation, how to open those doors."
In an endorsement letter for the award, Roman's supervisor, Capt. Dave Maynard, commanding officer of the ONR Global, said Roman's professional accomplishments had "surpassed expectations."
"He will continue to be a clear role model to the Hispanic community and to the community at large," Maynard said. "His leadership, vision and dedication to the Navy and his country are helping to keep American technologically strong, by setting an example to young people in under-served communities by promoting science and technology, engineering and math (STEM)."
Roman, a native of Puerto Rico, originally joined the Marine Corps and after six years of service, transferred to the Navy Reserve Engineering Duty Officer program. He is currently assigned as a Reservist with the Navy Reserve Naval Sea Systems Command Supervisor of the Salvage and Diving Unit and as a heavy lift project officer and deputy director of projects.
Roman is a graduate of the Marine Corps Officers Candidate School, the Navy Engineering Duty Officer School and the Federal Executive Institute. He is also a qualified Navy acquisition professional. He has studied legislative affairs, policy and strategy from the Government Affairs Institute at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Mass., and at the Naval War College in Newport, R.I.
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