For the fifth consecutive year, Career Communications Group Inc. is using Baltimore as the setting for its Black Engineer of the Year Awards Conference and Television Special.
The title is misleading, since the three-day conference is as much a media happening and public relations tool as an awards ceremony.
The concept is the brainchild of Tyrone Taborn, president and publisher of Career Communications -- a city-based firm that publishes three magazines geared toward minority engineers.
Mr. Taborn was looking for a way to entertain his advertisers, which tend to be major corporations, as well as provide a forum for the recruitment of minority engineers. He also had another objective in mind.
"The feeling is that if a person can't dream it, they can't be it," Mr. Taborn said. "We have found that many minority youths have no idea what an engineer or scientist do, let alone how to become one. The Black Engineer of the Year Awards were created to showcase minority role models in the engineering and scientific fields."
Several corporate heavy hitters will be attending the awards conference, which starts tonight with a special reception aboard the USS Boulder in the Inner Harbor. Some of the conference co-hosts are Hughes Aircraft Co., Westinghouse Electric Corp., Mobil Oil Corp. and Martin Marietta Corp.
Tomorrow's activities include a recruiting seminar at the Convention Center, along with career workshops and a career fair that get under way in the morning. Next will be a private screening of "The Five Heart Beats," a new movie by actor and comedian Robert Townsend. The day will end with a cocktail reception at the Harbor Court Hotel.
The first item on Saturday's agenda is a breakfast for engineering school deans at the Harbor Court. Immediately following will be additional recruiting and career seminars at the Convention Center.
In the afternoon, actors Ossie Davis, Malcolm-Jamal Warner of "The Cosby Show" and Anne Marie Johnson of the "Heat of the Night" television show will attend a private cocktail reception at the Harbor Court.
Saturday night, the Black Engineer of the Year Awards ceremony will be videotaped at the Convention Center. One of the finalists is Col. Guion S. Bluford Jr., an Air Force pilot who was the U.S. space program's first black astronaut.
A concert/cabaret and a reception for winners will end the festivities.
Career Communications is a 6-year-old company that publishes US Black Engineer, Hispanic Engineer and Professional Magazine.