The award is presented for overall leadership and technical achievement. Diaz is HENAAC's 17th Engineer of the Year. He was selected from among the top candidates submitted in all professional categories. The last NASA recipient was astronaut Sid Gutierrez in 1993. He was the first Hispanic to command a Space Shuttle.
The HENAAC selection committee represents industry, government and academia. According to HENAAC Chair Ray Mellado, Diaz was selected in part because of his position in NASA, his experience as Director of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., and his leadership of the agency-wide team which prepared the response to the Columbia Accident Investigation Board.
"I am pleased to have even been considered for such a prestigious award and am grateful to work in an organization like NASA where diversity in every dimension, including points of view, are recognized to be important in achieving mission success," Diaz said. "I will accept this award on behalf of all those in NASA who worked with me to make these achievements possible."
HENAAC was established in 1989 to identify, honor, and document the contributions of outstanding Hispanic American science, engineering, technology and math professionals. Corporations, government agencies, academia, and business have submitted thousands of nominees over the past 16 years for recognition.
The live webcast awards' presentation is Friday, October 7, 2005, in Anaheim, Calif. For information about HENAAC, visit: http://www.henaac.org. For information about NASA and agency programs on the Web, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/home/index.html.
CONTACT: Dolores Beasley or Erica Hupp of NASA Headquarters, Washington,
+1-202-358-1753, or +1-202-358-1237