PHILADELPHIA -- A Hampton Roads Navy cybersecurity
expert is receiving national honors for his contributions protecting defense
Ernest Yelder, a civilian cybersecurity technical lead
at Combat Direction Systems Activity, Dam Neck (CDSA) was awarded the 2016 Black
Engineer of the Year for Outstanding Technical Contribution during the 30th
Annual BEYA Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics(STEM) Global
Competitiveness Conference Awards Gala February 18-20 in Philadelphia, PA.
is one of only three Navy engineers nation-wide to receive this year’s BEYA
honor and the only Navy recipient in Hampton Roads.
three-day BEYA conference, sponsored by Career Communications Group, recognizes
the significant accomplishments of African-Americans in government and
industry, who have achieved exceptional career gains in the fields of STEM. The
event attracts thousands of STEM professionals and also serves as a learning
tool for students interested in pursuing professional interests in engineering.
Yelder has led the development of cybersecurity
engineering capabilities since 2009 for CDSA, a Virginia Beach-based command
which is part of Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren Division.
He has more than 30 years of combined military and
civilian experience in the fields of Telecommunications, Information Technology
During his 22 years of active military service, Yelder was
selected as one of the ten percent to attend the Joint Electromagnetic Spectrum
Management School, which broadened his technical knowledge in the field of Telecommunication.
Upon completion, he attended a newly piloted course, “Network
Vulnerability Defense” at Naval Station Northwest in 1995. This course was the
first of its kind to introduce what is known today as the field of Information
In 2005, Yelder’s technical expertise contributed to the
process development within the newly established Office of the Designated
Approving Authority for the Department of the Navy. He would later transition to
the Cyber Asset Reduction and Security Task Force as a Technical subject matter
expert to execute the strategic plan in reduction of the legacy network
Throughout 2015, Yelder led a 40-person team in the
development of a specialized cybersecurity lab to enable advanced development,
testing, training and implementation of new technologies. Long-term, the work performed in this lab is
expected to provide significant cost savings to the Navy.
Yelder volunteers as a mentor for students enrolled in
local STEM programs to pay honor to his family, particularly his grandmother. He
credits them for guiding him at a young age.
“My story is not one of a young man struggling to escape
urban blight but rather one with strong male and female role models that had
faith in me,” said Yelder during his acceptance speech. “Grandmother made it
clear that "CAN'T'" didn't exist in our family. Her words have
resonated with me throughout my life. It's amazing how many challenges you can
overcome without that word in your vocabulary.”
Yelder holds a GIAC Security Leadership Certification
and has been recognized as among his Navy leadership as a cybersecurity expert.
He received his Bachelor of Science in Computer
Information Systems from Trinity University in 2003.
Navy has participated in BEYA for the last 25 years. Additionally, in 2008, the
Navy signed an agreement with CCG to promote further Navy participation in CCG
events in an effort to reach a diverse workforce.
to BEYA represents the Navy's campaign to develop future engineers and
scientists, and retain top-performing Sailors and civilians whose diverse
backgrounds, experiences and skills are necessary to meet today's challenges.