Tristan Walker

Tristan Walker

African-American Tristan Walker is the Founder & CEO of Walker & Company Brands.

Bevel by Walker & Company
Bevel by Walker & Company

Prior to that he was the Director of Business Development for Foursquare, where he oversaw strategic partnerships and monetization. In this role, Tristan managed intergrations with large brands and media entities including American Express, The New York Times, CNN, MTV, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, and Starbucks.

He was named the USA Today Person of the Year in 2014, Ebony Magazine’s 100 Most Powerful People list, Vanity Fair’s “Next Establishment,” Fortune Magazine’s 40 Under 40, AdAge Creative 50, The Hollywood Reporter’s Digital Power 50, and Black Enterprise’s 40 Next. He is also the Founder and Chairman of CODE2040, a program that matches high performing black and latino undergraduate and graduate coders and software engineering students with Silicon Valley start-ups for summer internships.

In 2015, Walker & Company Brands inked a deal with Target to sell its flagship product, Bevel, in select Target stores in the United States and on Target.com. Bevel is a single-blade razor system for men and women with coarse, curly hair which addresses the problem of razor bumps and skin irritation that affects up to 80% of African Americans and up to 30% of people of other races.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Stony Brook University, where he graduated as valedictorian, and an MBA from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

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Sterling Ashby

Sterling Ashby

African-American Sterling Ashby is an attorney who created the toy company, History In Action Toys.

History In Action Toys
History In Action Toys

Ashby graduated from Columbia Law School in 1999 and practiced for a number of years at one of the nation’s premier law firms. Inspired to create a series of action figures using African-American heroes from history, whose stories would awaken the imagination and inspire children to dream their own superhero adventures, he formed History In Action Toys, offering the likes of Benjamin Banneker, Bessie Coleman, and Matthew P. Henson to children everywhere.

The toys are available at about 25 museums around the country, as well as online, and Ashby has plans to diversify his inventory in the future. He has already had multiple requests to mold various historical innovators, like the first Russian cosmonaut, into pliable action figures.

For more information on History in Action Toys, visit the official website.

Update: Sterling Todd Ashby, 48, died peacefully in his sleep after a long struggle with brain cancer on Monday, Nov. 27, 2017.  Rest in peace.

Mae C. Jemison

Mae Jemison

African-American Dr. Mae C. Jemison speaks 3 languages (Russian, Swahili, Japanese) and is an American physician and NASA astronaut.

Mae Jemison
Mae Jemison

She became the first African American woman to travel in space when she went into orbit aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour on September 12, 1992.

She is a dancer, and holds nine honorary doctorates in science, engineering, letters, and the humanities. In addition to this she has also choreographed and produced several shows of modern jazz and African dance.

In 1993 Jemison founded her own company, the Jemison Group that researches, markets, and develops science and technology for daily life; and the Dorothy Jemison Foundation for Excellence, named in honor of her mother. One of the projects of Jemison’s foundation is The Earth We Share (TEWS), an international science camp where students, ages 12 to 16, work to solve current global problems.

In 1999, Jemison founded BioSentient Corp and has been working to develop a portable device that allows mobile monitoring of the involuntary nervous system. BioSentient has obtained the license to commercialize NASA’s space-age technology known as Autogenic Feedback Training Exercise (AFTE), a patented technique that uses biofeedback and autogenic therapy to allow patients to monitor and control their physiology as a possible treatment for anxiety and stress-related disorders. BioSentient is examining AFTE as a treatment for anxiety, nausea, migraine and tension headaches, chronic pain, hypertension and hypotension, and stress-related disorders.

In 2012, Jemison made the winning bid for the DARPA 100 Year Starship project through the Dorothy Jemison Foundation for Excellence. The Dorothy Jemison Foundation for Excellence was awarded a $500,000 grant for further work. The new organization maintained the organizational name 100 Year Starship. Jemison is the current principal of the 100 Year Starship.

She was the first real astronaut ever to appear on Star Trek as Lieutenant Palmer in the episode “Second Chances

Jeanette Jo Epps

Jeanette Epps

African-American Jeanette Jo Epps is an engineer, an CIA intelligence officer, and current NASA astronaut.

Jeanette Epps
Jeanette Epps

After graduating, Epps worked in research at Ford Motor Company, then as a Technical Intelligence Officer with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). She was selected in July 2009 as 1 of 14 members of the 20th NASA astronaut class. She graduated from Astronaut Candidate Training that included intensive instruction in International Space Station systems, Extravehicular Activity (EVA), robotics, physiological training, T-38 flight training and water and wilderness survival training.

Epps earned a Bachelor of Science in Physics from LeMoyne College in 1992, as well as a Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Maryland in 1994 and 2000, respectively. She is the author of several highly cited journal articles describing her research involving extensive testing of composite swept-tip beams, comparative analysis of analytical models and experimental data for shape memory alloys, and the application of shape memory alloy actuators for helicopter rotor blade tracking.

At Ford Motor Company she developed magnetostrictive actuators to reduce vibrations that enter a vehicle via the suspension control arms. Dr. Epps also investigated automobile collision location detection and countermeasure systems, which resulted in the granting of a U.S. Patent.

She was a three time recipient of the Exceptional Performance Award (2003, 2004 and 2008) while she was at the CIA. Dr. Epps is a member of AIAA and the Society for Science and the Public. Dr. Epps is the first Ph.D. graduate of the University of Maryland’s Dept. of Aerospace Engineering to become a NASA Astronaut.

Mark E. Dean

Mark E. Dean

African-American Mark E. Dean is one of the top engineering minds at the International Business Machines (IBM) Corporation.

Mark E. Dean
Mark E. Dean

He made his first mark in the industry in the early 1980s, when he and a colleague developed a system that allowed computers to communicate with printers and other devices. Every time you print something, you can thank Dean. In all, Dean holds 20 patents (he holds three of IBM’s original nine PC patents), and was honored as one of the “50 Most Important African Americans in Technology” by the California African-American Museum in 2000.

In 1996, he was named an IBM fellow, the first African-American ever to receive the honor. A year later, he was honored with the Black Engineer of the Year President’s Award and was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. In 2001, he was tapped to be a member of the National Academy of Engineers. Dean feels the need to increase awareness of the contributions of African American engineers to the African American community and the engineering industry in general.

He is currently the John Fisher Distinguished Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Tennessee, was previously Chief Techology Officer (CTO) for IBM Middle East and Africa, and was an IBM Vice President overseeing the company’s Almaden Research Center in San Jose, California prior to that.

Gregory Lowe II

Gregory Lowe II

African-American Gregory Lowe II is the CEO of Lowekey Media, a mobile technology agency that uses digital thinking to reach a multicultural audience.

Gregory Lowe (Photo: Gregory Lowe)
Gregory Lowe II (Photo: Gregory Lowe II)

In 2009 he developed the award-winning iPhone app iFLYPT, an app which allows you to personalize and remix music on your iPhone.  Lowe negotiated with Sony, Warner, Universal, and EMI record labels, and fellow music publishers, Sony/ATV, Warner-Chappell, Universal, and EMI, to obtain licensing deals that ensured that his app could offer millions of songs to its users.

In 2012 he released Songbooth, an app that allows users to follow, comment, like, and play music from other users. The app was downloaded over 8+ million times worldwide. He was included in Fast Company Magazine’s Most Creative People in Business list of 2014.

In the quest to provide a better user experience for users, he founded Fitbox, a subscription box and lifestyle brand that is “………Lululemon quality at a lower price point.” (Source: FastCompany).  He is using designers from DKNY and Fitbox items are all designed in house. The Fitbox activewear will fall into three categories: basic (for regular workouts), novelty (for lighter sweating), and athleisure, which could just as easily be worn to a light day at the gym or the farmer’s market.

Lowekey Media has also built Hoodcons (emojis from the streets), and Mumento, a mobile application and tool for users to embed video, music, pictures, and stop-motion graphics into a frame that they can then share with their entire social graph.

Lowe is a strong proponent for technology and is often a keynote speaker at technology events.

Mike Carey

Mike Carey (AP Photo/Tom Gannam)

African-American Mike Carey is a retired American football official, who was one of two senior referees in the NFL, and became the first African American referee to be designated as referee of a Super Bowl (Super Bowl XLII). He is a respected official in the NFL for his thorough pre-game preparation, professional demeanor, and fair play.

Mike Carey
Mike Carey

On June 24, 2014, Carey resigned from the NFL and joined CBS Sports as an analyst for its Thursday night and Sunday broadcasts. He provides rules analysis, interpretation and rules explanations from the game site, as well as the NFL Network’s studios in Culver City, California on Thursdays and from The NFL Today set in New York on Sunday.

Carey is also the co-founder of Seirus Innovation, a privately held company that manufactures ski and snowboarding gloves, face protection, and other cold-weather accessories. He is an inventor who owns or shares eight ski apparel patents, including “Cat Tracks,” a device which he created at age 30 to slip over the sole of a ski boot to provide increased traction when walking.