AFLCMC engineers represent center

  • Published
  • By Daryl Mayer, AFLCMC Public Affairs
WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB, Ohio (AFLCMC) – “It's just a thrill because it's a huge event in a massive venue.  You are competing with DoD and industry for this award.  It is a great recognition and I was honored to be nominated,” said Karen Hudson, Chief of the Avionics Engineering Division for AFLCMC and winner of the Black Engineer of the Year Outstanding Achievement Award.     
She and Jackie Janning-Lask, AFLCMC Engineering Director, attended the 37th Annual Black Engineer of the Year Awards and STEM Conference in National Harbor, Maryland earlier this month.  In addition to receiving Hudson’s award, they both participated in a “A Day in the Life of an Air Force Engineer/Scientist” panel discussion. 

“It's an opportunity for black engineers and industry to come together and talk about the future of engineering. Some of the challenges, some of the insights, some opportunities.  I've been a huge supporter, almost my entire career. It's just a very energetic and exciting platform for engineers,” said Janning-Lask. 
They also had the opportunity to meet with students from Historically Black Colleges engineering programs and share the opportunities of an Air Force career. 
“I talked about how the “day in the life” is more than just your eight-hour workday,” Janning-Lask said.  “The benefits that you have with the Air Force, it's not just your career, but you have a family. You have a support system.  You have the Employee Assistance Program. You have facilities that allow you to exercise or have hobbies.  It just kind of tied it all together that having that balance, which I call work-life integration, it really allows you to fulfill, not just your professional career, but your personal life as well.” 
Both Janning-Lask and Hudson were drawn to the engineering career path early.  Janning-Lask grew up the daughter of an inventor where tinkering and building things in the basement is an early childhood memory. 
Hudson was naturally drawn to math and was recruited early in high school to attend Tuskegee University in Alabama. 
“My first field trip, I remember we went to see an F-16 and we got to climb into the cockpit.  It just seemed exciting to see all these controls and displays and you have one person in this cockpit and that person is in control,” said Hudson, who now leads the Avionics Division. 
Janning-Lask was presented an offer by Commonwealth Edison in Chicago to work on controls and displays in nuclear reactors.  She opted for the Air Force due to the educational opportunities and was quickly bitten by the bug. 
“Just as Karen was describing her excitement sitting in a cockpit of an F-16, I was sitting in the cockpit of a simulator of an F-16,” she said of her experience conducting tests in a simulator.  “You're taking off. You're flying. You're landing. You're doing maneuvers, and before I knew it, one particular evening we're testing this simulator and walk out and we just got so focused on our work, that it was well into the night.” 
To hear the full conversation, you can watch Leadership Log on YouTube at  You can also listen by searching “Leadership Log” on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify, Overcast, Radio Public or Breaker.