Ursula Burns to be Honored at the 2014 Congress

Ursula M. Burns

Ursula M. Burns, chairman and chief executive officer of Xerox Corp., is one of the eight engineering innovators who will be recognized at the 2014 Honors Assembly, which will take place during the ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition in Montreal, Canada, from Nov. 14-20. Burns will receive the Kate Gleason Award during the ceremony on Nov. 17.

Established in 2011, the award recognizes a female engineer who is a highly successful entrepreneur in a field of engineering or who has had a lifetime of achievement in the engineering profession. The award honors the legacy of Kate Gleason, the first woman to be welcomed into ASME as a full member. Burns is being acknowledged for her outstanding engineering and business leadership, and her distinguished career culminating in achieving the distinction of being the first black woman to lead a Fortune 100 company.

Burns started at Xerox as an intern in 1980, when the company was a leader in the global photocopying market. She later assumed roles in product development and planning, just as the company had begun positioning itself as a digital document technologies company. After leading several business teams including the company’s color business and office network printing business teams including the company’s color business and office network printing business from 1992 to 2000, Burns was named senior vice president of corporate strategic services, a position that put her in charge of the company’s manufacturing and supply chain operations.

After being named as president and member of the board of directors in 2007, Burns became CEO of Xerox in July 2009. Shortly afterward, she made the largest acquisition in the company’s history — the $6.4 billion purchase of Affiliated Computer Services, catapulting the company’s presence in the $500 billion business services market and extending the company’s reach into diverse areas of business process and IT outsourcing. On May 20, 2010, Burns became chairman of Xerox.

Burns is also an active in a number of community, educational and nonprofit organizations, including FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), the National Academy Foundation, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the U.S. Olympic Committee. She is a founding board director of Change the Equation, which focuses on improving the U.S. education system in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). In March 2010, President Barack Obama appointed Burns as vice chair of the President’s Export Council.

Burns, who was elected to the National Academy of Engineering last year, has earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Polytechnic Institute of NYU in 1980, and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Columbia University in 1982. She received honorary degrees from several universities including a degree of Doctor of Commercial Science, honoris causa, from NYU in 2010.

The ASME Foundation is the proud supporter of the ASME Honors and Awards program through the management of award endowment funds set up by individuals, corporations or groups. For more information on the 2014 Honors Assembly and all of this year’s award recipients, visit www.asmeconferences.org/Congress2014/Honors.cfm.

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