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Alumnus David Olivencia is Paving Pathways for STEM Diversity
December 15, 2014
Hispanic Role Model: David Olivencia, a 1994 electrical engineering graduate, is senior vice president with Softtek, an international IT solutions provider based in Mexico. He co-founded the Hispanic IT Executive Council, is a board member of the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute, and serves as a commissioner on Indiana’s minority and women's business enterprises division. (Photo by Royce Photography)
While determining innovative information technology (IT) strategies for a variety of Fortune 500 companies, alumnus David Olivencia has observed two critical issues for America and its future.
First, there’s a notable shortage of employees and students with a basic understanding of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) principles. Then, there’s an alarming lack of diversity among those interested in STEM careers.
Without solving these issues, Olivencia believes American companies will have a hard time remaining competitive in a global economy. That’s why the 1994 electrical engineering graduate co-founded and is a board member of the Hispanic IT Executive Council (HITEC), a board member of the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute, and, this year, was invited by Indiana Governor Mike Pence to serve as a commissioner on the state’s minority and women's business enterprises division. The organization is actively promoting, monitoring, and enforcing the standards for certification of minority, women, and veteran business enterprises.
“I do a lot of work trying to help boards becoming more diverse. In many cases, the first step is acknowledging that there is a problem. Then you can move on to concrete actions in those areas,” says Olivencia, a senior vice president with Softtek, an international IT solutions provider based in Mexico. He directs efforts to generate growth for technology and communications industries within North America.
“Diversity is more than just gender or background,” he says. “It includes diversity of thought or experiences. These areas are extremely important to the success of any organization.”
As a member of the Hispanic community and a first-generation college graduate, Olivencia welcomes the opportunity to serve as a role model for potential engineers. He has had leadership roles with Verizon, Oracle, Ford Motor Company, Nippon Telegraph, and Accenture.
“David has gone out of his way as the co-founder of HITEC to assist talented Latino companies in getting access to capital, and he has mentored senior Hispanic corporate leaders in how to pursue activities that will prepare them to sit on corporate boards. He is a man of true character, a tireless leader, and a courageous advocate of Latino causes,” states Charles P. Garcia, chief executive officer of the Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting.
Alejandro Mainetto, a digital executive who worked with Olivencia at Oracle, adds, “David is a role model for the Hispanic community. He is genuine, honest, and upfront, and has a true passion for technology, diversity, and service.”
Olivencia’s advocacy efforts were recognized with the Latino Leaders Technology Innovation Award (2013) and the Great Minds in STEM’s Executive Excellence in Technology Award (2012). He also received the Rose-Hulman Alumni Association’s Career Achievement Award in 2014.
“My STEM education and career have enabled many opportunities for me and it is vital that we put more resources into STEM to ensure America’s future economic prosperity and competiveness,” he says.