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Lawrence Technological University
21000 West Ten Mile Road
Southfield, MI 48075-1058

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Office of Diversity Equity and Inclusion
John Petty Community Champion Award

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The John Petty Community Champion Award, established in 2019 honors an individual with connections to Lawrence Technological University (LTU), who is positively impacting the lives of the African American community. The award was initiated by LTU students as part of the programming for Black History month.

Nominations will be reviewed and selected by a panel of student with advising (if needed) from the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

Nominations are due January 31st by 4 pm.

Submit Nominee

Award Recipients

2019: Tiffany D.Brown '05

Tiffany Brown

2020: Monique Lake '00


2021: Dr. Sibrina Collins


2022:Dr. Donna L. Bell '89

Donna L. Bell

2023:Brenda Lawrence


2024: ?


John G. Petty Sr. (August 1938 - January 2020)

Mr. John G. Petty had over 40 years of Engineering and Management experience. He has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering (1965) from Lawrence Technological University (LTU) in Southfield, Michigan, and a Masters Degree in Business Management from Indiana Northern Graduate School of Marion, Indiana.  

In 1963, while still a student at LTU, John took a job with the G.L. Bowen Co a small engineering design firm, who approached LTU looking for engineering talent. 

In 1964, John Petty joined the Williams International Co, a gas turbine engine design and manufacturer in Walled Lake, Michigan. John was the first black engineer employed by Williams. He held positions as an Analytical Engineer and Project Design Engineer of gas turbine engines for both flight and automotive applications. 

In 1973, Mr. Petty joined General Dynamics Land Systems( GDLS) of Sterling Heights, Michigan with Project Engineering responsibility for the 1500 horsepower gas turbine engine proposed to power the U.S. Army’s Main Battle Tank, undergoing it's initial design and development. During his 30 year tenure with GDLS John also held positions as; Engine and Power Train Manager, Chief Engineer of Chassis Systems, Program Manager, Competition Advocate Director, Fox Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Reconnaissance System (NBCRS) Director and concurrently as Business Ethics Program Director for all GDLS locations worldwide. John retired from GDLS in 2004 but remained active in professional and community activities. 

John Petty served as President (1995-96) of the Engineering Society of Detroit (ESD) during their 100th anniversary year. John was the first black president of ESD. He has been an active member of ESD for over thirty years (30) years, serving on the Board of Directors and numerous committees. He is the recipient of ESD’s “Distinguished Service Award” and was also elected to the prestigious “ESD College of Fellows”. In 2006, Mr. Petty was the recipient of ESD's highest honor, "The Rackham Humanitarian Award". In June 2009, John was presented the “Harold Slaight Ellington Award” for outstanding leadership on behalf of ESD.  

Mr. Petty served over twenty years on the Board of Directors of the Rackham Engineering Foundation established by Horace and Mary Rackham to support ESD. 

John Petty also served over twenty years on Lawrence Technological University (LTU) Board of Trustees. John was also LTU's first black trustee. 

Mr. Petty is a member of Berean Chapel Church of Detroit, where he served as a Deacon and Superintendent of the Sunday School. He also served on the Board of Directors of the related Circle Y Ranch, a Christian summer camp for kids located in Bangor, Michigan.  

John Petty served a number of years on the Zoning Board of Appeals for the city of Southfield where he and his wife, Evelyn, have lived since 1979. John & Evelyn have a grown son (John II) and daughter(Stacey) and five grandsons (Titus, Jordan, Terrence, Jason, and Justin)