August 11, 2005
Dr. April Schweighart
Chair, Visiting Committee on Advanced Technology
National Institute of Standards and Technology
3205 Barker Hollow Pass
Austin, TX 78739
Thank you for your feedback on the Visiting Committee on Advanced Technology (VCAT) meeting held on June 14-15, 2005. We agree that the June meeting was very productive. The VCAT panel presentations on Best Practices for Organizational Development were very well received and have given NIST management some good ideas to think about as we continue to develop our strategic plans.
Preparations for the September meeting are underway. In response to your requests:
We are continuing our efforts to reach out to our customers and to apply what we learn to our strategic planning process. Recent examples of outreach activities include visits to our Gaithersburg campus by very senior executives from Boeing, Ford Motor Company, and the Army Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate. In each case, we were able to demonstrate ways in which NIST research and standards activities directly impact their interests and begin a dialog about how we can work together to have an even greater impact. We have several more visits of this type planned for both the Gaithersburg and Boulder sites. These interactions should help to raise the visibility of our work. We also have continued to increase our efforts to educate key stakeholders. The top staff on our House Appropriations Subcommittee toured NIST's Boulder laboratories earlier this week. We have two Congressional staff visits to NIST planned for next week.
Federal R&D Portfolio
In response to the presentations at the June VCAT meeting on the federal R&D spending portfolio, you suggested that we look for ways to increase support for our activities from the Administration and from Congress. As you heard from Dr. Marburger during your visit, he has a very high regard for the importance and quality of NIST's programs. We expect a visit on August 16 by Dr. Marburger. Deputy Secretary Sampson had a very successful visit to NIST today. Dr. William Jeffrey, the new NIST director, is now attending Department Executive Management Team meetings weekly. This gives him direct access to the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Commerce, and an opportunity to stay current on and to discuss the priorities of the Department and the Bush Administration. We will continue to seek effective ways to more clearly represent the importance and impact of our work.
Advanced Measurement Laboratory
You pointed out the importance of leveraging our new facilities in the Advanced Measurement Laboratory (AML), both in terms of conducting world class research and as a tool to increase visibility with our stakeholders. NIST has begun the process of developing plans to optimize the use of our new AML facilities; Dr. Jeffrey is making this a top priority. We will report on this as we make progress.
I really enjoyed working with you and the other VCAT members during my tenure as the NIST acting director and deeply appreciated your support. Dr. Jeffrey, is fortunate to have the opportunity to work with such an energetic and dedicated Committee. I am confident that you will be impressed with his strong background in science and technology policy and his perspective on NIST's role and its contributions to the U.S. economy.
We look forward to seeing you in September.
Hratch G. Semerjian