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Eighteen Local Residents Receive High Honors from Commerce Department

Commerce Secretary Norman Mineta has presented 18 local employees of the National Institute of Standards and Technology with Gold and Silver Medal Awards—the two highest honor awards presented by the department.


The Gold Medal is bestowed for "distinguished performance characterized by extraordinary, notable or prestigious contributions that impact the mission of the Department of Commerce and/or one operating unit and which reflect favorably on the Department." Awards are given in the following categories: leadership, personal and professional excellence, scientific/engineering achievement, employee development, customer service, administrative/technical support, or public service or heroism.

The three researchers receiving the 2000 Gold Medal are:

— In the leadership category —

Victor R. McCrary, COLUMBIA, Md., and John W. Roberts, GAITHERSBURG, Md., Information Technology Laboratory

McCrary and Roberts are cited for leadership in recognizing and helping address the standards and system compatibility issues associated with the emerging electronic book industry. Through a series of government-sponsored workshops, they led a team of industry experts to develop the first global standard for electronic content for portable e-books and e-book reading systems. They are recognized worldwide as having assisted in establishing the United States as a worldwide leader in the e-book industry.

— In the scientific/engineering achievement category —

Takashi Kashiwagi, GAITHERSBURG, Md., Building and Fire Research Laboratory

Kashiwagi is cited for helping transform the field of materials flammability from a discipline dominated by large and limited-value prediction uncertainties to one based upon scientific understanding and sound engineering. The flame retardant principles and models that he has advanced help ensure that goods manufactured by the U.S. plastics industry meet their intended fire performance without compromising desired physical properties. This has resulted in new and improved products for domestic and international markets.


The Silver Medal Award is the second highest honor awarded by the Department of Commerce. It is bestowed for "exceptional performance characterized by noteworthy or superlative contributions that have a direct and lasting impact within the Department." Awards are given in the following categories: leadership, personal and professional excellence, scientific/engineering achievement, employee development, customer service, administrative/technical support, or public service or heroism.

The 15 NIST employees honored with the 2000 Silver Medal are:

— In the leadership category —

Janet B. Miller, BETHESDA, Md.

Kendra S. Cole, BOONSBORO, Md.

John C. McGuffin, BUCKEYSTOWN, Md.

Jon P. Alexander, FREDERICK, Md.

Scott R. Montgomery, FREDERICK, Md.

Neil Alderoty, GAITHERSBURG, Md.

Timothy D. Day, GERMANTOWN, Md.

Elizabeth M. Kelch-Bush, GERMANTOWN, Md.

Tuong-Van L. Nong, GERMANTOWN, Md.

Julia E. Umberger, KEEDYSVILLE, Md.

Harry W. Frizzell, MT. AIRY, Md.

All of the awardees are recognized for services while members of the Office of the Director for Administration and Chief Financial Officer.

This group is recognized for their efforts in managing and preparing the fiscal year 1994 through fiscal year 1999 financial statements for NIST and for over 50 percent of the Department of Commerce agencies. Their efforts led to Commerce receiving its first clean audit opinion. This group performed these complex financial assignments while meeting new mandatory federal accounting requirements.

— In the scientific/engineering achievement category —

John H. Burnett, WASHINGTON, D.C., and Rajeev Gupta, GAITHERSBURG, Md., Physics Laboratory

The NIST Deep Ultraviolet Materials Characterization Team is recognized for its part in helping the microelectronics industry continue its development of smaller and smaller circuits and devices. The team provided extremely accurate determinations of two key measurements—the index-of-refraction of materials and the calibration of detectors at very short wavelengths (down to 157 nanometers or billionths of a meter). In many cases, these measurements are the only ones in the world with the accuracy needed to meet industry requirements.

Mary Saunders, McLEAN, Va., and Cathleen Trail, ARLINGTON, Va., Technology Services

Saunders and Trail are the NIST representatives on the New Independent States Team led by the Commerce Department's International Trade Administration

The New Independent States Team is recognized for opening markets for U.S. firms, stimulating market economies and advancing U.S. national security in the NIS of the former Soviet Union. Using teamwork and private-sector partnering, the team built the U.S. Business Development Committees with Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan. These committees are effective advocacy institutions which are advancing commercial tax reform, international product and accounting standards, while fostering U.S. trade and investment in the oil, aerospace and pharmaceutical industries.

As a non-regulatory agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce's Technology Administration, NIST strengthens the U.S. economy and improves the quality of life by working with industry to develop and apply technology, measurements and standards through four partnerships: the Measurement and Standards Laboratories, the Advanced Technology Program, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership and the Baldrige National Quality Program.

Released September 14, 2000, Updated January 23, 2023