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Twenty-Nine Receive High Honors from Commerce Department for Work at NIST

Commerce Secretary Don Evans has presented 23 employees of the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology and six former employees 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.

Leadership Category

A team of seven current members and three former staff members in the Information Technology Laboratory's Computer Security Division is recognized for conceiving, organizing and leading a worldwide, multiyear project resulting in the Advanced Encryption Standard, a new technique for securing the confidentiality of sensitive, unclassified electronic data well into the 21st century. Strong user confidence in the security of AES will encourage its rapid deployment in e-commerce and e-government applications, such as health care and tax records, multibillion dollar financial transactions, and intellectual property.

The team includes:

Elaine B. Barker, Supervisory Mathematician;

Lawrence E. Bassham, Computer Scientist;

William E. Burr, Leader, Security Technology Group;

James F. Dray, Computer Scientist;

Morris J. Dworkin, Mathematician

James R. Nechvatal, Mathematician;

Edward A. Roback, Chief, Computer Security Division; and former employees James G. Foti, Miles E. Smid, and Juan Soto Jr.

Scientific/Engineering Achievement Category

A team of four current and three former staff members of the Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory's Fabrication Technology and Manufacturing Metrology Divisions is honored for the design, fabrication, assembly and testing of state-of-the-art encasements for the U.S. Charters of Freedom documents (the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights). Working with the National Archives and Records Administration, the team designed the encasements to meet stringent engineering constraints and demanding aesthetics. The team developed on-board instrumentation to provide non-invasive monitoring of the environment, and novel methods for fabricating and evaluating the performance of the encasements.

The team includes:

Robert A. Clary, Instrument Maker;

Michael L. McGlauflin, Engineering Technician;

Richard L. Rhorer, Research Engineer;

Eric P. Whitenton, Engineering Technician; and former employees Christopher J. Evans, Manfred L. Osti, and Charles R. Tilford.

Scientific/Engineering Achievement Category

A team of three staff members from the Materials Science and Engineering Laboratory's Metallurgy Division is honored for the development of electrochemical measurement and modeling techniques, and for their contributions to the fundamental understanding of electrochemical deposition of copper in semiconductor trenches. This work enables semiconductor manufacturers to deposit copper on semiconductor chips today that meet standards requested by the industry for 2008.

The team includes the following:

Daniel Josell, Physical Scientist;

Thomas P. Moffat, Metallurgist; and

Gery R. Stafford, Supervisory Research Chemist.


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.

Leadership Category

Belinda L. Collins, Deputy Director, Technology Services

Collins is honored for providing leadership to international standards and conformity assessment arenas contributing to enhanced commerce and trade. She brought together the nation's standards and conformity assessment communities and played a key role in the development of the National Standards Strategy. She also has been successful in implementing the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act by carrying out its directives to coordinate standards and conformity assessment activities within the federal government, the private sector, and state and local governments.

William E. Anderson, Director, Electronics and Electrical Engineering Laboratory

Anderson is honored for leadership of EEEL through a time of change and transition. He introduced significant and beneficial changes in the laboratory's operation. Anderson improved the effectiveness of the laboratory in its mission of providing the fundamental electrical standards, measurement services, test methods and documentary standards that underlie all electrical measurements in the nation.

Kathleen M. Higgins, Chief, Office of Law Enforcement Standards, Electronics and Electrical Engineering Laboratory

Higgins is honored for revitalizing the OLES in its role of brokering NIST capabilities to the criminal justice and public safety communities, ensuring through measurements and standards that the equipment they purchase and technologies they use are safe, dependable and effective. The activities Higgins spearheaded have resulted in greater law enforcement effectiveness throughout the nation, including helping save more than 2,500 officers' lives through the wearing of body armor that meets OLES-developed specifications.

Personal and Professional Excellence Category

Christopher G. Soares, Physicist, Physics Laboratory

Soares is recognized as the world's leading authority on measurements of beta-particle-emitting radioactive sources for use in radiation therapy. He developed primary standards and test methods for use in clinical medical physics. He worked with industry and the medical physics community on the dosimetry methods that allow these sources to be used for intravascular therapy to inhibit restenosis (re-closing) of arteries after balloon angioplasty procedures. His work has established NIST as a world leader in the dosimetry of therapeutic beta-particle sources.

Scientific/Engineering Achievement Category

A team of two staff members in the Building and Fire Research Laboratory's Fire Research Division is honored for development of the companion software products, Fire Dynamic Simulator and Smokeview. This unique software package has radically advanced the state of the art in computer modeling of fire and smoke.

The team includes:

Glenn P. Forney, Computer Scientist; and Kevin B. McGrattan, Mathematician.

Scientific/Engineering Achievement Category

A team of three staff members in the Building and Fire Research Laboratory's Structures Division is honored for breakthrough achievement in precise concrete design and construction to withstand extreme earthquake loads through measurement research and industry impact. The team developed an innovative system to connect precast beams to columns that permits, for the first time, the use of precast concrete building systems in high-seismic regions. The system has proven to reduce costs and is rapidly gaining acceptance in the industry.

The team of three includes:

Geraldine S. Cheok, Research Structural Engineer;

Hai S. Lew, Research Structural Engineer; and

William C. Stone, Supervisory Research Structural Engineer.

As a non-regulatory agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce's Technology Administration, NIST develops and promotes measurements, standards, and technology to enhance productivity, facilitate trade, and improve the quality of life.

For more information on NIST, see our web site at To explore a century of NIST partnerships with U.S. industry, benefits to the public and impacts on economic growth, go to the NIST centennial (1901-2001) web site at

Released November 9, 2001, Updated January 13, 2023