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Four New Members Named to NIST's Technology Advisory Committee

The Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Acting Director Hratch Semerjian has named four distinguished industry and business experts to serve on the Visiting Committee on Advanced Technology (VCAT), the agency's primary private-sector policy advisor. The new VCAT members—who will serve three-year terms until Jan. 31, 2007—bring the body's number to 15.

The VCAT was established by Congress in 1988 to review and make recommendations on NIST's policies, organization, budget, and programs.

Starting their service on the VCAT are Donald B. Keck, Corning, N.Y., chief technology officer, Infotonics Technology Center, Inc.; Edward J. Noha, Chicago, Ill., chairman emeritus, CNA Financial Corporation; Thomas A. Saponas, Colorado Springs, Colo., retired senior vice president and chief technology officer, Agilent Technologies; and James W. Serum, West Chester, Penn., president, SciTek Ventures.

Keck served at Corning Incorporated for 34 years in a number of technical and management positions; he retired from Corning in 2002 as vice president of research. He was a key member of the Corning team that invented low-loss optical fiber for telecommunications in 1970 paving the way for innovations such as the Internet and video teleconferencing. In 2000, Keck received the National Medal of Technology for his technical contributions, and was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 1993.

Prior to his service as chairman of the board for CNA Financial Corporation, Noha was chief executive officer of the CNA Insurance Companies. Under his leadership, CNA became one of the largest, multi-line insurance organizations in the United States. Noha was instrumental in establishing the Chicago Manufacturing Center, an affiliate of NIST's Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), and served for several years as chair of the MEP Advisory Board.

Saponas recently retired as senior vice president and chief technology officer of Agilent Technologies as well as director of Agilent Laboratories. Saponas was responsible for developing the company's long-term technology strategy and overseeing the alignment of the company's objectives with its centralized research and development activities. Prior to his stint at Agilent, Saponas was vice president and general manager of the Electronic Instruments Group at the Hewlett-Packard Company. He also was a White House Fellow and served as special assistant to the Secretary of the Navy.

In 2002, Serum founded SciTek Ventures, a consulting company that assists early stage technology companies in defining their business strategy, raising capital, and creating value from their technology. He also is a venture partner with Flagship Ventures. Serum began his career at the Hewlett-Packard Company as an applications chemist in mass spectrometry and held numerous positions in research and development and general management until his retirement in 1999. Before founding SciTek, Serum was a co-founder, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Viaken Systems, a research bioinformatics company. In 2002, Serum was elected a national associate of the National Academy of Sciences.

Other VCAT members are: April M. Schweighart (VCAT chair), retired, Motorola; Scott C. Donnelly, General Electric Company; Gary D. Floss, Bluefire Partners, Inc.; Richard M. Gross, Dow Chemical Company; Deborah L. Grubbe, DuPont Safety, Health, Environment; Lou Ann Heimbrook, Merck Research Laboratories; Jennie Hunter-Cevera, University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute; Thomas A. Manuel, retired, Council for Chemical Research; F. Raymond Salemme, retired, 3-Dimensional Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Juan M. Sanchez, University of Texas at Austin; and Robert T. Williams, Caterpillar Inc.

More information on the VCAT.

As a non-regulatory agency, NIST develops and promotes measurement, standards, and technology to enhance productivity, facilitate trade, and improve the quality of life.

Released April 5, 2004, Updated January 25, 2023