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Three New Members Named to NIST's Technology Advisory Committee

Gaithersburg,Md.—Acting Director Hratch Semerjian of the Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has named three distinguished industry and business experts to serve on the Visiting Committee on Advanced Technology (VCAT), the agency's primary private-sector policy advisory group. The new VCAT members—who will serve three-year terms until Jan. 31, 2008—bring the body's number to 14.

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 John F. Cassidy Jr., senior vice president, science & technology, United Technologies Corp. (UTC), Hartford, Conn.; E. David Spong, vice chairman, ChangeAgent, Inc., Dallas, Texas; and W. Wyatt Starnes, chairman and chief executive officer, SignaCert, Inc., Portland, Ore.

At UTC, Cassidy is responsible for global research and engineering activities, which include more than $1.3 billion annually in company-funded research and development spending. Prior to joining UTC in 1989, Cassidy worked at General Electric Corporate Research and Development Laboratories and at General Motors Research Laboratories. Cassidy earned degrees in electrical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. In addition to the VCAT, Cassidy is a member of the board of trustees for Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute at Hartford and the board of directors of the Connecticut Technology Council. Also, he is a member of the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering, the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and the Society of Automotive Engineers.

Recently retired after a 40-year career with the Boeing Corp., Spong is the only executive to have led two organizations that received the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award: Boeing Aerospace Support, St. Louis, Mo. (2003, service category) and Boeing Airlift and Tanker Programs, Long Beach, Calif. (1998, manufacturing category). Spong holds degrees in engineering from London University, University of Missouri and Washington University in St. Louis. Spong is the past chair of the board of overseers for the Baldrige National Quality Program at NIST and is a member of the board of directors for the Foundation for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.

In addition to being chairman and chief executive officer of SignaCert, Starnes is a co-founder of RAINS (Regional Alliances for Infrastructure and Network Security), a non-profit private/public alliance formed to accelerate development, deployment and adoption of innovative technology for homeland security. Until recently, he served as president and chief executive officer of Tripwire, Inc., Portland, Ore., a company he co-founded in 1997. Starnes also has been active in many civic, university and federal projects as a part of his extensive cyber security and technology background.

Other VCAT members are: April M. Schweighart (VCAT chair), retired, Motorola; Scott C. Donnelly, General Electric Company; Gary D. Floss, Bluefire Partners, Inc.; Deborah L. Grubbe (VCAT vice chair), BP p.l.c.; Lou Ann Heimbrook, Merck Research Laboratories; Donald B. Keck, retired, Corning Inc.; Edward J. Noha, CNA Financial Corp.; Juan M. Sanchez, University of Texas at Austin; Thomas A. Saponas, retired, Agilent Technologies; James W. Serum, SciTek Ventures; and Robert T. Williams, Caterpillar Inc.

For more information on the VCAT, see

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 6, 2005, Updated January 25, 2023