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NIST 2017 Awards Recognize Staff for Outstanding Performance

The image on the left shows Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST Director Walter G. Copan at a podium in front of a screen showing the words 45th Annual NIST Awards Ceremony. The image on the right shows Copan congratulating H
(Left) Walter G. Copan presided over his first NIST awards ceremony as Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST Director. Among the awardees he congratulated was H.S. Lew, recognized as the "Dean of Staff" for being the longest tenured current employee at NIST, with 49 years of service.
Credit: P. Cutts/NIST

GAITHERSBURG, Md.—The U.S. Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) this week recognized more than 150 staff members for their service to the country. The award-winning researchers have made advances in measurement science that will improve cybersecurity, biothreat and chemical detection, manufacturing, biotechnology and more. NIST also honored administrative staff whose innovations in systems and processes improve NIST’s ability to achieve its mission to promote U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness.

Presiding over his first NIST awards ceremony, Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST Director Walter G. Copan told the audience, “I’m proud of all our NIST 2017 award winners. They have in common a passion for what they do on behalf of the nation, and a consistent commitment to the core values that define NIST: perseverance, integrity, inclusivity and excellence.”

The ceremony was held Dec. 13, 2017, concurrently at NIST’s main campuses in Gaithersburg, Maryland, and Boulder, Colorado. The ceremony also celebrated NIST staff members who received the Department of Commerce Gold and Silver awards in September.

2017 NIST Awards Video
2017 NIST Awards Video

Complete descriptions of each NIST staff member’s award-winning work can be found on the NIST website.

U.S. Department of Commerce Gold Medal Award for Distinguished Service

First presented in 1949, the Gold Medal Award for Distinguished Service is the highest honor conferred upon a Commerce Department employee by the agency. It 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, organizational development, customer service, administrative/technical support, and heroism.

  • Katherine Sharpless – “For leading the development of interagency open data sharing principles to advance international scientific cooperation that addresses global challenges. This group award was awarded to four staff members from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and one staff member from NIST.”
  • Piotr Domanski, Andrei Kazakov and Mark McLinden – “For identifying the best alternatives to hydrofluorocarbon chemicals essential to the future of the air-conditioning and refrigeration industries.”
  • Paul DeRose, Catherine Mouchahoir, John Schiel, Srivalli Telikepalli and Abigail Turner – “For developing NISTmAb, industry's first monoclonal antibody reference material and benchmarking tool for manufacturing life-saving protein drugs.”
  • Patrick Egan, Jay Hendricks, Douglas Olson, Jacob Ricker, Gregory Scace, Jack Stone and Gregory Strouse – “For revolutionizing pressure metrology by replacing the existing standard of nearly 4 centuries with a faster and more precise quantum-based method.”
  • Bradley Alpert, W. Bertrand (Randy) Doriese, Ralph Jimenez, Luis Miaja Avila, Galen O'Neil, Kevin Silverman, Daniel Swetz and Joel Ullom – “For advancing materials development by creating tabletop X-ray tools that rival or exceed those available only at massive national user facilities.”
  • Ari Feldman, Sheryl Genco, Michael Janezic, Azizollah Kord, Daniel Kuester, John Ladbury, Duncan McGillivray, Adam Wunderlich, Wen-Bin Yang and William Young – “For developing a test methodology and performing measurements to quantitatively assess the impact of LTE signals on the performance of GPS receivers.”

U.S. Department of Commerce Silver Medal Award for Exceptional Service

The second highest honor awarded by the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Silver Medal Award 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, organizational development, customer service, administrative/technical support and heroism. The award was initiated in 1949.

  • John Bollinger – “For his breakthrough demonstration of multi-particle entanglement, paving the way for commercially relevant applications of quantum technology.”
  • Elizabeth Drexler and Andrew Slifka – “For advancing the safe, effective use of hydrogen for fuel and manufacturing by spearheading science-based improvements to hydrogen pipeline codes.”
  • Joseph Falco, Jeremy Marvel and William Shackleford – “For outstanding measurement science contributions that led to the first technical specification providing guidance for safe robot-human collaboration.”
  • Richard Silver, Sushama Singh, Johannes Soons and Xiaoyu Zheng – “For launching the first open-access research database of forensic topography data to improve the scientific basis of firearm evidence in court.”

Bronze Medal Award for Superior Federal Service

Nine individuals and 13 teams received the Bronze Medal Award for Superior Federal Service—the highest honor presented by NIST. Since 1966, the award has been given for significant performance characterized by outstanding or significant contributions that have increased the efficiency and effectiveness of NIST.

  • Peter Bajcsy – “For the development of advanced image analytics that have enabled new computer science-based measurement capabilities.”
  • Conrad Bock – “For outstanding technical leadership and contributions to a standardized systems-modeling language (SysML) used in advanced manufacturing industries.”
  • Ellen Garshick – “For leading the development and evolution of the globally emulated Baldrige Performance Excellence Framework and derivative products from January 2013 to the present.”
  • Boualem Hammouda – “For development of the expansive Small Angle Neutron Scattering (SANS) Toolbox, which has benefitted many hundreds of the NIST Center for Neutron Research (NCNR) facility users and is freely available via the web.”
  • Zachary Levine – “For demonstrating a more accurate and vendor-independent approach to measuring tumor size, a ubiquitously used benchmark in the treatment of cancer.”
  • Nancy Lin – “For deployment of a quantitative yeast material that enables safe on-site training for first responders to increase confidence in biothreat detection.”
  • Bruce Ravel – “For the exemplary application of a unique data analysis and visualization system used globally by synchrotron X-ray absorption spectroscopists.”
  • Gordon A. Shaw III – “For pioneering a new, traceable and more accurate basis for U.S. mass measurements in the commercially important range from micrograms to milligrams.”
  • Hui Wu – “For producing an entirely new route to synthesizing hydrogen-storage materials for fuel cells based on the complex chemistry of amines and boranes.”
  • Kurt Benkstein and Pamela Chu – “For developing precise and low-cost calibration and verification methods in the field for chemical detectors that monitor chemical-warfare agents.”
  • Emily Bittle and David Gundlach – “For accelerating the emergence of a new generation of flexible electronic devices by improving flawed standard measurement practices.”
  • Kathryn Butler and Susanne Furman – “For development of science-based guidance on the use of evacuation elevators that enhances the safety of people with mobility impairments during fire emergencies.”
  • Nenad Ivezic and Boonserm Kulvatunyou – “For significantly accelerating the deployment of key manufacturing data standards through a novel NIST Messaging Standard Semantic Refinement Tool.”
  • Sheng Lin-Gibson, Steven Lund and Sumona Sarkar – “For development of an experimental and statistical framework for comparing cell-counting measurements fundamental to biotechnology.”
  • H. S. Lew, Joseph Main and Fahim Sadek – “For developing engineering methods and tools for mitigating disproportionate collapse in buildings to save lives and to reduce property losses.”
  • Jamie Ambrosi, Dawn Bailey, Jacqueline Calhoun, Harry Hertz and Patricia Hilton – “For design, implementation, and expansion of the Baldrige Executive Fellows Program, a nationally top-ranked executive leadership development program.”
  • Brian Antonishek, Anthony Downs, William Harrison, John Michaloski, Fred Proctor, Craig Schlenoff and William Shackleford – “For development of an international standard and supporting messaging language to enable enhanced robot agility in manufacturing applications.”
  • James Beall, Shannon Duff, Anna Fox, Gene Hilton, Johannes Hubmayr, Dan Schmidt and Michael Vissers – “For the development and deployment of the world’s first multi-color cameras for measurements of the cosmic microwave background.”
  • Mark Badger, Michael Bartock, Paul Black, Jeffrey Cichonski, David Cooper, Hildegard Ferraiolo, Barbara Guttman and Murugiah Souppaya – “For developing a series of outstanding technical guidelines addressing critical cybersecurity needs prioritized by the White House.”
  • Brian K. Ackley, Michaela Bratten, David Henry, Barry Howe, Robert E. Mathews IV, John (Jack) Sweeney, Richard Rhodabeck, Mark Spurrier and Durwin Thomas – “For the successful collaboration in negotiating and implementing the collective bargaining agreement between the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the Washington Area Metal Trades Council, AFL-CIO as represented by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local-121.”
  • John Antonishek, Rachel Glenn, Terry Hahn, Samuel Jones, Esther Katzman, David Kustaborder, Jason Lee, Carolyn Schmidt and Ellen Weiser – “For modernizing the NIST-Guest wireless network by providing mainstream internet access for personal devices that exceeds stakeholder expectations.”
  • Neil Alderoty, Joan Carlson, Lisa Chulock, Dana Rae Diaz, Jeffrey Harris, Patrick Hovis, Frances Johnson, LaDonna Lauren, John Quick and Scott Montgomery – “For creating the Undelivered Order Review application, significantly automating the return of obligated but undisbursed funds back to Organizational Units across NIST.”

Eugene Casson Crittenden Award

The Crittenden Award, established in 1967, recognizes superior achievement by permanent employees who perform supporting services that have a significant impact on technical programs beyond their own offices.

  • Elias Baltic – “For technical excellence and leadership in the development and operation of NIST neutron imaging facilities and advancing core metrology programs.”
  • Patrick Connelly – “For exceptional service to the NCNR user community, instrument scientists, and NIST laboratories, enabling precision neutron measurement programs.”
  • Carol Driver – “For exceptional leadership in the creation of an effective and efficient administrative team after the formation of NIST Material Measurement Laboratory's Chemical Sciences Division.”
  • Myja Merritt – “For exceptional customer service and ingenuity in promoting NIST-wide Human Resources activities and for identifying and implementing process efficiencies.”
  • Terry Sepehri – “For contributions to re-engineering and delivering a new labor-saving, paperless RSA SecurID Token distribution service, improving customer service.”

Allen V. Astin Measurement Science Award

The Astin Award, first presented in 1984, is granted for outstanding achievement in the advancement of measurement science or in the delivery of measurement services.

  • Paul Williams – “For pioneering new measurement methods and instrumentation leading to an entirely new traceability paradigm for high-power lasers (> 100 W).”

Edward Uhler Condon Award

The Edward Uhler Condon Award is named after the fourth director of NIST. A theoretical physicist and a prolific writer, Edward Condon produced a steady stream of articles for Scientific American, Popular Mechanics and other periodicals. First presented in 1974, the Condon Award is granted for distinguished achievement in effective written exposition in science or technology. Such writing includes, but is not limited to, the demonstration of substantial scientific, technical, or technological merit, unusually effective exposition through organization and clarity of style, broad treatment of a specific subject area, or appeal to readers with a wide range of scientific or technical interests.

  • Michael Lombardi and Andrew Novick – “For their timely and well-articulated article on timing needs and requirements for the financial industry.”

Judson C. French Award

The French award, first presented in 2000, is granted for significant improvement in products delivered directly to industry, including new or improved NIST calibration services, Standard Reference Materials and Standard Reference Databases.

  • David Catoe, Lindsay Harris, Jennifer McDaniel, Marc Salit, Daniel Samarov and Justin Zook – “For development of a suite of whole-genome human reference materials designed to advance clinical applications of genome sequencing.”
  • Christina Cross, Robert Driver, John Quintavalle, Julia Scherschligt and Katie Schlatter – “For dramatically improving the quality and lowering the cost of pressure dissemination by modernizing the NIST piston gauge calibration service.”

Jacob Rabinow Applied Research Award

The Rabinow Award, first presented in 1975, is granted for outstanding achievements in the practical application of the results of scientific engineering research.

  • Jun Ye – “For numerous innovations in laser technology and applications, enabling new precision measurements, new products, and fundamental science.”

Edward Bennett Rosa Award

The Rosa Award, established in 1964, is granted for outstanding achievement in or contributions to the development of meaningful and significant engineering, scientific or documentary standards either within NIST or in cooperation with other government agencies or private groups.

  • Martin Burns, Steve Bushby and Evan Wallace – “For technical work and leadership in the development and approval of the Facility Smart Grid Information Model as a new international standard.”

William P. Slichter Award

The Slichter Award, first presented in 1992, is granted for outstanding achievements by NIST staff in building or strengthening ties between NIST and industry.

  • Michael Tarlov – “For leading industry and government stakeholders to develop and adopt measurement standards to ensure reliable manufacturing of protein therapeutics.”

Samuel Wesley Stratton Award

The Stratton Award, first presented in 1962, is granted for outstanding scientific or engineering achievements in support of NIST objectives.

  • Samuel Manzello – “For groundbreaking engineering and scientific research enabling the protection of structures and communities from the devastating effects of large-scale wildland fires.”

George A. Uriano Award

The Uriano Award, first presented in 1996, is granted for outstanding achievements by NIST staff in building or strengthening NIST extramural programs, with emphasis on fostering U.S. competitiveness and business excellence.

  • Jamie Ambrosi, Dawn Bailey, Rebecca Bayless, Jacqueline Calhoun, Ellen Garshick, Robert Hunt, Scott Kurtz and Christine Schaefer – “For the development and implementation of Baldrige-based assessments that enhance the performance and sustainability of manufacturers and service providers of all kinds.”

NIST Colleagues’ Choice Award

Established in 2006, the Colleagues’ Choice Award is granted to nonsupervisory employees who are recognized and nominated by their colleagues for having made significant contributions that broadly advance the NIST mission and strategic goals or broadly contribute to the overall health and effectiveness of NIST.

  • Edward Hagley – “For readily providing exceptional scientific and technical help to many diverse experimental projects and to important safety programs.”
  • David Richard Novotny – “For establishing the High-Frequency Structural Simulator (HFSS) computer modeling system at NIST for creating complex electromagnetics simulations to assist in interdisciplinary research across multiple NIST Organizational Units.”
  • Jared Ragland – “For designing and developing data-handling tools for qualitative and quantitative analysis of environmental samples.”
  • Maureen Williams – “For extraordinary commitment to the NIST mission and significant ‘above-and-beyond’ support of all of her co-workers.”

Director’s Award for Excellence in Administration

The Director’s Award was first presented in 2008 and is granted to recognize administrative professionals who have made significant contributions that broadly advance the NIST mission and strategic goals through excellence in administrative services and functions.

  • Julia Bachinski – “For outstanding leadership, service and innovation in administrative services enabling the world-class success of JILA in research and training.”
  • Kellie Beall, Brian Copello, Paul Davidson Jr., Patty Feulner, Sarah Sadler, Jasmine Ventura and Teresa Whiteside – “For excellence in leveraging collaboration and technology to address longstanding challenges in the recruitment process via successful pilot of the ‘HR STAT’ application.”

Equal Employment Opportunity/Diversity Award

The Equal Employment Opportunity/Diversity Award, first presented in 1977, is granted for exceptionally significant accomplishments and contributions to equal employment opportunity/diversity goals.

  • Catherine Rimmer and Mary Satterfield – “For creation and leadership of the Montgomery College Internship Program that increases the diversity of our STEM pipeline.”

Safety Award

The NIST Safety Award, first established in 1979, is granted to recognize NIST employees and organizations for substantial contributions to improving safety at NIST.

  • Jeanne Houston – “For outstanding leadership in identifying and implementing safety improvements, and influencing positive change for safety in the NIST Physical Measurement Laboratory’s Sensor Science Division.”
  • Carol Clark, Eileen Conley and Sharon Wentling – “For proactive leadership of the NIST Information Technology Laboratory-wide Safety Clean-Up initiative and the early adoption of the NIST Office of Safety, Health and Environment’s Workplace Inspection Reporting System application.”

Dean of Staff Award

The Dean of Staff Award honors the current employee with the longest tenure at NIST. The honoree receives a framed copy of an antique print of pioneering scientist Michael Faraday. A rare carbon print of this photo, now in NIST’s historical artifact collection, hung in the office of the first three NIST directors for four decades.

H. S. Lew of EL's Materials and Structural Systems Division has worked at NIST for more than 49 years. He joined the National Bureau of Standards in 1968 as a structural research engineer. As senior research engineer, he carries out a broad range of research programs in the fields of structural and earthquake engineering. He has published more than 150 articles, papers, and reports on the performance of structures, construction safety, failure investigations, and earthquake engineering.

About NIST

NIST promotes U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life. NIST is a non-regulatory agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce. To learn more about NIST, visit

Released December 19, 2017, Updated January 8, 2018