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Computational fluid dynamics-generated simulation of a GE-90 aircraft engine.

Award Categories
Technology and Innovation
Leadership and Management Excellence
Program and Mission Support
High Potentials Award
Strategic Partnerships
+ Read About the Categories

The Associate Administrator Awards are presented to individuals and groups who contribute to Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate activities and who demonstrate exemplary performance in one of five award categories.

The Awards are presented to NASA employees, contractors and students or interns who distinguish themselves, either individually or as part of a group, through their overall approach to their work and through results they achieved during the award year. Their accomplishments demonstrate a profound positive impact and benefit to ARMD, its partners and/or stakeholders.

Nominations come from NASA Headquarters and NASA centers around the country where aeronautics research and support activities take place, and encompass the immediately preceding NASA fiscal year (October 1-September 30).

The Awards are coordinated by the Associate Administrator for Aeronautics' Office at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

ARC = NASA Ames Research Center
DFRC = NASA Dryden Flight Research Center
GRC = NASA Glenn Research Center
HQ = NASA Headquarters
LaRC = NASA Langley Research Center



Winner (Individual)
+ Shawn Engelland (ARC) (Click to read more)
Awarded to Mr. Engelland, who led a multi-agency effort to conceive, develop, test and evaluate the Precision Departure Release Capability (PDRC) software tool, which was transferred to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in 2013. Mr. Engelland created the PDRC software to provide more accurate takeoff-time predictions to improve aircraft departures and subsequent merges into en-route air traffic streams. As a result, individual flights can save as much as 20 minutes in ground holds, leading to shorter runway departure queues. In addition, air traffic controller workload is reduced because electronic communications act in place of voice interactions. The FAA has estimated that the PDRC could save airlines as much as $20 million annually.

Winner (Group)
+ High-Fidelity Tool Validation for Sonic Boom and Drag Prediction Team (LaRC) (Click to read more)
Awarded to this team for development and validation of high-fidelity predictive tools and concepts to significantly reduce sonic-boom levels through aircraft shaping, while addressing the complexities of airflow around airplanes flying in the real world. Such capabilities enable exploration of supersonic designs to reduce sonic booms to acceptable noise levels. The team developed analysis tools, applied them to innovative configurations, and established practical design processes to meet sonic-boom targets. They conducted extensive wind tunnel testing, established new data-collection techniques, and improved wind tunnel operations. These accomplishments lay the groundwork for flight-test demonstrations of acceptable-boom aircraft designs, and the potential introduction into service of overland commercial supersonic aircraft.

Technology and Innovation
NASA Civil Servants
Jon Bader
Ted Garbeff

Max Amaya
Maureen Delgado
Ross Flach
John Holmberg
Thomas Romer

Donald A. Durston
James Heineck
Ed Schairer
Bruce Storms

Michael J. Aftosmis
William Chan
Susan E. Cliff

Glenn Research Center (GRC)
Raymond S. Castner
Michelle Clem
Shannon Eichorn
Stefanie Hirt
James Jackson
Clayton Meyers
Jonathon Ponder
Stephanie R. Simerly
David Stark
Charles Trefny
Scott Williamson
Mark Woike
Kin Wong

Langley Research Center (LaRC)
* Linda S. Bangert (Team Lead)
Richard L. Campbell
Melissa B. Carter
Alaa A. Elmiligui
Wu Li
Irian Ordaz
Lori Ozoroski
Michael A. Park
David Richwine
Eric L. Walker
Floyd Wilcox
Courtney S. Winski

NASA Contractors
Aerospace Computing, Inc.
Laura Kushner

Analytical Mechanics Associates, Inc.
Mathias Wintzer
Sudheer Nayani

Kurt E. Acheson
Eric E. Adamson
Dharmanshu L. Antani
Alicia L. Bidwell
Dave Bruns
Juan G. Cajigas
Peter H. Donath, Jr
Lawrence E. Fink
Spencer R. Fugal
Steve Hollowell
Brandon N. Huelman
Edward L. Lawson
David S. Lazzara
Stewart B. Lumb
Todd Magee
Kevin M. Mejia
Nicole R. Mendoza
Greg D. Miller
Chester P. Nelson
Brandin T. Northrop
Stephen G. Shaw
David A. Treiber
Eric R. Unger
Harry R. Welge
Peter A. Wilcox

Dell Services Federal Government
Scott Thomas

Robert Fitzgerald
John Harcula
Ronald Kehrt
John Restifo
Jeffery Robinson

Jacobs Technology
Thomas Bridge
Pete Brown
Joe Dussling
John Eckert
Mark Lasky
Daniel Loney
Jeffery McConeghy
Richard Millington
Donald Mohnickey
Daniel Pitts
Harold Reimer

Lockheed Martin
Michael Buonanno
Sonny Chai
Robert Langberg
Frank Marconi
John Morgenstern
Nicole Norstrud

National Institute of Aerospace
Sriram Rallabhandi

Science & Technology Corp.
Marian Nemec
Shayan Moini-Yekta

Sierra Lobo
Mark Mader
Paul Nowak
Jim Simon

Juan Alonso
Trent Lukaczyk
Francisco Palacios

Universities Space Research Association (USRA)
James C. Jensen

Team Lead, Linda S. Bangert (LaRC)

Honorable Mention (Individual)
+ Dr. Dimitra Giannakopoulou (ARC) (Click to read more)
Awarded to Dr. Giannakopoulou for her development of a novel software tool to verify advanced algorithmic techniques that would reduce the chances of aircraft collision. The new approach, known as the Airborne Collision Avoidance System X, or ACAS-X, is being refined by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in collaboration with FAA stakeholders and partners, including NASA. The goal is replacement of the current Traffic Collision Avoidance System, and to make ACAS-X the next international standard for collision avoidance systems in civilian aviation. By filling the “verification gap,” Dr. Giannakopoulou’s software substantially improves ACAS-X efficiency.

Honorable Mention (Group)
+ Ceramic Matrix Composite (CMC) Team (GRC) (Click to read more)
Awarded to the CMC team for the first-time development of a ceramic matrix composite material with the capability to withstand temperatures of up to 2,700° Farenheit: a 300° F. improvement over existing state-of-the-art CMCs. The increase in temperature capability has been made possible by several of the team’s technical innovations, including incorporation of NASA Glenn-developed advanced fiber, a new fiber architecture, and a novel fabrication process that creates a dense composite. Development of the 2,700° CMC will extend the application of CMCs in gas turbine engines, especially for components subjected to extreme heat, such as turbine blades and vanes.

Technology and Innovation
Glenn Research Center
Gregory Buchar
* Dr. James A. DiCarlo (Team Lead)
Joseph Grady
Dale Hopkins
Nathan Jacobson
Martha Jaskowiak
James Kiser
Maricela Lizcano
Michael Woidke

Ray Babuder

Ohio Aerospace Institute
Ramakrishna Bhatt
Craig Smith

Daniel Gorican
Ronald Phillips

Gregory Piper

Team Lead, Dr. James A. DiCarlo


Winner (Individual)
+ Peter Coen (LaRC) (Click to read more)
Awarded to Mr. Coen for leadership and management excellence in his capacity as project manager for the Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate’s High Speed Project. Mr. Coen’s expertise was especially notable over the past year, when the High Speed Project was expanded beyond fundamental research in supersonics to include scramjet propulsion and advocacy for a low-sonic-boom flight demonstrator. He has also been instrumental in guiding NASA’s interactions with external organizations, such as industry, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the International Civil Aviation Organization.

Honorable Mention (Individual)
+ Kevin D. James (ARC) (Click to read more)
Awarded to Mr. James in his capacity as NASA Ames subproject manager for the Environmentally Responsible Aviation (ERA) Project, and as co-lead on the Ultra High Bypass and Hybrid Wing Body Propulsion Airframe Integration Subprojects. Mr. James excelled in integrating tasks across multiple NASA centers and industry partners. Of particular note was his leadership as UHB team leader, and his ability to ensure continued subproject progress despite encountering several significant problems.

Honorable Mention (Individual)
+ Dr. Jim Pittman (LaRC) (Click to read more)
Awarded to Dr. Pittman for his leadership as project manager for the Hypersonics Project that culminated in 2013. He demonstrated character, professionalism and commitment to excellence as he concluded the Project and ensured that key technical elements were transitioned or properly closed out. Because of Dr. Pittman's dedicated efforts, NASA has been able to maintain critical capabilities in the hypersonics field, sustain important partnerships, and properly document and communicate the Hypersonic Project's superb research.


Winner (Individual)
+ Gynelle Steele (GRC) (Click to read more)
Awarded to Ms. Steele for exemplary support of the Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate’s (ARMD) Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) portfolio. Her organizational expertise was crucial during ARMD’s SBIR selection process, which requires the coordination of effort among some two dozen senior NASA managers and technical experts. Ms. Steele ensured that participants received essential information, were made aware of critical deadlines, and were informed of key meetings, even as a new programmatic direction was implemented across the entire SBIR program.

Winner (Group)
+ World Trade Organization (WTO) Team (HQ) (Click to read more)
Awarded to the Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD) WTO team for significant contributions to NASA’s support of the Executive Office of the President/Office of the U.S. Trade Representative in addressing legal challenges to NASA’s research practices through the World Trade Organization. Team members worked with NASA Headquarters leadership and leaders from NASA research centers to document past NASA research programs and policies, and then distilled the critical information sought by the lead counsel in the Executive Office of the President/Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. Successful defense of NASA policies and practices is essential to the continued ability of NASA to invest in aeronautics research and development for the benefit of the U.S. aviation community and the nation at large.

Program and Mission Support
NASA Headquarters
Alex Bakos
Craig Bowers
Helen Galus
Jim Higgins
* Susan Minor (Team Lead)
Irma Rodriguez

Team Lead, Susan Minor (HQ)
  + View Award Photo

Honorable Mention (Individual)
+ Bernice Lynch (HQ) (Click to read more)
Awarded to Ms. Lynch for exceptional support in development and implementation of new conference and foreign travel tracking and approval procedures in response to new requirements from Congress and the Obama Administration. Her efforts significantly reduced the administrative burden on program leadership associated with understanding and complying with agency requirements. Her leadership on the Aviation 2013 conference justification was critical to the successful public rollout of the Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate’s strategic vision, ensuring that essential NASA personnel could participate in extensive discussions with colleagues in the aviation community.


Winner (Individual)
+ Davis Hackenberg (DFRC) (Click to read more)
Awarded to Mr. Hackenberg for exemplary performance in his role as strategy and integration manager for the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) in the National Airspace System (NAS) Project Office. He has focused on defining strategic partnerships with the Federal Aviation Administration, the Joint Program Development Office, the Department of Defense, and industry. Mr. Hackenberg’s efforts have earned NASA trust and respect in the UAS community at large, ensuring the agency will have a crucial role to play in helping to overcome technical barriers in order to make UAS a reality as a routine part of the NAS.

Honorable Mention (Individual)
+ Dr. Barbara K. Burian (ARC) (Click to read more)
Awarded to Dr. Burian for her dedication and expertise in developing significant strategic partnerships across aviation groups representing government, industry, and professional associations. Over the past several years, these partnerships have utilized NASA-based aviation safety research, further strengthening NASA’s commitment to the field. Her work in developing methods to maintain pilot alertness – including optimizing checklists, refining procedures, and improving monitoring strategies – has attracted widespread industry attention, and collaborations with the Federal Aviation Administration, airlines, and aircraft manufacturers.

Honorable Mention (Individual)
+ Christopher E. Hughes (GRC) (Click to read more)
Awarded to Mr. Hughes as a leader in the development of advanced high-bypass propulsion systems. He has actively pursued and executed high-value partnerships with industry to advanced the state of the art. Mr. Hughes has advocated and established cost-sharing partnerships with Pratt and Whitney and the Federal Aviation Administration to study next-generation geared-turbofan systems in NASA wind tunnels. Such systems will result in improved aircraft efficiency through reduced fuel burn and quieter aircraft engines to reduce noise levels in and around airports.


Winner (Individual)
+ Mirna Johnson (ARC) (Click to read more)
Awarded to Ms. Johnson for critical contributions in leading systems engineering for the Air Traffic Management Technology Demonstration-1 (ATD-1). She worked with engineers, researchers, project managers, software assurance leads, and the chair of an independent review board to co-implement quality systems engineering ATD-1 principles and practices. Federal Aviation Administration officials have lauded Ms. Johnson’s achievements as unprecedented in generating the necessary documentation for successful ATD-1 technology transfer.

Honorable Mention (Individual)
+ Dr. Brett Bathel (LaRC) (Click to read more)
Awarded to Dr. Bathel for leading an effort to establish a new and vital measurement capability with the potential to enable a variety of groundbreaking research breakthroughs. His development of air-based fluorescent molecular tagging velocimetry for hypersonic flows has earned Dr. Bathel a number of individual awards and recognitions. Dr. Bathel is self-motivated, conscientious and works tirelessly to ensure his research is directly aligned with the goals of NASA’s Fundamental Aeronautics Program. His combination of technical excellence and community outreach is an asset to the agency.

+ View Complete List of 2013 Award Winners and Honorable Mentions [PDF]

+ 2012 Associate Administrator Awards
+ 2011 Associate Administrator Awards
+ 2010 Associate Administrator Awards


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NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Editor: Karen Rugg
NASA Official: Tony Springer
Last Updated: March 11, 2014
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