2012 Award Recipients

2012 Arthur S. Flemming Award Winners

Dr. David Bray, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Washington DC
For exceptional achievements throughout a distinguished government career, beginning with the Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Program of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention where he led their technology response to 9/11 and anthrax, and then coordinated the program’s response to West Nile virus, SARS, and other outbreaks.  Dr. Bray later pursued a PhD focused on improving government response to disruptive events and voluntarily deployed to Afghanistan in 2009 to assist ISAF and USFOR-A generals in “thinking differently” on strategic efforts in the region.  He then joined the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in Washington DC, where he has pioneered national information sharing and protection efforts across the defense, intelligence, law enforcement, homeland security, and diplomatic communities.  Most recently, as Principal Strategist and Staff Director for the National Commission for the Review of the Research and Development Programs of the U.S. Intelligence Community, Dr. Bray has provided distinguished service in coordinating the review efforts among 12 Congressionally-appointed bipartisan Commissioners and the Executive Branch.

Dr. Leticia Pibida, National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST), Department of Commerce, Gaithersburg, MD
For her tireless efforts, as a Research Physicist with NIST in Gaithersburg, MD, to ensure that the Nation’s security and first response communities have the radiation detection equipment they need, designed to the highest standards and for the intended users in their continuing efforts to guard the nation against radiological and nuclear threats on U.S. soil.  Dr. Pibida organized experts and users to develop missing, needed standards and, where test programs were missing, she developed the techniques, protocols and infrastructure to establish them.  She established a sustained testing program in response to the evolving equipment needs of the over 50,000 federal, state, local, and tribal agents.  Dr. Pibida’s leadership has earned high praise across federal agencies, including Department of Homeland Security test directors, Department of Energy test personnel, and Department of Defense standards leaders, for reaching across agency lines to develop needed standards and validation procedures for radiation protection.

Amy O’Hara, U.S. Census Bureau, Washington DC
In recognition of her outstanding leadership, as Assistant Center Chief for Research in the Census Bureau in Washington DC, in addressing the legal, policy, and methodological issues surrounding the expanded use of administrative records data in federal statistics.  Administrative records are data collected by federal agencies for programmatic purposes, such as tax or public health care administration.  Throughout her federal career, Ms. O’Hara has developed innovative research programs integrating administrative records data into Census Bureau statistical methods and products, defining methods to measure whether and how administrative data can reduce respondent burden, lower data collection costs, and improve data quality throughout the Bureau.  She led the first national analysis of administrative records coverage using 2010 Census data, linking billions of records from 8 federal agencies to the decennial census.  The success of Ms. O’Hara’s endeavors will benefit the agency and federal statistical system for years to come.

Dr. Philip Puxley, National Science Foundation, Washington DC
For demonstrating his exceptional skill in program management with unusual leadership, vision, and dedication to the U.S. scientific community, as Program Director with the National Science Foundation in Washington DC.  Dr. Puxley has played a pivotal role in the management of the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA), a major National Science Foundation project that is a significant contribution to the world’s research infrastructure. The technical and managerial oversight of ALMA, a scientific facility with no equivalent or precedent, alone would be a considerable task.  However, Dr. Puxley also faced the organizational challenge of solidifying a new international partnership among disparate participants, including the United States, Europe, Japan, Canada, and Taiwan, who all contribute finances and equipment to the project.  He has participated in every facet of this complex, global undertaking, and has taken the lead in numerous critical aspects of the international program management.  His efforts have secured a leadership position for the National Science Foundation in international science, engineering and education, and have resulted in a fundamental contribution to the U.S. scientific community.

Kathryn Hellings, Antitrust Division, Department of Justice, Washington DC
For her remarkable accomplishments as a litigator and manager in the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice in Washington DC.  Ms. Hellings has been a lead prosecutor on major international cartel investigations and prosecutions of multi-national firms and executives.  She has successfully prosecuted major international airlines for price fixing, affecting billions of dollars of air transportation commerce, and is currently prosecuting a series of automobile parts suppliers in what has been recognized as the largest investigation and series of cases in the history of the Antitrust Division.  To date, Ms. Hellings’s efforts in the airline and auto parts prosecutions have resulted in the United States obtaining several billion dollars in criminal fines and dozens of high-level executives have been convicted of price fixing, bid rigging, and market allocation crimes, and sentenced to more than a decade in jail terms.

Kathryn Macdonald, Environment & Natural Resource Division, Department of Justice, Washington, DC.
For her unprecedented accomplishments, as Senior Attorney in the Environment and Natural Resource Division of the Department of Justice in Washington, DC, in protecting our Nation’s environment and enhancing the quality of life in several communities.  In St. Louis, Ms. Macdonald negotiated the largest Clean Water Act settlement ever, a historic consent decree that, annually, will eliminate 13 billion gallons of raw sewage overflows.  The estimated cost of the improvements is $4.7 billion over 23 years; these improvements include investments in Green Infrastructure and other cutting-edge projects that will benefit disadvantaged communities, transform numerous vacant lots to productive use, and prevent sewage back-ups into homes.  In Idaho, Ms. Macdonald’s work as lead litigation counsel led to settlements recovering $760 million to clean pollution and restore natural resources in the Coeur d’Alene basin, an area which had been contaminated by a century of silver mining and smelting.

Francesca Ugolini, Tax Division, Department of Justice, Washington DC.
For compiling an exceptional record of accomplishments as an appellate attorney in the Tax Division of the Department of Justice in Washington DC.  Ms. Ugolini has a special talent for grasping, and presenting with remarkable clarity, the most complicated issues arising in federal tax cases.  Her presentation enables appellate judges  - who typically are not tax specialists – to fully comprehend both the substance and the correctness of the government’s position.  Thanks to her efforts, the government has saved in excess of a billion dollars of tax revenue.  Ms. Ugolini represented the government in an abusive tax shelter case known as “Castle Harbor,” described by a commentator as “breathtakingly complex,” in which she secured a reversal of the district court’s judgment.  In another case – after she achieved a reversal of an adverse decision of the Tax Court – the Chief Judge of the Third Circuit telephoned Ms. Ugolini’s supervisor to praise her oral argument as the best he had ever seen in his 17 years on the bench.

Dr. Timothy Persons, United States Government Accountability Office, Washington DC
For his sustained excellence as Chief Scientist of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) in Washington DC, in reestablishing a technology assessment function in the legislative branch and providing the Congress with outstanding scientific and technical professional expertise on such cutting-edge subjects as: nanomanufacturing; freshwater conservation technologies; nuclear weapons stockpile stewardship; defense electronics supply chain security; climate engineering technologies; next-generation nuclear detection and non-intrusive imaging systems; and advanced intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance platforms.  Responding to Congressional interest in reestablishing the technology assessment reporting once done by the Office of Technology Assessment, Dr. Persons has spear-headed efforts to build a staff and establish processes and procedures for undertaking such specialized work at GAO.  Prior to joining GAO, Dr. Persons had already firmly established his credentials in key leadership roles at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Dr. Joel Ullom, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Department of Commerce, Boulder, CO.
In recognition of his exceptional accomplishments as a physicist with the Quantum Electronics and Photonics Division of the Precision Measurement Laboratory of the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder, Colorado.  Dr. Ullom developed and deployed a revolutionary new type of high-resolution radiation detector to solve important national measurement problems related to nuclear non-proliferation, nuclear forensics, and advanced materials analysis.  Exploiting the unique properties of superconductivity, Dr. Ullom significantly advanced the science of radiation detection by creating instrumentation with unprecedented sensitivity.  The improved resolving power of his detectors – more than a factor of 10 better than any previously available – provides new capabilities to detect and analyze radiation from nuclear sources, gamma rays and alpha particles, and, for the first time, enables accounting for the full range of nuclear isotopes with sufficient accuracy and precision to detect loss of any significant quantity of weapons grade material and to clearly discriminate that radiation from that of benign material which Is otherwise indistinguishable using conventional detectors.

Michal Chojnacky, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Department of Commerce, Gaithersburg, MD.
In recognition of her remarkable achievements as a physicist with the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, Maryland.  Ms. Chojnacky has translated laboratory research in temperature measurement to public health clinics and primary care physician offices to help ensure the potency of over $3.6 billion of vaccines distributed each year through programs, such as Vaccines for Children, administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Studies suggest that as much as one third of all distributed vaccines may have experienced temperatures outside specification, corresponding to a potential loss of $1.2 billion for the CDC program alone.  By scientifically evaluating the CDC cold-chain management system under conditions that replicate everyday practices of vaccine providers,  Ms. Chojnacky developed a suite of tools and training materials, such as the CDC vaccine toolkit, that are dramatically improving vaccine storage, handling, and monitoring.  With the adoption of Ms. Chojnacky’s results internationally, her impact will be magnified, since the distribution of almost $27 billion of vaccines annually will benefit from improved temperature monitoring and control.

Dr. Paul Jablonski, U.S. Department of Energy, Washington DC
In recognition of his accomplishments as the chief metallurgist of the Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory in Washington DC, in the development of a novel platinum-chromium alloy for use in manufacturing the next generation of coronary stents.  Developed under Dr. Jablonski’s supervision, in collaboration with scientists from Boston Scientific Corporation, the platinum-chromium alloy is the first stainless steel formulation with a significant concentration of a highly radiopaque element (platinum) making it easier for coronary specialists to see the stent in the catheter during insertion, placement, and expansion.  This alloy also increases stents’ corrosive resistance, strength and flexibility – all of which offer positive benefit to patients and cardiovascular surgeons alike.  The stents have rapidly gained acceptance with a 45% market share in the United States and 33% worldwide, with global sales of over $4 billion.  The development of this technology in partnership with Boston Scientific represents a stellar example of industry-government collaboration and technology transfer, and illustrates how the National Energy Technology Laboratory’s expertise in improving materials can improve lives.

Dr. Kathryn Beers, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Department of Commerce, Gaithersburg, MD.
For her outstanding service as a supervisory chemist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, Maryland, in research innovations in controlled polymer synthesis, microfluidic technology for the production and analysis of new materials, and creative approaches to advance green polymer chemistry.  Dr. Beers’ work is distinguished by a unique and powerful combination of sophisticated polymer synthesis methods and advanced analytical methods, which enables the creation of new materials and the ability to investigate and optimize these complex materials with extraordinary control.  These innovations have provided new routes to advanced biomaterials, enabled characterization of fundamental descriptors of co-polymers, and significantly advanced the ability to model and predict mass distributions in enzyme-catalyzed polymerizations.

Dr. Gretchen Campbell, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Department of Commerce, Gaithersburg, MD
For her pioneering accomplishments as a physicist in the emerging field of atomtronics at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, Maryland.  The latter part of the 20th century saw the advent of ultra-cold atoms as a new form of matter with remarkable quantum properties.  Among the dreams for this new material was the possibility of making atom circuits in analogy to electrical circuits, in which the flow of atoms would be analogous to the flow of electrons.  Dr. Campbell’s work has turned the dream into a reality.  In a seminal experiment she created a superfluid ring of atoms, using laser light as the “wire” through which atoms flow, and as the control element.  In an additional, pioneering experiment, she rotated the control element around the ring, creating a device in which the atoms “sense” rotation.  Dr. Campbell’s work, which continues at an accelerating pace, has received international attention, inspiring similar experiments by researchers around the world, and is opening new avenues of fundamental research with potential applications in sensors, metrology, and devices with new kinds of functionality.