A pair of engineers from Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock Division have been named in the 2020 class of Dr. Delores M. Etter Top Scientists and Engineers Award for Achievement winners. In addition, several Carderock employees on rotation to the Washington Navy Yard earned one of the team Etter Awards.
Every year, the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition present the Etter Awards to scientists and engineers whose work reflects the innovative spirit that the United States Navy and the Department of Defense wants its employees to embody in their efforts. The award is given based on work recognized in the previous calendar year through a highly competitive selection process.
The awards will be presented at a mostly virtual ceremony on July 24, 2020, at Carderock’s Maritime Technology Information Center in West Bethesda, Maryland.
Craig Madden of the Acoustics Department and Dr. Timothy Bole of the Underwater Electromagnetic Signatures and Technology Division were both nominated for the prestigious award for their respective contributions to naval technology.
William Soublo, David Ciscon and Mike Shimko, all Carderock employees currently on rotations with Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), earned their Etter Award with the Experimental Hull Treatment Technology Team.
Craig Madden, a Top Engineer
Throughout his career, Madden has worked closely on propulsor-related projects and is currently an engineering manager for the NAVSEA Propulsor Technical Warrant Holder at Carderock. He was nominated for creating an innovative propulsor for Virginia-class submarines after leading two propulsor hardware modifications for USS South Dakota (SSN 790) in a five-month span. Typically, design and production timelines for propulsors take up to 10 years, with months between each iteration of the process.
“The first modification, targeted to confirm the physical basis for a permanent improvement, was installed only four weeks after initial at-sea testing,” the nomination packet said. “The second modification effort, targeted to demonstrate a permanent improvement at sea, began immediately following the first modification, and was installed eight weeks after that installation.”
“The program was unique in that we set up a team consisting of a couple people from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Carderock, the Applied Research Lab and myself, “ said Madden, who has been working on propulsors for nearly four decades. “That team was very high performing, and we were not afraid to take risks.”
Madden said the success was due to many highly talented people, particularly the divers who executed the in water modifications. He recognized two people specifically: Kieumi (Jaimie) Nguyen from NAVSEA’s Program Management Office for Virginia-class submarines research and development; and Meredith Wells, an engineering manager for NAVSEA’s Advanced Propulsors and a senior engineer for Carderock’s Advanced Propulsor Management Office, whose work was necessary for the success to be realized.
Dr. Timothy Bole, a Top Scientist
Bole’s claim to recognition was for finding a proof-of-concept of a non-traditional approach to control electric signatures of naval vessels. For the last six years, Bole has dedicated himself to electromagnetic signature work in support of the command and the Navy, becoming recognized as an expert in underwater electric field theory nationally and internationally. According to the nomination packet, the system he designed is the first-ever system to lower signatures that is not based on a modification of the corrosion controlling Impressed Current Cathodic Protection (ICCP) system.
“Electric signatures are very much tied to corrosion currents on seawater-born platforms,” he said. “One of the things that we always have to think about is what’s going to be the impact on the corrosion state. We can’t have a low electric signature at the expense of causing corrosion.”
Physical modeling to show proof-of-concept for the system was executed at the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) Marine Corrosion Facility seawater-testing laboratory. The system Bole and his team created also uses fewer components than previous ICCP systems, which in turn increases the reliability and maintainability of the system, per the nomination packet. From the planning stages all the way through to post-execution analysis, Bole led the charge to validate the practicality of this system.
“I was driving the effort to demonstrate this technology and pursue it, but I don’t work in a vacuum. We had a really good team of people, and everyone deserves some recognition for what we demonstrated last year,” said Bole, who mentioned fellow Carderock team members Albert Barsa and Dan Sherman (contract support) among the key contributors. He was also awarded the Warfare Centers’ Innovation Award for his work, which could increase the Navy’s warfighting capabilities at a lower cost according to the nomination statement.
Experimental Hull Treatment Technology Team
As part of the Experimental Hull Treatment Technology Team, Soublo, Ciscon and Shimko earned the Dr. Delores M. Etter Award for their work on behalf of NAVSEA in assessing the performance and vulnerability of U.S. submarines to new rest-of-world submarines, considering material performance, environmental effects, ships sensor performance and own-ship capabilities. The group’s work culminated in the installation of innovative advanced materials that enabled superior capabilities.