The Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition 2022 Dr. Delores M. Etter Awards for Top Scientist and Engineers is presented to Navy civilian and military scientists and engineers in recognition of their contributions to the Navy and the Department of Defense. The ceremony took place on June 16, 2022, at Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division’s Maritime Information Technology Center Auditorium in West Bethesda, Md.
This annual award honors Dr. Delores M. Etter, who served as U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense for Science and Technology from 1998 to 2001, and assistant secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition from 2005 to 2007.
Although not physically present at the ceremony, Etter submitted a video of herself where she congratulated the awardees, and gave them words of wisdom moving forward.
Carderock’s Jacob Mason, Shock Research and Development Program Manager in the Underwater Explosions Research and Development Branch, and Brittany Preston-Baker, the Acting Painting Center of Excellence Program Manager in the Corrosion and Coatings Engineering Branch, earned awards in the emergent engineers category.
Mason received the award for his innovation in Enhanced Testing Supported by Modeling and Simulation (ET-M&S). He delivered tangible results for ET-M&S, developing new and practical approaches to Full Ship Shock Trials (FSST). His ingenuity and results-led leadership helped his team find an alternative to FSST, allowing naval ships to remain online throughout several months of testing. Mason also made near-term plans to continue maturing infrastructure to execute ET-M&S tasking and established new scoping studies, including a first-of-its-kind detailed analysis to determine costs, schedules and risks associated with ET-M&S.
His cost-effective efforts and precise financial estimates for ET-M&S help leadership make informed decisions and consider established acquisition parameters.
“My best career achievement has been working on ET-M&S,” he said. “It has been a very big challenge because it's an enterprise-wide thing. It's been a great growing and learning experience for me.”
Preston-Baker earned her award for her work with the significant total ownership cost reduction to the fleet in the area of corrosion mitigation and control. As the Corrosion Control Assistance Team (CCAT) Deputy Project Engineer, and program manager for the Painting Center of Excellence, she provided cost avoidance of more than $2,300,000, resulting in the preservation of more than 9,000 man-hours, by taking corrosion control training exercises directly to the fleet.
“I found that we had a disconnect between the people who were doing the technology work and the Sailors themselves, so we decided to train Sailors directly on how to use each of these technologies,” Breston-Baker said. “We began meeting Sailors where they were and realized if we wanted this technology to transition successfully, we had to take our technology and demonstrate it onboard ships.”
As a result, CCAT is now located at nine major ports around the world, and services 250 ships per year.
Two Carderock teams – and one Carderock team member working in a collaborative effort – also received group awards. They were the CVN 78 Full Ship Shock Trial Team, the Deamping System Design Team and the Nickel Aluminum Bronze Alloying for Large Propulsors Castings Team, which featured Carderock’s Dr. Meredith Wells.
The CVN 78 Full Ship Shock Trial Team was comprised of Henry “Joe” Venne, Program Manager for the Underwater Explosion Tests and Trials Program Office, and Shock Trial Director; Steven Rutgerson, Shock Trial Deputy Director; Roy Javier, Operations Director; Tommy Douglas, Environmental Director; and Lana Craig, Explosive Operations Lead. The team was recognized for their efforts with the execution of the FSST aboard USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), which took place off the coast of Mayport, Florida, in July and August 2021. The FSST on USS Gerald R. Ford, which consisted of three explosive events, was conducted to assess shock survivability of the ship as a key element of the Live Fire Test and Evaluation Program. It was the largest and most complex FSST in Navy history, and provided the first ever system-of system survivability evaluation for several new ship systems including Advanced Weapons Elevators, Electro Magnetic-powered Aircraft Launch System, Dual Band Radar and the Advanced Arresting Gear.
Carderock’s Deamping System Design Team earned their Etter Award for their impressed current cathodic protection (ICCP) system design. Members of the team included Rafael Hill, a physicist with the Signature Control, Analysis and Susceptibility Branch; Dr. Timothy Bole, a physicist with the Research and Technology Development Branch; Christopher Conner, an electronics engineer with Underwater Electromagnetic Signature and Technology Division; Richard Mack, an electronics engineer with the Program Management Branch; and Albert Barsa, an electrical engineer with the Signature Control, Analysis and Susceptibility Branch.
In 2020, the newest class of guided-missile frigates was being designed: the Constellation-class. As with all naval vessels in service, the Constellation-Class would have to meet the Chief of Naval Operations standards, which started the formation of the deamping team. Some team members, like Hill and Barsa, had previously worked on ICCP systems since 2010, and Bole’s ICCP work started in 2013. Additional experience with other projects, such as the Virginia-Class Block V and Columbia-Class programs, helped the team compress the equivalent of years’ worth of development cycles into a year and a half.
“It’s a huge honor,” Hill said. “It feels great we were recognized for it. This is a respected award and we are very happy with it.”
Meredith Wells, from Carderock’s Advanced Propulsor Management Office, was part of a collaborative Naval Research and Development Establishment Team that was awarded the 2022 Dr. Delores M. Etter Top Scientists and Engineers Award for their innovation in pioneering the renovation of submarine large propulsor castings.
The team’s expertise in materials was used to create an innovative method that significantly improved mechanical properties in laboratory experiments and full-scale production. The team’s work will apply to all submarine classes in the future. Wells, an Engineering Manager for the Naval Sea System Command Submarine Propeller and Propulsor Technical Warrant Holder, was responsible for ensuring technical compliance and quality of all submarine propulsor components. Wells said she and her colleagues continuously strive to improve production quality and efficiency.
The project’s success was a team effort and allowed each engineer to divide and conquer tasks in their area of expertise.