Eight Win Highest Company Achievement Honors

Each year, The Aerospace Corporation takes time out from its bustling work day to commemorate the accomplishments of some of its most exceptional employees. Most of the corporation’s professional achievements occur behind the scenes, without pomp or circumstance, and rarely receive the attention or acclaim they rightly deserve. Even the notion of celebrating oneself might seem anathema to the unfailingly modest Aerospace ethos. Fortunately, the President’s and Trustees’ Awards bring a much-needed spotlight to a few of Aerospace’s best and brightest.

On Thursday afternoon at Aerospace’s El Segundo facility, eight employees were presented with the corporation’s highest honors at the 34th annual President’s and Trustees’ Distinguished Achievement Awards ceremony.

With the auditorium nearly filled to capacity, Dr. Wanda Austin, president and CEO, addressed the audience, speaking about the significance of the awards, the rigorous selection process, and her pride in the recipients. Austin explained that nineteen nomination packages had been reviewed, which comprised nine individuals and ten team nominations. The nominations included representation from all six organizational groups.

Austin thanked the families of the award recipients for their patience and support and acknowledged the awards screening committee, which was chaired by Steven Leontis, principal director, the Weather System Follow-on, Environmental Satellite Systems Division. As the ceremony progressed, Austin exhibited a disarmingly deft sense of humor — playfully exchanging with the award recipients and audience.

The Honorable Robert Walker, board of trustees member and chair of the awards subcommittee, presented the 2013 Trustees’ Distinguished Achievement Award to Dr. Donald Lewis, principal director, Strategic Awareness and Policy, Systems Planning, Engineering, and Quality, “for outstanding personal contribution and leadership of Project West Wing into its 56th year of premier space-related technical intelligence service to the nation.” He received a stylized crystal eagle’s-wings statue and an award of $25,000.

The first, and only, team to be honored with a President’s Distinguished Achievement Award comprised Ronald Clifton, director, Performance Modeling and Analysis Department; Marc DiPrinzio, senior engineering specialist, Mission Analysis and Operations Department; Dr. Matthew Ferringer, project leader, Architecture and Design Subdivision; and Timothy Thompson, senior engineering specialist, Performance Modeling and Analysis Department, all of the Engineering and Technology Group, for “execution of a revolutionary constellation replenishment technique, allowing for performance recovery and optimization for a critical national system.”

James Ford, principal director, Finance Planning, Analysis, and Reporting, Operations and Support Group, was honored with a President’s Achievement Award for “outstanding sustained contributions to Aerospace financial management and corporate operations.”

Kenneth Goussak, systems director, System Security Engineering, Space Systems Group was also honored with a President’s Achievement Award for “developing an elegant and quickly deployable solution to mitigate a fatal design flaw uncovered in some GPS receivers during SAASM capability deployment, and for avoiding a major disruption in military operations of GPS-enabled platforms.”

The last President’s Achievement Award was presented to Dr. Patrick Mak, principal director, Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP), Space Systems Group, for “ensuring the continuity of critical environmental weather data for deployed warfighters.”

Austin closed the ceremony with a few remarks, after which the award recipients celebrated with family members and colleagues at an outdoor reception before leaving for a private reception and dinner at Verandas in Manhattan Beach.

—Matthew Kivel