President’s and Trustees’ Awards Go to 17

The President’s and Trustees’ Awards are The Aerospace Corporation’s highest honors.

Seventeen employees were presented with the corporation’s highest honors at the 33rd annual President’s and Trustees’ Distinguished Achievement Awards ceremony Sept. 20 at the corporation’s headquarters.

The President’s Distinguished Achievement Award was created to recognize an outstanding singular act; a piece of work accomplished over a period of days, weeks, month; or a lengthy sustained effort. The work being recognized must have a very significant, positive impact on national security space or Aerospace corporate goals, and is considered well beyond expected or specified job responsibilities.

The President’s and Trustees’ Awards screening committee reviewed all of the submissions and made its recommendations to the executive council. From the committee’s recommendations, a pool of winners was selected. That pool was then submitted to the board of trustees for consideration. From that group, the board selected the Trustees’ Distinguished Achievement Award winner.

Robert Walker, board of trustees member and chair of the awards subcommittee, presented the 2012 Trustees’ Distinguished Achievement Award to Dr. James Hicks, senior engineering specialist, Communications and Signal Analysis Department, Engineering and Technology Group (ETG), “for sustained technical and programmatic leadership in resolving a critical signal intelligence problem that provides the intelligence community and combat forces a way forward to an integrated, worldwide situational awareness capability.” He received a stylized crystal eagle’s-wings statue representing perfection and achievement, and a check for $25,000.

Dr. Wanda Austin, president and CEO, hosted the afternoon event that brought together employees, family members and colleagues to applaud the achievements of three teams and four individual efforts.

Twenty-one nomination packages were reviewed, which comprised 11 individuals and 10 team nominations. The nominations included representation from all six organizational groups. Three teams received a President’s Achievement Award — a crystal eagle’s-wing statue, and individual checks for $7,500. Three individuals received a crystallized eagle’s-wing statue and checks for $12,500.

Austin acknowledged the awards screening committee, which was chaired by Margherita Eastman, principal director, Enterprise Engineering, Systems Engineering, National Systems Group.

The first team to be honored with a President’s Distinguished Achievement Award was John Brekke, principal director, Human Exploration and Spaceflight, Civil and Commercial Operations; Matthew Eby, engineering specialist, Mechanical Systems Department; Dr. Brian Hardy, senior MTS, Mechanics Research Department, both of ETG; and Randall Williams, systems director, Civil and Commercial Launch Projects, Space Systems Group, for “outstanding contributions made in characterizing external tank foam debris risk to the shuttle program.”

Allen Venancio Compito, principal director, Reconnaissance Systems, National Systems Group, was also honored with a President’s Achievement Award for “steadfastly applying the principles of mission assurance, leading to success on a critical national security space mission.”

The next team honored was Andrew Dawdy, principal director, EHF Systems, Space Systems Group; Andrew Feistel, senior MTS; Dr. David Garza, engineering specialist; Garrett Teahan, MTS, all of Flight Design and Optimization; and Dr, Wayne Hallman, department director, all of Flight Mechanics Department, ETG; for “developing and implementing an innovative mission plan to recover the Advanced EHF SV1 spacecraft.”

The team of Dr. Raymond de Gaston, senior project engineer; Dr. Robert Pan, senior project leader; Ty Rudder, project engineer, all of Directorate L, National Systems Group; and Dr. Brian McCarthy, engineering specialist, Component Analysis and Test Office, ETG, was awarded a President’s Achievement Award “for innovative, rapid response and sustained excellence in recovering national security program performance.”

Sabrina Steele, principal director, Corporate Communications Directorate, Operations and Support Group, was honored with a President’s Achievement Award for “significantly enhancing Aerospace’s reputation as the premier technical resource for all space endeavors.”

The last President’s Achievement Award was presented to Dr. Timothy Graves, laboratory manager, Space Materials Laboratory, ETG, for “identifying root-cause failure mechanisms within RF components critical to customer missions.”

Award recipients celebrated with family members and colleagues at a reception on the Aerospace campus before leaving for a private reception and dinner at Verandas in Manhattan Beach.

—Gail Kellner