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Seven U.S. Department of Commerce Employees Awarded Arthur S. Flemming Award

Monday, June 6, 2011

Award honors federal employees for excellence in public service

Seven U.S. Commerce Department employees have been awarded the prestigious Arthur S. Flemming Award, which honors outstanding men and women in the federal government. The George Washington University and the Arthur S. Flemming Awards Commission present a total of twelve awards annually in three categories: Applied Science, Engineering and Mathematics; Research; and Managerial or Legal Achievement. This year, there will be 13 awards, of which representatives from the Commerce Department won seven, across all three categories. The recipients included: Ms. Lisa Blumerman, Census Bureau; Dr. Scott Diddams, National Institute of Standards and Technology; Dr. Kenneth Knapp, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Dr. Ian Spielman, National Institute of Standards and Technology; Dr. Christopher Soles, National Institute of Standards and Technology; Mr. Erich Strassner, Bureau of Economic Analysis; and Dr. Anthony Wilhelm, National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

“I am proud of these men and women for their dedication and hard work as public servants. We are fortunate to have their level of expertise in fields ranging from applied science to research and administration. We look forward to their continued contributions to the Commerce Department and our country,” said Locke.

Established by the charitable foundation the Downtown Jaycees in 1948, the Flemming Awards are recognized by the President of the United States, agency heads, and the private sector, and the winners are selected from all areas of the federal service. More than 500 individuals have received the award to date.

The award is named after Dr. Arthur Sherwood Flemming, whose career spanned seven decades of service to the federal government and higher education. His career began with his serving as a member of the U.S. Civil Service Commission in 1939. He went on to serve as president of three universities; Director of the Office of Defense Mobilization; Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare; and Chairman of both the U.S. Commission on Aging and the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Dr. Flemming was Chairman of the Citizens Commission on Civil Rights and Co-chair of Save Our Security Coalition. In 1994, President Clinton awarded Dr. Flemming the Medal of Freedom in recognition of his peerless dedication to his country.

The full 2010 Flemming Award recipients are:

Ms. Lisa Blumerman, U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Census Bureau
Dr. Timothy Bunning, United States Air Force
Ms. Renee Camacho, U.S. Department of Justice
Dr. Philip Castle, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute
Dr. Scott Diddams, U.S. Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology
Mr. Glenn Donovan, United States Navy, Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division
Major Gabriel Hiley, United States Air Force
Dr. Kenneth Knapp, U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Ms. Kelly Lawson, U.S. Department of Labor
Dr. Ian Spielman, U.S. Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology
Dr. Christopher Soles, U.S. Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology
Mr. Erich Strassner, U.S. Department of Commerce
Dr. Anthony Wilhelm, U.S. Department of Commerce, National Telecommunications and Information Administration

The following Commerce Department employees were honored in the 2010 Flemming Awards:

In the area of Applied Science:

Mr. Erich Strassner, Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA)

Mr. Strassner developed a new suite of economic indicators that allow business leaders, policymakers, and researchers to better understand the sources of growth and performance on an industry-by-industry basis. This expanded information is critical to understanding how the changing structure of the U.S. economy affects business decisions to vertically integrate, outsource domestically, and produce offshore. It provides U.S. businesses with key information to better compete in a global economy. In 2010, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released an expanded time-series on the use of capital, labor, energy, materials, and purchased services (KLEMS) by U.S. industries to produce the Nation’s output. The KLEMS statistics, first released in 2005, paved the way for new developments in understanding sources of economic growth, industry productivity, and the impacts on U.S. GDP. The KLEMS statistics have gained world-wide recognition and have become an integral component of the official U.S. Productivity statistics produced by the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics and are widely used by the Federal Reserve Board to understand the sources of U.S. economic growth.

Dr. Kenneth Knapp, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA)

Meteorologist Dr. Knapp has provided outstanding scientific benefits for the United States while working at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, NC for the past seven years. During his time at NOAA, Dr. Knapp has pioneered the development of new climate-related products and tools based on the long-term satellite observations of Earth’s atmosphere. Dr. Knapp’s development of Climate Data Records (CDRs) directly promoted a better and more comprehensive understanding of Earth’s climate system and enabled the scientific community to use his work as a basis to conduct other, more expansive research. Dr. Knapp’s groundbreaking work set a baseline of developing other CDRs and far surpassed the common challenges associated with transitioning research products into operational ones. The Federal government has, and continues to, greatly benefit from Dr. Knapp’s dedicated and creative work. Dr. Knapp is also a valued member of his professional and local communities, performing dedicated services via professional societies, church organizations, and home school non-profit entities.

In the area of Research:

Dr. Scott Diddams, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

Dr. Diddams leads the world's best research program on precision measurements using laser combs. Just some of the accomplishments of Dr. Diddams and his team include: (1) First demonstration of laser frequency combs as precision measurement tools with Dr. Jan Hall of NIST, leading to Dr. Hall's 2005 Nobel Prize in Physics; (2) frequency measurements with accuracy at the 10 - 19 level, the most precise absolute measurements of any kind ever made; (3) development of the world's best atomic clocks, based on optical transitions, to improve GPS positioning accuracy and telecommunications; for ultra precise measurements of magnetic fields, gravity, and other quantities; and for many other applications; (4) development of massively parallel, ultrafast spectroscopy for fingerprinting and measurement of chemicals millions of times faster than previously possible, with applications in threat detection, medicine, greenhouse gas monitoring, and many other areas; (5) making "designer light waves" by synthesizing light with complete control over color, timing, intensity, and other parameters, for applications from improved remote sensing to better telecommunications; and (6) improved detection of planets orbiting distant stars (exoplanets).

Dr. Christopher L. Soles, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

Dr. Soles is recognized for outstanding federal service in research for his measurements of changes in the properties of polymeric materials under states of confinement (e.g. in nanoscale films and in nanoscale structures) and the impact of these changes on semiconductor and nanomanufacturing technology sectors. Dr. Soles utilized inelastic neutron scattering, x-ray reflectivity, and neutron reflectivity, to identify processing limits on nanoimprint lithography, to quantify interfacial effects in fuel cell membranes, and to demonstrate limitations facing next-generation photoresists. He has initiated collaborations with industry and academic partners to enhance and expand the impact of this work. Significant awards include the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the Department of Commerce Silver Medal, and two NIST Bronze Medals. He maintains active leadership roles in national scientific organizations such as the American Chemical Society (ACS) as a Technical Program Chair for the Polymer Materials: Science and Engineering Division and a member of the Thematic Programming Committee. An enthusiastic mentor, Dr. Soles has mentored 13 postdoctoral associates, 5 graduate students, 3 undergraduate interns, and one local high school student.

Dr. Ian Spielman, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

Dr. Spielman is recognized for pioneering a novel approach for solving computationally intractable problems through modeling one complex quantum system by using another, more easily controllable one. His work paves the way to solve some of the most important and illusive problems in physics today, such as explaining the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity. Spielman is in the vanguard of a new, 21st century quantum revolution that promises to surpass the 20th century advances that spawned most of modern technology. In 2007, Spielman used an ultra-cold atomic gas to accurately simulate a mathematical model for the change from electrical conductor to insulator. Next, Spielman showed how to make his neutral atoms behave like charged particles in electric or magnetic fields, opening a new avenue for simulation of important problems in the physics of materials. His successes gained worldwide attention and represent only the beginning of a program for creating a better understanding of the natural world, an understanding that may lead to new technologies for our century analogous to those that defined the last.

In the area of Administrative and Legal:

Dr. Tony Wilhelm, National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA)

Dr. Wilhelm is a superlative public servant who exemplifies progressive and effective leadership and who has consistently risen to the challenge of increasingly high-profile and high-impact federal programs. His superb leadership of the government’s efforts to prepare the nation for the July 2009 transition from analog to digital television directly impacted almost 35 million Americans and touched many millions more. The end result of this $1.5 billion program was a 97 percent nationwide consumer awareness level and unready households dropping 6.8 percent to 0.5 percent. He is also an exceptional and visionary advocate for utilizing technology to improve society. As a result his outstanding leadership of a program that dispersed over $250 million in 2004 to enhance human capital and economic development using technology, Congress developed a similar $4.7 billion broadband-focused grant program as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Mr. Wilhelm’s leadership of this program – the largest in Department of Commerce history – has exhibited extraordinary dedication, creative but practical thinking, and public service that is truly inspirational.

Ms. Lisa Blumerman, Census Bureau

Ms. Blumerman provided exceptional leadership in instituting critical improvements in the quality, timeliness, and usability of data produced by the Census of Governments. This Census, conducted once every five years, provides benchmark figures of public finance and employment; classifies local government organizations, powers, and activities, and measures federal, state, and local fiscal relationships for the nation’s 89,476 governments (39,044 general purpose governments and 50,432 special purpose districts). The Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Federal Reserve Board use the data to measure the nation’s economic performance. State and local governments use the data to develop programs and budgets, assess financial conditions, and perform analyses. Analysts, economists, market specialists, and researchers need these data to measure the changing characteristics of the government sector of the economy and to conduct public policy research. Ms. Blumerman has led long-needed major improvements in survey operations, data products, management of human capital, and relationships with external customers. Her successful work resulted in higher-quality data released as much as six months earlier than previously, as well as the development of important new data products.