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Nov. 7, 2001

Ann Hutchison

Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.

(Phone: 650/604-3039 or 650/604-9000)



Two members of the senior management team at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley have been selected for Presidential Rank awards, an honor for outstanding leadership reserved for a select group of executives in the federal government.

Deputy Center Director William E. Berry was named to the rank of Distinguished Executive. Dr. Steven F. Zornetzer, chief of the Office of Information Sciences and Technology, received the Meritorious Executive award.

"I am very proud and gratified that the outstanding leadership of Bill Berry and Steve Zornetzer has been recognized by the President with these prestigious awards," said Ames Director Dr. Henry McDonald. "Both have proven themselves to be outstanding, dedicated leaders who are extremely deserving of these awards."

President George W. Bush announced the names of the award recipients last month at Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. The awards will be presented during a ceremony next spring. In his remarks, Bush noted that although the honorees’ work covers a variety of areas and issues, "They share some things in common: an outstanding work ethic, commitment to public service and pride in a job well done."

Berry, who began his career at Ames in 1966, has served as the center’s Deputy Director since November 1997 and serves as Ames' Chief Operating Officer. He was recognized for his efforts to makes Ames more effective and to create a new vision for its future. Among other contributions, the President's award recognizes him as the driving force in the development of the NASA Research Park, a first-of-its-kind research and development center.

Berry conceived and is implementing a joint economic development plan with other federal agencies, community leaders, major universities and the private and non-profit sectors to transform the former Navy facilities and land at Moffett Field into a world-renowned, federally owned research and development complex. It is an innovation whereby the federal government has invited a consortium of institutions of higher learning and the leading elements of private industry in Silicon Valley to join in a concerted, cooperative effort to create a stimulating environment for basic and applied research in the nation's leading technological area.

The broad range of interests found at Ames Research Center, featuring information technology and biotechnology, will serve as the foundation for this new approach in continuing the advance of science and technology. NASA Administrator Daniel Goldin has stated, "The innovations and scientific discoveries of the future will not come from NASA, industry or universities alone. They will come from us working together…NASA Ames, which has critical R&D responsibilities in information technology, biotechnology and nanotechnology, is partnering with one of the world's best public higher education systems."

Berry earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Drexel University. He has a master’s degree in management through Stanford University's Sloan Fellowship program in 1986 and received a Meritorious Rank in 1996. He was recognized with a NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal in 1998.

Zornetzer, who earned a doctorate degree in biological sciences from the University of California, Irvine, is an internationally recognized leader in revolutionary, information technology-based approaches to aerospace and space exploration missions. His expertise ranges from basic research in cognitive, perceptual and neural sciences to biological information processing, molecular biology, genetic engineering and biomedical science. Before joining NASA in 1997, he headed the Personnel Optimization and Biomolecular Science and Technology Department for the Office of Naval Research, where he was widely recognized for his leadership and vision. He received a Meritorious Rank in 1991.

Zornetzer led Ames’ efforts in radical technological change in aircraft development, with oversight of the Intelligent Flight Controller, neural network software that can adapt and reconfigure itself in response to structural changes in the aircraft. This software also allows rapid prototyping of radical new aircraft designs in half the time of existing technology.

He oversaw development of the Surface Movement Advisor (SMA) program, which aids airport ground controllers in better managing taxiways and gate access for greater airport capacity and safer operation. The prototype has been installed at the Hartsfield International Airport in Atlanta and is saving approximately $20 million per year.

Presidential Rank awards are bestowed each year on a small group of the government’s Senior Executive Service (SES). There are two categories of awards, Distinguished Executives and Meritorious Executives. Award winners are chosen through a rigorous selection process after being nominated by the head of their agency, evaluated by boards of private citizens, and approved by the President. The evaluation criteria focus on the executive's leadership in producing results.
Only 1 percent of SES members receives the rank of Distinguished Executive for sustained extraordinary accomplishment. The Meritorious Executive award is given for long-term accomplishments. Only 5 percent of career SES members may receive the award.



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