News Releases

Angela Storey
Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.

RELEASE : 12-086
'Embracing the Challenge, Fulfilling the Promise': Engineers, Scientists, Support Teams Honored at NASA's Marshall Center
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., today honored more than 300 team members whose exceptional contributions over the past year helped achieve the center's goals and further NASA's science, engineering and spaceflight endeavors -- forging a new era of exploration and discovery for the nation's space program.

Robin Henderson, acting director of the Marshall Center, welcomed award recipients and their guests. She thanked all those honored for "Embracing the Challenge, Fulfilling the Promise," the theme of the day's events.

"When I look at all that we have accomplished, I am exceedingly proud of our team’s continued commitment, work ethic and high level of achievement," she said.

Robert Lightfoot, acting associate administrator at NASA Headquarters in Washington, delivered the keynote address. Lightfoot, who was director of Marshall from 2009-2012, also joined Marshall Center leaders in presenting the awards.

NASA Distinguished Service Medals, the highest honor given by the agency to its civil service employees, were presented to Byron E. Butler, retired former director of the Office of Procurement; Sam V. Digesu, a supervisor in the Engineering Directorate's Mission Operations Laboratory; and Ann R. McNair, retired former director of the Office of Center Operations. Distinguished Service Medals honor individuals whose personal contributions have profoundly aided NASA's mission and the interests of the United States.

NASA Outstanding Leadership Medals, reflecting exceptional leadership of NASA technical or administrative programs, were presented to Marshall Associate Technical Director Lawrence (Dale) Thomas; Lisa D. Blue of the Space Launch System Program Office; Stephen C. Doering and Melvin L. Scruggs of the Office of Center Operations; Jerald G. Kerby of the Office of Strategic Analysis & Communications; Julie N. Sanchez of the Safety & Mission Assurance Directorate; and Robyn L. Carrasquillo, Rae W. Meyer, Richard T. Stroud, Jason B. Turpin and Angelia D. Walker of the Engineering Directorate.

Receiving NASA Outstanding Public Leadership Medals -- honoring non-government employees for noteworthy accomplishments significantly influencing NASA's mission -- were Thomas G. Howsman of Dynamic Concepts in Huntsville; Andrew P. Johnston of Jacobs Engineering in Huntsville; and Earl Washington of Deltha-Critique, headquartered in New Orleans. Howsman and Johnston support the Engineering Directorate at Marshall; Washington supports the Office of Human Capital.

NASA Exceptional Achievement Medals, awarded to civil service employees for significant, special contributions to NASA’s mission, were presented to Timothy J. Flores, Anthony R. Lavoie, Kimberly F. Robinson and Michael D. Shadoan of the Space Launch System Program Office; Pamela D. Hanes of the Office of the Chief Financial Officer; Jane E. Maples and Paloma D. Mefford of the Office of the Chief Information Officer; George E. Pendley of the Office of Procurement; Amy M. Schilling of the Safety & Mission Assurance Directorate; Carole C. Valenti of the Office of Center Operations; Ernest R. Wright of the Science & Technology Office; Dennis J. Boccippio, Betty V. Grisham and Bobby J. Watkins of the Office of Strategic Analysis & Communications; John A. Blevins, Andrew M. Brown, Thomas (Mike) Danford, Philip M. Franklin, Paul R. Gradl, William J. Hagopian, Kenneth B. Kittredge, Patrick S. McRight, Lewis E. Moore III, Jan R. Rogers, Sandeep R. Shah, Thomas N. Stinson and Robert M. Suggs of the Engineering Directorate.

Recipients of NASA Exceptional Public Achievement Medals, awarded for significant, special contributions to NASA’s mission by non-government team members, included Po-Shou Chen of Jacobs Engineering; Dennis A. Cunningham of Dynetics Inc. of Huntsville; and Dennis R. Wooten of Excalibur Associates, headquartered in Westminster, Colo.

The NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal, awarded for outstanding scientific contributions to NASA's mission, was presented to Terry G. Koelbl of the Space Systems Department in Marshall's Engineering Directorate. NASA Exceptional Engineering Achievement Medals, reflecting outstanding engineering accomplishments aiding NASA's mission, were presented to Douglas D. Counter of the Engineering Directorate; Michael G. Houts of the Science & Technology Office; and Patrick A. Tobbe, a Dynamic Concepts contractor supporting the Engineering Directorate. NASA Exceptional Technology Achievement Medals, honoring new or advanced technological contributions supporting NASA's mission, were presented to Brian D. Ramsey of the Science & Technology Office and Stephen (Mark) Strickland of the Engineering Directorate.

NASA Equal Employment Opportunity Medals were presented to Susan L. Cloud of the Office of Human Capital; William P. Dobbs of the Office of Center Operations; and Abbie J. Johnson of the Office of Diversity & Equal Opportunity -- reflecting outstanding contributions to the agency's Equal Employment Opportunity programs, principles and goals.

Robert Jeffrey Ding of Marshall's Engineering Directorate was presented the Marshall Center's Invention of the Year Award for 2011, for his development of a unique, thermal-stir welding apparatus for use in high-tech engineering applications.

Additional awards presented to Marshall employees and contractors included 23 NASA Exceptional Service Medals; six NASA Exceptional Public Service Medals; two NASA Exceptional Administrative Achievement Medals; eight NASA Early Career Achievement Medals; 10 NASA Silver Achievement Medals (five individual awards, five team awards); 32 NASA Group Achievement Awards; 42 Marshall Center Director's Commendation Honor Awards; 40 Marshall Certificates of Appreciation Honor Awards; 29 Marshall Group Achievement Honor Awards; 10 Marshall Research & Technology Awards; six Marshall Technology Transfer Awards; and 40 Marshall Center Patent Awards for 2011-12.

For a complete list of award recipients, visit:

Learn more about the Marshall Center, its mission and its workforce at:

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