WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Top 2017 Department of the Navy (DON) individual and team innovators were recognized in the Pentagon auditorium Sep. 4 at the annual Secretary of the Navy Innovation Awards Ceremony.
The Secretary of the Navy selected nine awardees who made significant achievements in 2017. The Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition James F. Geurts presented awards to the nine individuals who were selected among 200 nominations from commands and organizations in the Navy and Marine Corps.
While overseeing the ceremony, Geurts spoke about the depth and breadth of innovation across the entire department of the Navy.
“Our success as Department of the Navy is more than just a new gadget,” said Geurts. “Innovation is occurring across the entire department. Beyond the new gadget, it’s in operational design, new ways of training, new ways of enabling Sailors and Marines and in new ways of thinking.”
Geurts also highlighted the strength of pulling together different perspectives, and working together on a common solution with mission in mind.
“Our advantage as a department is we have two different perspectives [Navy and Marine] and views to challenging problems. This is not a weakness; this is a strength.”
Encouraging the audience to keep mission in mind and changing the culture Geurts said, “the more we can draw the great operational teams and great acquisition teams together, to think openly about problems, is where we are really going to make our mark on competing and winning.”
Further recognizing the superior performance of the award winners and the culture they are creating Geurts closed with, “we need to look at these award winners as examples of where we need to be moving as we look at the challenges in the years ahead.”
2017 award winners included the following:
Maj. Brandon H. Newell for Innovation Leadership (Headquarters United States Marine Corps; Washington, DC)
Cmdr. Zak Staples (and team) for Innovation Catalyst (Naval Sea Systems Command; Washington Navy Yard, DC)
Lt. j. g. Michael T. Peribonio for Data Analytics (Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit TWO; Virginia Beach, VA)
Ms. Heidi L. Buck (and team) for Technology Development (Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center, Pacific; San Diego, CA)
Ms. Heather Williams (and team) for Automated Process Development (Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center, Pacific; San Diego, CA)
Maj. Michael L. Marron, Jr. for Innovation Scholar (PME) Expeditionary Warfare School, Marine Corps University; Quantico, VA)
Ens. Griffin A. Hinkley (and team) for Innovation Scholar (MIDN) (United States Naval Academy; Annapolis, MD)
Petty Officer First Class Donald D. Besch for Enlisted Innovator (Naval Special Warfare Group Ten; Virginia Beach, VA)
Lt. Joshua M. Mitchell for Outside of the Box (Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Weapons School; NAS Jacksonville, FL)