Secretary of the Navy Recognizes Top Naval Innovators

Story Number: NNS160210-18Release Date: 2/10/2016 3:54:00 PM
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From Office of the Chief of Information

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus announced the winners and finalists of the SECNAV Innovation Awards for 2015 yesterday, recognizing the top innovators within the Department of the Navy (DON).

Winners of the Innovation Awards may receive an innovation fellowship, specialized training, choice of their next duty station or a cash award up to $5,000.

The SECNAV Innovation Awards Program, administered by the DON Office of Strategy and Innovation, recognizes DON military and civilian individuals or teams who have made significant innovative achievements in 2015.

"Every day, across the Department of the Navy, our talented Sailors, Marines and civilians are creating innovative solutions to our most complex challenges," said Mabus. "The accomplishments of those recognized through this year's innovation awards are truly remarkable and should serve as inspiration for the entire workforce to continue to think boldly to solve our most challenging problems."

Receiving the SECNAV Innovation Award is a significant accomplishment and a testament to the outstanding ingenuity and professionalism of the DON personnel, added Mabus.

The DON recognized innovators in program categories such as Robotics/Autonomous Systems, Data Analytics, Additive Manufacturing, Innovation Leadership, Innovation Scholar, Enlisted Innovator, Innovation Catalyst, and Outside the Box.

This year's award recipients included submissions on electronic warfare battle management software, web-based SONAR tactical decision aids, additive manufacturing for advanced liquid propulsion and other applications, underwater wireless energy transfer systems and real-time acoustic imaging.

"We received over 300 award submissions from innovators at all levels across the Navy and Marine Corps," said Scott Hargate, the awards coordinator. "The judging was extremely difficult and everyone was impressed by the amazing ideas and strong initiative in the Department of the Navy's workforce. The work of these individuals and teams represents a cultural change in the way we think through and solve challenges in our organization. Hopefully, this recognition inspires the next generation of innovators."

The Innovation Awards Program is part of a larger effort to foster idea development and incentivize innovators across the DON to creatively develop solutions and catalyze future innovation by providing cash awards and professional development opportunities.

The winners are:

Robotics/Autonomous Systems Category: Mayer Nelson, Alex Askari, Michael Knauff, Kevin Lin, Willard Morris, Robert Stark, William Gottwald IV, Crystal Lutkenhouse, Thomas Jiang, Steve Miller, Tristan Wolfe from the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division (NSWCCD)

Data Analytics Category: Philip W. Gillett and Christian M. Sarofeen from Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division (NSWCCD)

Additive Manufacturing Category: Denise Orthner, Kamal Bhakta, Nicholas Cavaliere, Ian Gallagher, Steven Orciuolo Sensor from Naval Air Systems Command

Innovation Leadership Category: Cmdr. Jeffrey L. Heames, commanding officer, USS Preble (DDG 88)

Innovation Scholar (PME) Category: Lt. Brendan Geoghegan from the Naval Postgraduate School

Innovation Scholar (Midshipmen) Category: Midshipman Annie McDonald from Navy ROTC Unit, The George Washington University

Enlisted Innovator Category: Chief Sonar Technician Benjamin A. Lebron from USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62)

Innovation Catalyst Category: Keith Archbold, Allan Weidenheimer, Jeremy Hyland, Robert Alvey, David Reed, Mitch McCrory Department of Energy (DOE), Alex Roesler DOE, John Mulder DOE, Phil Turner DOE, Lon Dawson DOE from Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division, Keyport; Naval Surface Warfare Center Philadelphia Division; and Department of Energy partners at Sandia National Laboratories

Outside the Box Category: Daniel M. Robinson from the Naval Research Laboratory

For more information on the SECNAV Innovation Awards winners and outstanding submissions, visit

Follow DON Innovation at or Twitter @DON_Innovation.

For more news, visit

Official seal of the Department of the Navy.

Official seal of the Department of the Navy.

Note: 18 United States Code, Part 1, Chapter 47, Section 1017, prohibits the use of this Department of the Navy seal by anyone other than bona fide commands and activities of the Department of the Navy and the Department of Defense where appropriate.

Secretary of the Navy Instruction 5030.4A of 17 March 1986 restricts the use of this Department of the Navy seal to official use only and to the exclusive use of the Department of the Navy and the Department of Defense.

January 6, 2003
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