2008 Laboratory Director of the Year Northeast

The 138-year history of the Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Division Newport is steeped in the tradition of providing technology for the U.S. Navy’s fleet. From its modest beginnings of developing torpedoes and experimenting with undersea acoustics, Division Newport has expanded to become the Navy’s full-spectrum research, development, test and evaluation engineering and fleet support center for submarine warfare systems, autonomous underwater systems, offensive/defensive submarine weapons systems, and surface ship sonar systems associated with undersea warfare. Under the senior leadership of Captain Michael Byman, USN, Commander Division Newport; Dr. Paul Lefebvre, Division Newport Technical Director; and Donald Aker, Division Newport Deputy Technical Director, technology transfer continues to be a major component to the overall science and technology thrust at the facility. For example, they championed the creation of the Technology Partnership Enterprise Office (TPEO) in 2006. A goal of TPEO was to seek out opportunities and establish the appropriate partnership and business agreements to bring new and beneficial technology to the fleet. Since its establishment, TPEO has continued to meet that goal, with the signing of 22 Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs) and amendments totaling $1.8 million. Division Newport’s leadership has made a special effort to reach out to the medical community, realizing that many of the technologies under development may have applications in health care and medical research. As a result, the groundbreaking digital image enhancement (DIE) technology has been successfully transferred and commercialized under a patent license agreement with Advanced Image Enhancement, Inc. Originally used to help sailors identify mines in a cluttered underwater environment, DIE uses mathematical functions called wavelets to help doctors detect tissue anomalies and interpret digital mammograms. With DIE in place at hospitals and clinics across the nation, doctors will be able to refine and enhance regions of concern within mammography images to improve the detection of cancer in its early stages. The Division Newport leadership team’s staunch support of technology transfer is also evident in their holistic and far-reaching approach to fostering an environment rich in technology transfer opportunities. A prime example of this is their active participation in many internal technical talent pool development initiatives. These initiatives focus on the personal and collective growth of Division Newport scientists and engineers to make their careers more rewarding and to ensure that Division Newport is capable of fulfilling its undersea warfare mission. Initiatives include diversity summits, career enhancement opportunities, electronic communication tools, and the development of a Career Path Planning Guide.
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