Homeland Security Award Columbus Scholar 2009
The Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation and Agusta Westland North America are honored to have awarded the achievements of
the 2009 $25,000 Homeland Security Award Columbus Scholar:
James J. Thomas
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Mr. Thomas is founder and past Director of the Department of Homeland Security National Visualization and Analytics Center. His responsibilities
at PNNL include establishing investment directions for Information and Computing Technology (ICT), representing ICT in and outside PNNL, leading
major technology initiatives, mentoring staff, and being a Principal Investigator on several major science programs. He has a broad working
knowledge of information technology, but specializes in the research, design, and implementation of innovative information and scientific and
analytic visualization, multimedia, and human computer interaction technologies. Recently developed technologies set a new stage for visualization
of masses of multimedia information sources.
Mr. Thomas has numerous patents and extensive publications, with several publications being widely referenced and re-printed. More recently he has
led teams in text, numerical, image, and video analysis for massive information spaces. He has received several international science awards
including "Top 100 Scientific Innovators" (Science Digest), two R&D 100 awards (1986 and 1996) presented annually for the 100 most technologically
significant products and advancements, and two Federal Laboratory Consortium Technology Transfer Awards (1989 and 1999) for innovation in
transferring research technology to industry and universities.
Mr. Thomas holds a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from Eastern Washington University and a Master of Computer Science from Washington State University.
The Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation is honored to have
had the assistance of the following distinguished individuals serving
on the 2009 Homeland Security Award Evaluation
- Stephen Cass, Senior Projects Editor, Technology Review Magazine, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Mr. Cass studied experimental physics at Trinity College Dublin before relocating to the U.S. He has worked for the nature Publishing Group,
IEEE Spectrum, Discover Magazine, and is currently working for Technology Review, published by MIT. He has written about security, privacy,
intelligence gathering and engineering design as well as aerospace and other science and technology topics. Mr. Cass is a member of the IEEE
and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronauts.
- Neill Smith, Ph.D., Senior Technical Fellow, Vehicle Control Technologies, Inc., Reston, Virginia. Dr. Smith
is responsible for the development of the VCT aero/hydrodynamic models for new and existing air and undersea vehicles, as well as maintaining
configuration management of those codes. He has 34 years of experience in the areas of aero/hydrodynamic modeling, simulation, and design of
air and undersea vehicles, including participation in over 40 wind tunnel and tow tank test programs for air and undersea vehicles. Dr. Smith
is co-author of the SimV™ family of vehicle simulation programs, which includes simulations for UUVs, UAVs, missiles, towed vehicles and
- Timothy M. Swager, Ph.D., John D. MacArthur Professor and Department Head, Department of Chemistry, Massachusetts
Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts. A native of Montana, Dr. Swager received a BS from Montana State University in 1983 and a Ph.D.
from the California Institute of Technology in 1988. After a postdoctoral appointment at MIT he was on the chemistry faculty at the University of
Pennsylvania and moved back to MIT in July of 1996 as a Professor of Chemistry. He has published over 250 peer-reviewed papers and serves on multiple
editorial, governmental and corporate scientific advisory boards. Dr. Swager was the recipient of the 2005 Homeland Security
Award in the Biological, Radiological, Nuclear field.
- Steven D. Webster, Vice President of Advanced Technology Research and Development, AgustaWestland North America (AWNA),
Reston, Virginia. Mr. Webster joined AgustaWestland North America in January 2009. He is responsible for North American Research and
Technology opportunities for both the Commercial and Department of Defense product lines. He comes to AWNA from Bell Helicopter Textron and
brings over 24 years of rotorcraft technology development experience.