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Congratulations to the 2011 OAR Employee of the Year Award Winners
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/ Categories: Research Headlines, 2012

Congratulations to the 2011 OAR Employee of the Year Award Winners

Each year, NOAA’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research holds a competition to identify federal employees to receive Employee of the Year Awards. This year, four individuals and one group are honored for promoting excellence in their support of the programs and operations of NOAA Research.  

“It takes a team of federal, contractor, and university partners to produce preeminent research,” said Craig McLean, NOAA acting assistant administrator for oceanic and atmospheric research.  “The OAR Employee of the Year award provides an opportunity to celebrate the outstanding achievements of our federal employees and we celebrate their outstanding achievements.”

Congratulations to the 2011 NOAA Research Employee of the Year Award Winners:

The discovery of a new sulfur molecule during the third leg of NASA ATom mission in 2017 raises many questions about our understanding of the marine sulfur cycle, which influences oceanic cloud formation. The left side of the diagram shows two primary reaction products of DMS, SO2 and MSA, and the newly discovered molecule, HPMTF. On the right, new research suggests that on average 30 percent of DMS becomes HPMTF. This surprising discovery is prompting a scientific reassessment of the marine sulfur cycle. Credit: Patrick Veres/NOAA

Brenda Alford, management analyst for the Oversight and Policy Analysis Division, NOAA Research headquarters, Silver Spring, Md., for her outstanding leadership, customer service, and administrative and technical support in focusing and directing NOAA Research toward the full implementation of the National Environmental Policy Act.  

Weather balloons

Weather balloons

NOAA and partner scientists explain how weather balloons help measure changes in the atmosphere. Credit: Cindy Sandoval/ NOAA

Roland R. Draxler, supervisory meteorologist for the Air Resources Laboratory, Silver Spring, Md., for his outstanding contributions in the NOAA responses to the volcanic eruption of Eyjafjallajokull (in April-May, 2010), the Deepwater Horizon event (beginning April, 2010), and the Fukushima-Daiichi, Japan, nuclear power plant incident.  


Vince Garcia, information technology specialist, Office of the Chief Information Officer, NOAA Resarch headquarters, Silver Spring, Md., for his exceptional blend of technical, analytical, interpersonal, and leadership skills coupled with a can-do attitude and work ethic in providing outstanding customer service to research laboratories and the NOAA information technology community.

NOAA chemist Patrick Veres tinkers with a new mass spectrometer on May 23, 2017, prior to boxing it up and sending it off to be bolted into NASA's DC-8 flying laboratory. Somewhere out over the Pacific Ocean, the new instrument identified a previously unknown sulfur compound that could shake up our understanding of the marine sulfur cycle. Credit: Theo Stein/NOAA

Nancy N. Soreide, computer specialist and associate director for information technology at the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle, Wash., for outstanding contributions toward improving public understanding of OAR science through the effective utilization of YouTube technology.

Storm-driven sea level surge

Storm-driven sea level surge

Storm surge from Hurricane Michael pulled apart this in- ground swimming pool in Mexico Beach, Florida, along the Gulf Coast, November 2, 2018. Credit: NOAA

Scientists have long known that tiny particles of sulfur play a large role in the formation of marine clouds, like these off the coast of Baja, Mexico, which cool tropical oceans. The discovery of a novel sulfur compound by an instrument on board NASA's DC-8 flying laboratory during a 2017 research flight is prompting a reexamination of the marine sulfur cycle. Credit: Samuel R. Hall/National Center for Atmospheric Research.

NOAA Research Communications Office Leadership Team: Barry Reichenbaugh and Mary Ann Kutny, NOAA Research headquarters, Silver Spring, Md., for outstanding leadership, creativity, and exceptional customer service in communicating the value of NOAA research to internal and external audiences during a period of significantly reduced resources.

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Visit us at and join us on Facebook, Twitter and our other social media channels. 


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Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) - or "NOAA Research" - provides the research foundation for understanding the complex systems that support our planet. Working in partnership with other organizational units of the NOAA, a bureau of the Department of Commerce, NOAA Research enables better forecasts, earlier warnings for natural disasters, and a greater understanding of the Earth. Our role is to provide unbiased science to better manage the environment, nationally, and globally.


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