This week the Partnership for Public Service announced the finalists and winners of the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals, commonly known as the Sammies. Among the finalists was the Advanced Manufacturing Office’s (AMO) Dr. Allen Hefner, who serves as a technology manager for wide bandgap (WBG) power electronics, on detail to the Department of Energy (DOE) from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
The Sammies, also described as the “Oscars” of government service, is a highly respected honor with a vigorous selection process. The award is named after Samuel J. Heyman, the founder of the Partnership for Public Service, and the award aligns with his vision of a dynamic and innovative federal workforce that meets the needs of the American people.
Dr. Hefner was nominated in the "Career Achievement" category for developing the underpinnings of power semiconductor device application that helped manufacturers vastly improve the efficiency of consumer electronics and industrial equipment. DOE estimates the improved technology efficiency over the past 20 years has led to savings of $2.7 trillion for U.S. consumers and $15.8 trillion for consumers worldwide.
Dr. Hefner continues to work closely with researchers and manufacturers to help advance power electronics technology for uses in data centers, industrial motors, and elsewhere that could lead to high-quality manufacturing jobs, lower-cost electronics, and billions of dollars in energy savings. He oversees program management of PowerAmerica – one of DOE’s five Manufacturing USA institutes – which accelerates the development and large-scale adoption of wide bandgap semiconductor technology made with silicon carbide and gallium nitride in power electronics systems. In this role, Dr. Hefner leads efforts to select which projects to fund and uses his industry expertise to guide PowerAmerica in developing strategies to advance its program goals. PowerAmerica is backed by $70 million in funding from AMO with matching funds from industry partners and the State of North Carolina.
Dr. Hefner’s federal career spans 34 years at NIST, most recently at the Physical Measurement Laboratory. His technology is used in fluorescent bulbs, air-conditioning systems, factory robots, solar and wind energy sources, and many other systems and devices. He is the author of 75 publications, holds one U.S. patent, and has received a number of best paper and technical achievement awards. He holds a B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park.
The Partnership for Public Service is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization whose mission is to help make government more effective by strengthening the civil service and the systems that support it.
EERE's Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO) supports early-stage research to advance innovation in U.S. manufacturing and promote American economic growth and energy security.
Read Dr. Hefner’s full award finalist profile here.