National Nuclear Security Administration

NNSS aviation team sweeps DOE aviation awards

June 22, 2017

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The Nevada National Security Site (NNSS)’s Aviation Program team members won all four categories of the Department of Energy (DOE)’s Office of Aviation Management annual awards recognition program.

NNSS’ aviation team, which works at the Remote Sensing Laboratory (RSL) offices at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, Nevada, and at Joint Base Andrews near Washington, D.C., is responsible for helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft that conduct an array of special missions, ranging from aerial surveillance for radiological threats during major events around the world to aerial monitoring for consequence management to wildland firefighting operations at NNSS. RSL’s aviators also were called on to help in an advisory capacity during the 2011 tsunami and nuclear disaster in Japan.

The Aviation Program won top honors in the following categories:

Small Aviation Program Award Winner – Nevada Field Office/NSTec Aviation

This program was judged to be the most outstanding, efficient, effective, and safest in all aspects of their flight program among all DOE Aviation Operations. The management/administration, operations, maintenance, training and safety programs were recognized as being the best in class for the DOE. Members of this team included both Federal and M&O partner team members.

The RSL-Andrews team. From left: Wendell Stadig, Donnie Schuessler, Alex Brid, Grant Ebner (in helicopter), Charles Lightfoot, and Tony Thompson.

The RSL-Nellis team. From left, Manuel Avaro, Mike Hawkins, Dan Butler, Joe Cummings, Ed Zachman (on the helicopter), Dave Carder, Sue Roberts, Jessica Thomason, Mike Toland, Sandra Hayes, Shawn Cadwell, and Dave Krausnick.

Les Winfield Federal Aviation Program Manager Winner – Les Winfield

This award was presented to the best Federal Aviation Program Manager whose primary duties involve management of a Federal Aviation Program. Les Winfield has been the Federal Aviation Program manager for the past seven years and has significantly contributed to the success of the Nevada Program by forming a true partnership with his counterparts who make up the one-team, one-mission attitude of aviation professionals who represent this program.

Tim Rourke, right, receives his award.Aviation Safety Professional Winner– Timothy Rourke

This award recognizes the best Aviation Professional in an aviation safety position. Tim Rourke has served as the Aviation Section Safety Officer for the past 10 years. Among his many contributions to the foundations of aviation safety were his efforts to achieve the Stage III certification for the International Standards for Business Aircraft standards, which are the aviation industry's equivalent of ISO 9001 standards for Aviation Safety Program management.

Aviation Professional/Operational Support Winner – Jessica Thomason

Jessica ThomasonThis award is presented to the best Aviation Professional in an operational or support position. Jessica Thomason has served as the Senior Emergency Response and Operations Specialist for the past 12 years and has done an outstanding job of administering the operational and reporting requirements for this program that have been consistently recognized as a model for other DOE operations.

“This tremendous accomplishment signifies a total-team achievement, which recognizes each aspect of NNSS’ Aviation Program and the professionals who work tirelessly every day. They ensure that the program’s stewardship remains in a band of excellence that is among the best of the best,” said Jim Holt, president of National Security Technologies, the M&O partner that runs NNSS.

“Such an accomplishment is rare in the aviation industry and is also something that does not come easy. Aviation is an industry that entrusts the lives of people in their work, and this trust demands a level of technical expertise, skills and abilities that must be applied in the most professional manner. We are all exceptionally proud and gratified that NNSS has this team of dedicated professionals who serve with this level of excellence and provide critical aviation support to our national security mission in a vigilant and diligent manner,” said Steve Lawrence, manager of the Nevada Field Office.

Winners in all categories are automatically submitted for consideration at the annual General Services Administration Federal-level Aviation Program Awards competition.