The Director's Office initiated the Technical Excellence Awards to recognize exceptional and sustained individual technical excellence that has had a significant impact on a Laboratory research area. The awardees have developed pioneering technologies and have shown great creativity in their research.

2023 Technical Excellence Award Recipients


Formal portrait of Scott Coutts

Dr. Scott D. Coutts, for his creativity and leadership in developing and demonstrating novel signal processing capabilities and radar architectures and techniques, culminating in his rise to prominence in the field of high-frequency over-the-horizon radar (OTHR). Scott's expertise in OTHR is sought out by both Department of Defense programs and by allied governments and industry



Formal portrait of Todd Ulmer.

Dr. Todd G. Ulmer, for his rich knowledge of free-space laser communications (lasercom), his contributions to lasercom standards, and his commitment to transferring lasercom technology to industry in support of U.S. national defense. Ulmer has driven lasercom progress forward through four generations of systems at the Laboratory, consistently demonstrating a deep technical understanding of both lasercom theory and the state of the art of key components.



Past Technical Excellence Award Recipients


Dr. Joseph P. Campbell, for outstanding contributions and leadership in human-language technology, pioneering developments in speech processing, expertise in biometrics, innovations in machine learning, and effective technology transition to government. Campbell’s efforts have significantly impacted the nation’s intelligence, warfighting, and law-enforcement capabilities.

Dr. Brian A. Telfer, for sustained, outstanding achievements and leadership in developing radar and biosignal processing and machine learning technologies. His research and development efforts are counted among the Laboratory’s top contributions in multiple mission areas, ranging from missile defense to human health and performance.


Dr. Sumanth Kaushik, for his broad physics and engineering expertise and his leadership ability, enabling development of advanced concepts for diverse technological innovations, including long-range laser radars for measuring micro-Doppler, novel active and passive electro-optical sensors, and techniques for phasing large optical telescope arrays

Dr. Livia M. Racz, for her deep expertise in materials science, engineering, and integration to enable technical innovations in microelectronics, sensing, and communications, for advances in active smart fibers, and for her leadership in developing microsystem solutions for challenging mission requirements.


David R. Crompton, for excellence in building complex hardware systems that are critical to the development of space systems, optical payloads, and precision mechanisms, and for expertise in structural analysis and testing that enable innovative engineering solutions for ground, sea, air, and space prototype systems.

Dr. Alan J. Fenn, for innovation in developing antennas and adaptive arrays that provide revolutionary capabilities for ground-, air- and space-based radar, electronic warfare, communications, and sensing systems, and for leadership in building a world-class facility for simulating, prototyping, and testing novel antenna and electromagnetic systems at Lincoln Laboratory.


Dr. William J. Blackwell, for his wide-ranging, innovative contributions to the science and practice of environmental monitoring through the development of both flight hardware for making important atmospheric sounding measurements and novel methods for using neural networks to extract relevant information from the measured data.

David Goldfein, for outstanding contributions to the analysis and development of innovative RF systems; his deep understanding of hardware and signal processing for signals intelligence, communications, and radar technology has had significant impact on national security missions.


Dr. James K. Kuchar, for sustained leadership and technical contributions in the development, integration, and testing of air traffic control and other transportation-related systems, and for innovative work in collision avoidance and risk assessment.

Michele A. Schuman, for exceptional leadership and a wide range of contributions to the field of radio frequency satellite communications, including system design and analysis, algorithm development, and system integration and test.


Dr. Gregory D. Berthiaume, for 25 years of outstanding technical contributions to the development, integration, test, and operations of space and ground-based systems that range from the soft X-ray through the thermal infrared.

Dr. Jeffrey S. Herd, for sustained innovation of radar antennas and advanced, highly digitized phased arrays, and for his leadership in building a world-class enterprise for the development of RF technology at MIT Lincoln Laboratory.


Dr. Douglas A. Reynolds, for outstanding, original, and sustained technical contributions in automatic speaker recognition, and for his internationally recognized leadership in the application of human language technology to challenging information-extraction problems.

Dr. Daniel J. Ripin, for his strong technical contributions to the development and demonstration of critical laser technology, and for sustained leadership and innovation in building the nation's foremost high-energy laser technology development enterprise.


Dr. Daniel A. O'Connor, for his outstanding technical contributions to the field of ballistic missile defense (BMD), creativity in developing and demonstrating techniques for BMD, and leadership in initiating a major national effort in discrimination technology.

Joseph J. Scozzafava, for his leadership and creativity in developing laser communications technology, significant contributions to solving critical mechanical issues on major space payload and radar developments, and innovative work on mechanical rotary interface and electro-optical devices.


Dr. David O. Caplan, for his outstanding technical contributions to optical communications; leadership in developing advanced high-sensitivity optical transceivers for terrestrial and space-based applications; and innovations in multi-rate signaling formats and flexible free-space laser communication architectures.

Dr. Vyshnavi Suntharalingam, for her deep technical knowledge of and contributions to the field of advanced imaging technology; creativity in developing silicon-based imagers, innovative charge-coupled devices, and active pixel sensors; and leadership of projects in imager design and fabrication that have had significant impact on Laboratory systems.


Dr. Jeremy Kepner, for his leadership and vision in bringing supercomputing to Lincoln Laboratory through the establishment of LLGrid; his pivotal role in open systems for embedded computing; his creativity in developing a novel database management language and schema; and his contributions to the field of graph analytics.

Dr. Roderick R. Kunz, for his outstanding technical contributions to the team that developed the 193-nm lithography process for integrated circuit device fabrication, and for subsequent advancements in lithography, such as the world's first photolithography exposure tool and procedures for improving the durability of 193-nm lenses.


Dr. Helen H. Kim, for creativity in developing innovative radio-frequency (RF) integrated circuit capabilities that have solved difficult RF system challenges in a wide range of applications, and for her leadership in helping revitalize RF technology work at MIT Lincoln Laboratory.

Dr. Clifford J. Weinstein, for his nationally recognized technical achievements and leadership in human language technology and its applications, and specifically for his contributions in speech recognition, machine translation, automated social network analysis, speech communications in packet networks, and digital signal processing.


Dr. Richard P. Lippmann, for his nationally recognized leadership in developing cyber security tools and techniques, his contributions to the field of speech recognition, and his international leadership in neural networks and pattern classification.

Dr. Gary F. Hatke, for his contributions in the development of direction finding for radar guided missiles, ground-based and airborne signals intelligence, robust GPS navigation, counter–improvised explosive device systems, and special communications.


Dr. David J. Ebel, for his nationally recognized leadership in systems analysis to support the Department of Defense and for his use of detailed modeling, test data analysis, and a broad system perspective to provide superb analysis for air vehicle survivability, electronic warfare, and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance systems.

Dr. William D. Ross, for critical contributions in the development of advanced imaging systems with applications in wide-area persistent surveillance, remote sensing, and homeland security, and in the development of enabling video sensor, processing, and data exploitation technologies.


Dr. Tso Yee Fan, for innovation in the solid-state laser field by demonstrating the first diode-pumped Yb laser and by pioneering both the use of cryogenics for scaling solid-state lasers to high power with excellent efficiency and techniques for laser beam combining.

Dr. David R. McElroy, for sustained contributions to the Department of Defense's MILSATCOM program, for critical contributions to the nation's communications priority, and for perfecting a method to transition Lincoln Laboratory technology to industry through the use of "gold standard" test instruments.


Allen D. Pillsbury, for his innovation in the mechanical design of space-based sensors and optical communication systems, and his introduction of new technologies that demonstrate revolutionary performance gains for space systems.

Dr. Benny J. Sheeks, for his analysis of radar observations of foreign and domestic ballistic missiles, his expertise in the utilization and interpretation of real-world ballistic missile radar data, and his techniques and results that have formed a critical cornerstone for the development of the Ballistic Missile Defense System.


Dr. Don M. Boroson, for his contributions to the field of modulation and coding techniques as applied to optical communications systems.

Dr. Bernadette Johnson, for her system-level architecting, technical innovation, and prototype demonstration in multiple areas and, in particular, nontraditional problems.


Dr. Robert G. Atkins, for his leadership in developing advanced system architectures and his unique ability to develop new architectures for addressing complex, nontraditional problems.

Lawrence M. Candell, for his contribution to developing new optical and radar sensors for communications and surveillance systems.


Dr. John J. Zayhowski, for his sustained technical contributions, both research and engineering, in the area of microchip lasers for advanced sensing applications.

Dr. William S. Song, for his technical excellence in pushing the boundaries of radar systems by developing new components and processes to exploit digital technologies.


Dr. Stephen D. Weiner, for his creative insights, technical depth, and systems perspectives that have yielded significant contributions to the many phases of missile defense development.

Dr. Marilyn M. Wolfson, for her work in the application of meteorology and, in particular, convective weather forecasts to the problem of improving air traffic control at the national level.


Robert A. Bond, for his technical vision and leadership in the application of high performance embedded processing architectures to real-time digital signal processing systems.

Dr. Richard M. Heinrichs, in recognition of his individual contributions and technical leadership in the development and application of experimental laser detection and ranging systems with significant new capabilities.


James E. Evans, for his internationally recognized technical leadership in the development of wind-shear warning systems and integrated weather systems for aviation.

Stephen B. Rejto, for his technical innovation and leadership in the development of the Radar Open Systems Architecture providing common back-end hardware and software components for the Kwajalein and Millstone Hill radar systems.


Dr. Barry E. Burke, in recognition of exceptional and sustained contributions in the field of charge-coupled device imagers, resulting in significant new ground- and space-based systems for surveillance and astronomy.

Dr. James Ward, for internationally recognized technical leadership in the development and application of adaptive array processing techniques in radar and sonar systems.