2015 Director’s Awards Presented

Michael T. Rains, Director of the Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) and Northern Research Station (NRS), today presented the 2015 Director’s Awards to 10 exceptional employees furthering scientific advancement at the two research facilities. Rains praised the honorees for their impacts and contributions made at their respective posts, but lamented the fact he was forced to choose only a handful of winners from a pool of such outstanding talent.

“There can be only one winner for each award—if I could do more, I would,” Rains said from the NRS station headquarters in Newtown Square, Pa.

Each Director’s Award recognizes individuals in seven different categories: Distinguished Science, Scientific Support, Early Career Scientist, Excellence in Science and Technology, Science Delivery, Sustaining Forests and Grasslands, and Cultural Transformation. FPL employees received accolades in four of these categories:

John Considine received the Distinguished Science Award for his efforts in advancing measurement methods to understand problems affecting paper performance, spending nearly three decades working to understand and improve paper quality and properties. His contributions include developing one of the first instruments capable of testing paper and paperboard in compression, helping the United States Postal Service reduce waste in stamp printing from 40% to 15%, and investigating why machine-made paper fails at lower strength than laboratory-made sheets. Aside from his own students and the original inventors of the technique, Considine is the only scientist in the world to use the Virtual Fields Method to research paper defects.

Keith Bourne received the Scientific Support Award for his expertise in mechanical engineering and his integral role in several FPL projects over the past few years. Among other accomplishments, Bourne designed and developed measurement devices for a project funded by Shell Oil, including a new power meter and data acquisition system to measure the viscosity of biomass materials. He was also solely responsible for designing and constructing the hardware and software for the laboratory’s rainfall simulator, and is currently assisting with a project to develop an auditory termite sensing device.

Senalik_headC. Adam Senalik received the Early Career Scientist Award for his profound impact despite his relatively short time working at the laboratory. Senalik began his career at FPL in 2013 after working as a forensic engineer for a private firm. In the past two years at the laboratory, he has contributed to several projects, including analytical modeling of lightweight timber bridge decks, and evaluating the effectiveness of cutting-edge bridge inspection techniques. Senalik has also worked cooperatively with several other government agencies, including the Department of Defense and Federal Highway Administration.

Kenneth Skog received the Excellence in Science and Technology Award for both his international contributions establishing the role of wood product production and use in mitigating climate change, and his national contributions in identifying sustainable levels of forest-based biomass for use in energy production. Skog’s work has led to internationally accepted methods and software products to help countries calculate the greenhouse gas emissions that are mitigated by harvested wood products. He also led a team for the Department of Energy’s biomass supply report that estimated each U.S. county’s capacity to create biofuel and energy from forest-based biomass. The resultant database has been used by state governments, federal agencies, investors, and other organizations to evaluate a county’s natural resources for future economic development.

The NRS award recipients follow:

Yude Pan, Distinguished Science; Paula Murakami, Scientific Support; Lindsay Campbell, Early Career Scientist; Kevin T. Smith, Science Delivery; Pamela Edwards, Sustaining Forests and Grasslands; Jim Lootens-White, Cultural Transformation.