THE ENGINEERING EDGE
EDGEWOOD CHEMICAL BIOLOGICAL CENTER
Volume 6, Issue 2
Young Professionals in the Engineering Workforce
ECBC Engineers and Scientists Called Upon to Test Chemical Detector for MTA’s Baltimore Transit System pg.8
ADM’s 3-D and Fabrication Skills Play Crucial Role in Design and Deployment of FDHS pg.10
To access the electronic version of this newsletter, visit: http://www.ecbc.army.mil/news/ENG/ APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE
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INSIDE THIS MONTH’S ISSUE: pg.3|Message from the Acting Director pg.3|Division Chief Roundtable Leads Engineering Strategy into 2014 pg.4|Young Professionals in the Engineering Workforce pg.8|ECBC Engineers and Scientists Called Upon to Test Chemical Detector for MTA’s Baltimore Transit System pg.10|ADM’s 3-D and Fabrication Skills Play Crucial Role in Design and Deployment of FDHS pg.10|Business Development Training Sessions Provide “BD 101” Preparation for Engineering Personnel pg.11|Employee Spotlight: Christine Pan pg.12|A Fond Farewell: ECBC Toasts AJay Thornton at Retirement Luncheon
Congratulations to Recipients of Silver Quill Award Three members of the Engineering Directorate, Dr. John R. Kennedy, Cynthia Learn, and Mary (Trish) Weiss, received the Silver Quill Award for an article titled “No Warfighter Left Behind” that was published in the winter 2013 edition of Army Chemical Review. This article highlighted the importance of a properly-fitted protective mask, how protective masks are fitted, and how the M40 Mask Hard-to-Fit Team can help Warfighters who have difficulty being properly fitted with a protective mask. The award certificates were signed by Brigadier General Peggy C. Combs, USA, Chief of Chemical and Commandant, U.S. Army Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear School. To read the article, please go to http://chemical.epubxp. com/t/15891. This is not the first time that Engineering Directorate members have been honored with the Silver Quill Award. Kennedy, Weiss, and James K. Church received the Silver Quill Award in 2013 for an article that was published in the winter 2012 edition of Army Chemical Review entitled, “Solving the Canister Conundrum: If It Isn’t Authorized for the M40 Series Protective
Mask, Don’t Use It.” This article highlighted the differences between commercial and military filter canisters, and the importance of using only those authorized military canisters with a military mask. The article addressed concerns of unauthorized “lookalike” commercial filter canisters being used with the M40 series protective mask. To view this article, please go to http:// chemical.epubxp.com/i/98296. The Silver Quill Award is sponsored by the U.S. Army Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear School. It is awarded to persons who have produced articles that were published in Army Chemical Review. This publication presents professional information about Chemical Corps functions related to chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, smoke, flame, and civil support operations. The objectives of Army Chemical Review are to inform, motivate, increase knowledge, improve performance, and provide a forum for the exchange of ideas. The criteria for acceptance in this journal are stringent, and only a limited number of articles submitted are accepted for publication.
SharePoint Tip: Uploading Revised or Updated Documents Do you have a document that is updated regularly? Avoid having to update all links to the document by replacing it instead of uploading a new, renamed version. Simply give the updated document the same name as the one currently on your SharePoint site, and then upload it. The updated document will automatically replace the old version.
Ask a Tech Tip: Fostering the Next Generation of Chemists This newsletter was published through the Balanced Scorecard. For article suggestions, questions or comments please contact Ed Bowen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mike Kauzlarich, of the Pyrotechnics and Explosives Branch, reveals how the techniques and lessons learned in labs can help you solve your household problems. Submit a question to him at usarmy.APG.email@example.com. Our very cold winter has us trapped inside the house. Here’s an experiment you can do with the kids to get them interested in chemistry and foster the next generation of chemists! Check your pockets (and the living room sofa cushions) for some dirty pennies. In a glass or ceramic bowl (do not use a metal bowl), mix 1/4 cup of white distilled vinegar and 1 teaspoon of salt. Carefully dip one half of the penny in the solution for about 10-15 seconds. It should become shiny again. You can explain to your kids that the solution reacted with the penny to remove the copper oxide. Let’s teach our children that science is fun! Bonus: Your kids will think you’re a genius and worthy of the Nobel Prize. APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE
THE ENGINEERING EDGE |February 2014| 3
Message from the Acting Director Dear Colleagues, It is an honor to be serving the Engineering Directorate as the Acting Director. ECBC has been a home to me for 33 years. I came to work here right out of college and have served in various positions in the Engineering Front Office since 1995. I want to take this time to share with you my goals and expectations, as well as what you can expect of me and the Front Office during the transition period. It is a priority to make this transition as seamless as possible. The most notable change is that Jim Duhala will be relocating to the position of Acting Associate Director for Business Management and Systems Engineering. Many of the functions previously performed by me will be shifting to Jim. Let me start by saying that, in these times of budget reductions, the Directorate is financially sound. Ajay Thornton left the Directorate in good shape and put initiatives in place for our continuous improvement. We plan to continue those initiatives. These initiatives have created a viable organization for people to not just work here, but have a career here; to be a better place to work where you want to work; with opportunities for everyone to shape the future of the organization, from young professionals and junior employees, to managers and senior staff. In this new role, my focus will change from looking inward at the Directorate to looking outward toward our customers, stakeholders, and the Chemical Biological Defense Program leadership. That means working with our higher headquarters, customers and you to ensure we are a viable and critical asset to the Warfighter and the nation, now and for years to come. Face time with customers, stakeholders and the Pentagon will be essential for me to build and foster relationships and communicate the value of the work that you accomplish here at the Center. Communication is another priority, both from the Front Office and across the Directorate. I have always had an “open door” policy, so feel free to continue to come to me with your questions, ideas and feedback. I will keep providing “State of the Directorate” talks at the supervisor offsite meetings and Division Chief roundtables. Additionally, we want to reinstate the Town Hall meetings for the general workforce, with the first one being planned within the next three months. There will also be a Town Hall for the Rock Island team, as well as one for our matrixed employees. Having open lines of communication will help us tackle some outstanding issues facing the Directorate. One issue we will work in the coming months is the realignment of personnel from areas with limited funding to areas with plenty of funding, but not enough staff to do the work. Another issue we are closely monitoring is the modernizing of our laboratories and surety facilities. Addressing these issues thoughtfully and efficiently will ensure that our facilities meet the safety and technology requirements of the work you do and that your skills and talents will be best used to maximize our capabilities. I ask that you be patient and flexible during this time period. I also ask that you be innovative in all that you do. Continue to give your customers what they expect, but always with an innovative edge. In turn, I will listen to your input, share information with you frequently and be a champion for the important work that you do for the Army in my interactions with customers and leadership. The Center is led by outstanding leaders who are in constant contact with our chain of command and our primary customers. I am confident that ECBC will be sustained through the current discussions of cuts and will emerge as an even more critical asset to our nation. I thank you in advance for your patience and flexibility during this transition period, as well as for your hard work and support as we achieve the Directorate’s mission in the coming year. Sincerely, Bill Klein
Division Chief Roundtable Leads Engineering Strategy into 2014 The first Engineering Directorate Division Chief Roundtable of the year was held on Jan. 23 in the Berger Auditorium, with Rock Island personnel joining via video teleconference. The meeting began with a brief “State of the Directorate” report by Bill Klein.
to share best practices that may prove applicable to the rest of the Directorate. Schlein’s RPM demonstration furthers Engineering’s efforts to achieve its vision of being“The First Stop for Chemical and Biological Defense Solutions.”
Mark Schlein, Chief of Advanced Design and Manufacturing, provided the main presentation on Real Time Project Manager (RPM). RPM is an integrated management tool for project leaders to better organize, plan, control and execute project activities, expenses and resourcing. Schlein provided a background on the tool and took the Division Chiefs through a live demonstration of some of its capabilities.The Roundtable provides a forum for Division Chiefs
Updates on the Directorate’s Business Development and Human Capital Management initiatives were also provided during the Roundtable. The meeting ended with a brief reminder of the upcoming Division Chief and Branch Chief Offsite, which took place on Tuesday, Feb. 18.
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YOUNG PROFESSIONALS IN THE
Young professionals (age 30 and under) make up 13 percent of the Engineering Directorate’s workforce. Some of Directorate’s young engineers have shared what attracted them to working at ECBC, what they like most about working here, and what they think the Center can do to retain young talent.
What is your current role in the Engineering Directorate?
28, Engineer, Advanced Technology Demonstration (ATD) Branch, Detection and Decontamination Engineering Division
29, Chief Systems Engineer, Joint Program Manager-Radiological and Nuclear Defense
26, Chemical Engineer, Safehaven Branch, Engineering Support Division
26, Mechanical Engineer, Test Reliability Evaluation Branch, Engineering Test Division
29, Systems Engineer, Design Engineering and Test Facility, ECBC-Rock Island
Brown: My primary responsibility is supporting the technical management of my Branch’s ATD programs. Major duties have included coordinating completion of project documentation, maintaining project schedules, managing extended user evaluations efforts, new equipment training and logistics planning and execution. Hower: I am matrixed to the newest JPM in the Joint Program Executive Office-Radiological and Nuclear Defense as their Chief Systems Engineer. In my daily job I help frame the technical strategy for acquisition programs. When people hear ‘acquisition,’ they tend to think of the infamous wall chart – and I see their eyes glaze over! But my job is really a lot of fun. I get to work with exceptionally smart people from very different backgrounds crossing every service, and even from multiple allied countries. I help them define the new capabilities that they need and turn those needs into real materiel solutions. Mihok: I am a Chemical Engineer in the Safehaven Branch, responsible for assisting our branch chief with program management tasks, including budget tracking, purchases and updating our customer on status of the program. I am also responsible for executing in-place filter certification testing and surveillance testing efforts for Branch customers. O’Neill: I have served as the technical lead for several reliability tests and production verification tests for motion detection systems and environmental control units. Test, Reliability and Evaluation Branch (TREB) is one of the leading reliability analysis teams, and I have attended classes on several software packages to continue to offer qualified support in the field of reliability. I also control the logistics for supporting the fielding of two early detection systems and have supported the training of these systems on several trips. Finally, I have been the technical lead on several static vapor challenge tests where collective protection systems are exposed to a vapor simulant to determine its protective ability for the Soldier. Rauch: I provide engineering support to PM-Sets, Kits, Outfits and Tools (PM-SKOT) for their Diving and Boats and Motors missions. My responsibilities include development of documentation to support acquisition, testing, and full material release of several systems, including the Underwater Construction Set (UCS), Deep Sea Set (DSS), and Family of Boats and Motors (FoBaM), among others.
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THE ENGINEERING EDGE |February 2014| 5
ENGINEERING WORKFORCE When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
What is one of the most exciting projects you have worked on at ECBC?
Brown: My initial aspirations were to be either a Major League Baseball player or a firefighter. Once I started focusing on what I was really good at, I realized engineering would be the best fit for me.
Brown: The newest project I have worked on involves the training and fielding of different chemical defense equipment to the National Guard Civil Support Teams (CST). This project has allowed me to grow my skillset as a new equipment trainer, and also interact with a group of users that I had no previous experience with. I have enjoyed being able to travel to different CST units around the country, and take part in providing them new tools that assist them in doing their jobs.
Hower: I wanted to be an astrophysicist. O’Neill: Initially I wanted to be an actuary. I was fascinated with using numbers to determine risk. As I grew older, I wanted to be a film major. Eventually, I compromised between the math and the creativity and settled on becoming an engineer, where I can use numbers to solve problems in new and creative ways. Rauch: As a child I enjoyed building things with Legos and blocks, so I always thought I would become an architect. What inspired you to have a career in STEM? Brown: I was always good at math and science, and I asked a lot of questions and wondered why things were a certain way. A career in engineering has allowed me to focus my education and sense of wonder into something that is practical and meaningful. Hower: The way my brain is wired, there was no doubt that the STEM field would be where I made my home. Mihok: I enjoyed math and science throughout my high school years and took Advanced Placement classes in both fields. I decided to focus on that passion and continue that course of study into college. O’Neill: I have always enjoyed the exploration of problems and using logic and reasoning to solve them. Rauch: I’ve always had a general interest in math and science. I was inspired to have a career in engineering after getting my foot in the door with ECBC as a high school student in a science and engineering apprenticeship program. What attracted you to working at ECBC? Brown: I never really envisioned working for the government or Department of Defense, but always had respect for the military and what our Warfighters sacrifice. I first encountered ECBC at a job fair at Virginia Tech. After interviewing with several different teams across the Center, I was really impressed with the vast amount of work that ECBC is involved in. I decided to join the ATD Branch because it offered me the opportunity to gain a unique experience and interact with professionals across the acquisition lifecycle. Hower: While in college I had the opportunity to work in several research laboratories. Based on that experience, a government position was attractive to me because I did not want my efforts to be limited by the drive for profit, as is the case in industry. Mihok: My father was in the Air Force for 26 years and I grew up in a military family. I knew working as a civilian would afford me great opportunities, and after interviewing at ECBC I was very excited about my position and knew I would truly enjoy my work. O’Neill: While at Penn State, I did my senior capstone project with ADM and became familiar with ECBC through that. At the conclusion of the project I interviewed with several teams on post, but accepted a position on Do Nguyen’s team because of his work ethic and the balance between hands-on and desk work. I have enjoyed doing my part to help the Warfighter.
Hower: The experience that stands out for me as the most exciting was working on the protective mask program for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. That program took me from coast-to-coast and across the pond, everywhere from raw rubber processing plants to the Lockheed Martin aircraft production line. We launched our gear out of planes in France, dropped airmen into pools on parachute lines in Florida, and tested with live agent at Dugway. My most favorite memory was the week I spent in Pax River actually hanging out on the jets, chatting with fighter pilots while we ran our gear through the paces in running cockpits. O’Neill: I performed some risk mitigation leakage testing of some environmental control units for the JECP program on APG North. The test was a challenge because it involved using our test equipment in a new and innovative way. However, with excellent support from coworkers David King and John Baranoski, we were able to successfully complete testing and provide useful data to the customer. Collaborating with Aberdeen Test Center added to the experience and forged new working relationships that have led to additional work for our team. Rauch: I am currently working on the UCS in support of PM-SKOT’s diving mission. This UCS is a necessary system to support Army engineer divers Mission Essential Task List (METL) for maritime operations. My role is to help identify the tools and equipment necessary to meet the Soldiers’ needs and to assist in developing an appropriate storage solution that is transportable and easy to use. As a young professional, what do you like most about working at ECBC? Brown: I enjoy the fact that there are many other young professionals at ECBC that I can relate to. Hower: The breadth of opportunities that we have within our organization. ECBC is very unique – there are things we do here that no one else in the world does. And our leadership seems to actively want its people to expand their horizons by pursuing different experiences, rather than limiting themselves to one area. It’s a great combination. Mihok: Here I have the opportunity to experience many different career areas like Engineering and Program Management. Another benefit is a flexible work schedule. Rauch: Working at ECBC has allowed me to be an integral part of systems development from its inception, working with end users on their requirements documents, to its full material release and its fielding.
Rauch: The opportunities presented and the great people I worked with during my apprenticeship solidified my interest in ECBC and government work. CONTINUES TO PAGE 6 APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE
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YOUNG PROFESSIONALS IN THE ENGINEERING WORKFORCE What do you think ECBC could do to foster young professionals or retain young talent?
What do you feel has been your biggest success in your career so far?
Brown: Offering leadership opportunities, opportunities for growth, and opportunities for continuing education and training are all important to encouraging young professionals. I believe it is important for ECBC to continue to place importance and continually support these types of opportunities.
Brown: My biggest success in my career so far is in interacting with others and building a vast network of professionals in the chemical and biological defense community.
Hower: Continue to support the transition to flexible work schedules. O’Neill: I would really appreciate more opportunities to attend academic conferences to expand both my and our team’s experience and knowledge base. I understand the financial considerations, but it would help us stay fresh and relevant in science and technology and that is important. Rauch: I think young professionals can be retained by giving them the opportunity to have a direct impact on a system or program. While acting in a supporting role can have significant learning benefits, the ability to see your ideas and creativity come to fruition is very fulfilling and provides a young professional with a sense of accomplishment that will keep them engaged. What do you feel is most important to young professionals in their early career?
Hower: I am beginning to enter the stage of my career where my experiences on previous teams are starting to connect, and I no longer feel as if I’m starting at zero when I move to a new position. I am young, but this gives me confidence that I am growing. I am more directly able to contribute to the success of my teams and to our end mission, which always feels good. I like to keep this in mind anytime I have a rough day. O’Neill: I have had several technical successes, but the most rewarding experience is working with the students at Bohemia Manor High School. I serve as the ECBC representative and team mentor for their robotics teams. The students have far exceeded my expectations with their willingness to learn and dedication to solving engineering problems. The team has qualified for the state competition for the second year in a row. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with them and look to the day when they join the workforce as young engineers themselves.
Brown: I believe the most important thing for young professionals in their early career is to be challenged and given the opportunity to portray leadership abilities. Having these types of opportunities is the best way to build character, confidence and the right skillset early on for a young professional.
Rauch: As a member of the IPT for PM-SKOTs Boats and Motors missions, we were responsible for acquiring the first inflatable watercraft that was Berry Amendment Compliant (made in America from American materials). This procurement set a precedent that is now being followed by other services such as the Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force.
Hower: For me, the opportunity to be continually challenged and to expand my horizons has been critical.
What has been your biggest “change of mind” during your career so far?
Mihok: Having a mentor is invaluable because you have someone who can explain to you how the Center functions and also teach you valuable insight for performing your job as expected.
Hower: Fresh out of college, my focus at work was always on doing the absolute best job I could on my specific team or on my specific project. Now that I have had the opportunity to move around through several matrixed positions, and also based on my experience in the Leadership Cohort, I’ve changed my mind regarding what my job is. I still want to do the absolute best that I can within my position, but I also see what I do as fitting into the bigger organizational picture. So now when I think of how I can best do my job, my perspective is different, and I like to think that I’m more capable as a result.
O’Neill: Opportunities for growth and more responsibility are vital for young professionals. From my experience young professionals are eager to showcase their newly-developed talents and do their part to contribute to the overall mission. New responsibilities and challenges contribute to a young professional’s sense of purpose. Rauch: A job assignment of interest can make day-to-day tasks more fulfilling and the work days seem shorter. Having a group of people that you can relate to will make you more comfortable at work and can even extend to good friends outside of work. What do you think more experienced colleagues should know or keep in mind about working with young professionals?
Mihok: Accepting a position with the Safehaven Branch was a huge career change and change of mind. I left an environment where I was happy for a branch that works on a classified program and provides everyday challenges. These challenges have helped me improve myself and become a better engineer and employee.
Brown: Young professionals at ECBC are willing to take on challenges and continue to learn new things. It is important for our more experienced colleagues to understand this and to mentor and challenge younger employees to succeed. O’Neill: Young professionals can learn so much from mentors and their wealth of experiences. However, seasoned colleagues can also learn from the fresh perspective that younger workers bring to projects. The inexperience can sometimes shed light on problems in new and innovative ways.
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THE ENGINEERING EDGE |February 2014| 7
Where do you see your career headed in the next five years?
Brown: I envision I will still be involved in the defense acquisition community in the next five years. I hope to continue to learn and take on new leadership challenges along the way.
Management and Program Analyst, answers some question about hiring and retaining young professionals.
Hower: I hope to be in a position where I have the opportunity to mentor. That has been one of the most enjoyable challenges I’ve experienced so far, and it has been one of the best ways for me to learn new and better ways to do my job on a daily basis.
What are benefits of working for ECBC Engineering for young professionals?
Mihok: I plan to continue working for the Safehaven Branch for the foreseeable future. My job in this Branch provides me stimulating work, varied experiences and a flexible work schedule. Most importantly, I work with great people who help me learn and improve myself. O’Neill: I hope to continue gaining expertise in the field of reliability and possibly use big data to improve reliability analysis. Rauch: I enjoy the opportunities that I have in my current position and can see myself maintaining a similar role for the next five years. What are your hobbies/activities outside of work? Brown: I enjoy anything involving music. I attend a large number of live concerts every year, and also enjoy strumming on my guitars in my free time. I’m also a pretty big sports fan and love watching and attending sporting events with friends and family. Hower: I run a charitable organization called Teddy Bear Tins, which provides donations to needy families at hospitals, and I support another program for community outreach at my church. I also love doing DIY home renovations with my husband and am starting to expand outdoors into foodscaping. I have a three-year-old son, so it is difficult to find time for much else at the moment! Mihok: I love spending time with my four nieces! I enjoy baking and cake decorating. I also like running and completed a half marathon last April. O’Neill: I enjoy pursuing DIY projects and spending time programming and working with big data and statistical learning. I also enjoy running and playing trivia, bocce and kickball teams with my friends. Rauch: My wife and I have a two-year-old daughter who occupies most of our time! I also enjoy playing softball in the summer and watch the Iowa Hawkeyes during football and basketball season.
The main benefit for young professionals is the chance to gain experience and knowledge by working with seasoned engineers. Another benefit is that those who were hired as interns received a recruitment bonus. As an intern, you will non-competitively move to the next grade each year until you reach your full performance level of GS-12. What does ECBC do to foster young professionals and retain young talent? ECBC provides incentives such as development opportunities and interaction with different departments on projects that ultimately protect the Warfighter. There are also rotational programs to help young engineers find their niche. What do you feel is most important to young professionals in their early career? Keeping their interest in assignments is very important. They graduate from school with the vision to accomplish something meaningful, and fostering that feeling is important. They are also looking for growth opportunities to move up in their careers. What do you think more experienced colleagues should know or keep in mind about working with young professionals? Seasoned professionals should keep in mind that the young professionals are not committed to staying in one position. They look for positions that allow growth and upward mobility. Young engineers are quick learners and eager to provide their opinions from the beginning.
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ECBC Engineers and Scientists
Called Upon to Test Chemical Detector for MTA’s Baltimore Transit System
Credit: ECBC PAO. An environmental chamber provides a controlled and stable test setup for chemical feeds that could be used in a “plug-and-play” manner for future detector tests.
n Dec. 11, 2013, representatives from Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) visited ECBC to observe test setup and operation of a chemical detector system. The system will be used for the detection of toxic industrial chemicals and chemical warfare agents in Baltimore’s transit system. During this visit, members of the Engineering Directorate’s Detection Engineering Branch provided an overview of the test setup, detector operations, confidence check procedures and the results of testing to date. ECBC has been funded by Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Health Affairs (OHA) Chemical Defense Program to test the detector against various toxic industrial chemicals, interferents and chemical warfare agents for the MTA. MTA is planning to install the detector in the Baltimore transit system in late 2014 or early 2015. The performance specifications for the commercial chemical vapor detector were developed by DHS/OHA in support of a grant issued by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to a few major metropolitan cities for the purpose of purchasing chemical detectors. ECBC developed the test methodologies and standardized test plan to meet those specifications. “We were approached by DHS to participate in the testing on a recommendation from Army Materiel
Systems Analysis Activity (AMSAA), who has partnered with DHS in the past and who is in our Army network,” said Nichole Mortin, chemical engineer with the Detection Engineering Branch. “They recommended us to DHS for the testing because we have extensive expertise with chemical detector testing, and we developed the standardized test plan.” The strategic purpose for this laboratory test and evaluation is for MTA to have full awareness of the detectors’ capabilities and limitations in order to determine how the MTA and local first responders will respond to a chemical threat. Often times, detector test and evaluation are used purely for performance evaluation of the technology. Although performance evaluation is important, applying the data to response planning is actually just as important. For example, detectors evaluated to have poor sensitivity to chemical threat agents (e.g., nerve, mustard, hydrogen cyanide) while exposed to common interferents (e.g., cleaning agents, paints) should inform users to avoid using such products in the venue. In adjudicating whether an activated alarm is false or true, alarm adjudication checks should then include such products.
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THE ENGINEERING EDGE |February 2014| 9 The original test plan was written using the Sensor Nodes Inform and Facilitate Fast Emergency Response (SNIFFER) chemical detection system. ECBC will use the standard test methodology piloted on the SNIFFER to test the SAFESITE Sentry™ detector. It is also confirmation of the quality of customer service ECBC engineers and scientists provide to their customers. “When we finished the original SNIFFER pilot testing for DHS, we handed them the standard test methodology,” said Kerrin Dame, physical scientist with the Detection Engineering Branch. “They could have gone to anyone for the Baltimore testing, but they chose to come back to us. That is a big kudos for the ECBC team. If you work hard for the customer, give 110 percent and do a great job, you will get repeat business.” The testing is a collaborative effort between the Detection Engineering Branch, Protective Factor and Toxic Chambers Branch, and Research & Technology (R&T) Directorate’s Chemical, Biological, and Radiation Filtration Branch. The R&T Directorate’s laboratory facility was used and personnel from both Directorates served as scientists on the program. They were also partners on the SNIFFER test. “DHS was very happy with the initial SNIFFER test results, so we were pleased to work with the same group in R&T for the Baltimore test,” said Dame. Although DHS is funding the program, the MTA is the main customer and the end user of the detector. It is important that ECBC stay in close contact with MTA representatives to provide support and answer questions as MTA builds their concept of operations (CONOPs) plan. The CONOPs is what first responders will use to react to a chemical agent threat. “The testing is only part of the whole detection system for Baltimore,” said Dame. “There are several things occurring with the pilot program for the city, from determining the CONOPs for using the detector, to integrating it into their subway system, to developing air flow and monitoring simulations for their subway stations.”
Baltimore is the first transit city to go through the test program. The SAFESITE Sentry™ detector will be integrated into their overall response system, which includes other detectors, cameras, and communications systems. It is designed to detect chemical agents and toxic industrial chemicals, as well as differentiate them from common interferent chemicals like floor wax, cleaners and paint fumes. Since there can be false-positive alarms for some interferent chemicals (such as cleaners), part of the test process is to determine the expected response for common chemicals. “For example, the schedule might be that they clean the station on Tuesday, and the detector may alarm to those cleaning products,” said Mortin. “For the MTA, knowing what kinds of chemicals may be present in their normal, everyday environment and the anticipated detector responses should be indicated in the CONOPs to prevent responses to false positive alarms.” Testing began in December and is expected to last five months. “We are planning to have the testing completed by May, and to provide the customer the data and report over the summer, and they may be installing the system in the fall or in early 2015,” said Dame. The test setup has a flexible design, so this type of testing could be performed or replicated for other customers. “We developed a set of test procedures and a test setup that would allow various chemical detectors to be plugged into the system,” said Mortin. “If another city were to come to ECBC for a similar test, then we would just integrate their detector into our system. This ‘plug-and-play’ benefit was an expectation when we designed it.” Mortin feels fortunate to be working on this project as a young professional. “I feel very lucky to be working on projects that are new, interesting and high-profile,” she said. “Getting to know the customer, meeting people who are using the system that we fielded, and seeing how other government organizations work together are huge benefits of this type of project.”
Credit: ECBC PAO. Eric Bruni from R&T’s CBR Filtration Branch performs confidence check procedures for the detector prior to testing. APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE
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ADM’s 3-D and Fabrication Skills Play Crucial Role in Design and Deployment of FDHS The Field Deployable Hydrolysis System (FDHS) is a transportable, high throughput, neutralization system designed to neutralize bulk amounts of known chemical warfare agents and their precursors into compounds not usable as chemical weapons. In December 2012, the Department of Defense (DoD) identified a capability gap in chemical agent disposal operations and sought a solution that would meet mission critical needs. Through collaborative efforts with the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical and Biological Defense (JPEO-CBD) and the Defense Threat Agency (DTRA), the Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC) led the FDHS effort through lifecycle development. From the design and fabrication to engineering and test evaluation of the system, ECBC Engineering Directorate’s Advanced Design and Manufacturing (ADM) Division played a crucial role supporting the Chemical Biological Application and Risk Reduction (CBARR) Business Unit in the manufacturing of the final product and deployment analysis. During the design phase, ADM showcased its unique rapid prototyping capabilities to fabricate custom components for CBARR, including models of the skid layout and ancillary equipment. ADM took the final design specifications to produce a three-dimensional (3-D) model which was used to produce the blueprints for the final product. When the blueprints were finalized, ADM used a combination of commercial off-the shelf technology and custom fabricated components to build three FDHS systems. Once it was determined that the FDHS would be deployed on a maritime platform, ADM collaborated with Army Materiel Systems Analysis Activity (AMSAA) to conduct a shipboard deployment analysis and develop modifications to the FDHS and process tanks to mitigate areas of stress encountered in a shipboard application. ADM mechanical engineer Elan Kazam talks about the Division’s contributions to this historical international mission. What role did ADM play during the design phase of the FDHS? At what point was the Division brought into the process? “ADM was brought into the process during concept development to provide engineering support for the project. As part of the mechanical and electrical design team for the FDHS, our main role was turning the two-dimensional (2-D), conceptual hydrolysis process into a structurally sound, useable 3-D system. We also aided in the identification of suitable mechanical and electrical components, developing shop-level engineering integration drawings for system fabrication, designing and fabricating mounting components and performing finite element analysis, or FEA, to validate the design.” Which in-house capabilities did ADM provide to the ECBC team? “We provided every capability we have to offer. Obviously this includes our 3-D design, 2-D drafting, FEA and electrical systems design capabilities, but we also provided reverse engineering services used to scan in 3-D models of large or complicated items like the 2,200-gallon titanium reactor. Engineers also provided extensive welding, fabrication and integration services, both on and offsite, logistics services by receiving and storing all system components, and modeling and animation services by creating animations, graphics and scale models for briefs and trainings – even one that was featured on the 5 o’clock news.”
What was the collaboration like across Directorates? “From our perspective, it went as smoothly as possible. Having clearly defined roles and daily progress meetings with all pertinent ECBC team members was a huge factor in this. Also, due to the significance of this project, everyone across all directorates was willing and eager to work to create the best product possible.” What were some of the biggest challenges? “The rapid turnaround was probably the biggest challenge. Things could change from day to day, and that meant we had to be ready to adapt our models at a moment’s notice. There was also a need to make sure the design was as robust as possible in order to pass all testing activities on the first go-around because there wouldn’t be much time to make significant changes to the system.” Are there any lessons learned or key takeaways from this experience? “As a design engineer, I really appreciated the ability to work so closely with the end user. Knowing their preferred way of performing operations was critical to providing a system that is user-friendly and can be operated safely and efficiently. It’s also extremely fulfilling for our team to have worked on a project so directly involved in ridding the world of some of the most vile, dangerous substances on Earth.”
Business Development Training Sessions Provide “BD 101” Preparation for Engineering Personnel The Engineering Directorate’s business development (BD) training kicked off on Jan. 30. Branch Chief sessions will be completed by April, and the training will be open to the general workforce by May. Within the next year-and-a-half, all of the Directorate’s personnel will have completed the training. Unlike previous employee training sessions, the BD training is “owned and operated” by the Engineering workforce. This is a “BD 101”-style instruction that provides a high-level overview of the Directorate’s BD plan and the three areas of business development: core work, adjacent work, and white space (new business). Genna Rowe, Business Operations Coordinator, Strategic Planning and Business Operations Branch, is leading the
BD training sessions. “Since the Directorate’s work is nearly one hundred percent customer funded, it is important for everyone to understand the current marketplace and their role in bringing in and cultivating business opportunities,” said Rowe. The session covers the methods of pursuing business opportunities, such as verbal and nonverbal communication, preparation for business meetings, customer service skills and how to approach new business prospects. A marketing toolkit (including website and promotional brochures) is provided. Trainees will also participate in exercises where they will act out various BD and customer scenarios.
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THE ENGINEERING EDGE |February 2014| 11
This monthâ€™s Engineering Edge Employee Spotlight is on Christine Pan, chemical engineer, young professional and world traveler. What is your current role in the Engineering Directorate? I am a systems engineer for the Obscuration and Nonlethal Engineering Branch. My primary customer is the Program Manager Close Combat Systems (PM CCS), located at Picatinny Arsenal, N.J. I assist in the production and sustainment of smoke and incendiary grenades. I also provide configuration management services for the Technical Data Packages (TDPs) of several munitions through engineering change proposals (ECPs), TDP certifications and weekly meetings. In addition, I draft test plans for smoke and incendiary grenade product improvements. I am currently working on a test plan to compare several visual obscurant grenade candidates during a test that will be conducted here at ECBC this spring. What inspired you to have a career in STEM? I always gravitated towards math. It is one of those subjects that is universal and has objectivity. Chemistry and biology really clicked with me in high school. What attracted you to working at ECBC? My job interview with my current coworkers, Kevin Fritz and Paul Szatmary, really sold ECBC for me. It was spring semester of my senior year at Delaware and I had interviewed with a dozen companies. Most interviews were intimidating; I even had to take a test for one of them! I felt comfortable at my interview with Kevin and Paul. I specifically remember Paul asked me what my hobbies were and it dawned on me that no other interviewer had asked me about me. I quickly learned that the environment here at ECBC is friendly, non-threatening, and that my employees here would look out for me. What is one of the most exciting projects you have worked on? I am currently planning a grenade test to compare several visual smoke grenade candidates. Candidates from ECBC, U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) and industry are being tested to determine if there is a viable and safer smoke formulation for a new grenade program. I am in charge of writing the test plan, coordinating planning meetings with the essential parties, conducting the data and analyzing the results. It is exciting to be in charge of a test that could turn into a Milestone B acquisition program. What do you think ECBC could do to foster young professionals or retain young talent? ECBC should promote rotational programs within the Center to allow young professionals to be well-rounded and to learn about other divisions. What do you feel is most important to young professionals in their early career? Having an effective mentor allows you to get the foundation you need when starting a new job. Interesting job assignments and opportunities for growth keep young professionals interested and motivated, especially in this tumultuous economic environment. Networking allows expansion of professional alliances, and a balance between work and life keep young professionals happy and healthy.
What has been your biggest success in your career so far? My best friend and divisional coworker, Amanda Mihok, and I developed a Customer Service toolkit for a Balanced Scorecard Initiative, which we presented to the Engineering Directorate Division Chiefâ€™s Roundtable in May 2012. It was one of the first tangible documents generated for the Balanced Scorecard Customer Service Initiative. The warm reception that we received after our presentation was orders of magnitude greater than what I expected. Where do you see yourself in the next five years? At the very least, I hope to be a mentor for a new employee. I hope to be a team leader by then while still being able to dive into technical projects from time to time. What are your hobbies/activities outside of work? I love traveling around the world. Traveling to all seven continents is on my bucket list! I spend a lot of time watching TV, seeing friends and family, cooking and running. I plan to run another Tough Mudder this year. One of the few nice things about winter is being able to snowboard.
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12 | EDGEWOOD CHEMICAL BIOLOGICAL CENTER
A Fond Farewell
ECBC Toasts AJay Thornton at Retirement Luncheon ECBC bid a fond farewell and best wishes to Engineering Director Alvin D. “AJay” Thornton at a retirement luncheon held in his honor on Jan. 27 at the Richlin Ballroom. Two hundred twenty-five colleagues from across the Center came to toast Thornton’s career and to thank him for his service. Bill Klein served as Master of Ceremonies. Official remarks and retirement presentation were given by ECBC Director Joseph D. Wienand. Thornton concluded the luncheon with his own remarks and reflections.
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