James J. Thomas, 2009 Homeland Security Award

Written by on April 10, 2009 in 2009, Homeland Security Award, Researcher

James Thomas

James J. Thomas

Laboratory Fellow
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Mr. Thomas is founder and past Director of the Department of Homeland Security National Visualization and Analytics Center. His responsibilities at PNNL include establishing investment directions for Information and Computing Technology (ICT), representing ICT in and outside PNNL, leading major technology initiatives, mentoring staff, and being a Principal Investigator on several major science programs. He has a broad working knowledge of information technology, but specializes in the research, design, and implementation of innovative information and scientific and analytic visualization, multimedia, and human computer interaction technologies. Recently developed technologies set a new stage for visualization of masses of multimedia information sources.

Mr. Thomas has numerous patents and extensive publications, with several publications being widely referenced and re-printed. More recently he has led teams in text, numerical, image, and video analysis for massive information spaces. He has received several international science awards including “Top 100 Scientific Innovators” (Science Digest), two R&D 100 awards (1986 and 1996) presented annually for the 100 most technologically significant products and advancements, and two Federal Laboratory Consortium Technology Transfer Awards (1989 and 1999) for innovation in transferring research technology to industry and universities.

Mr. Thomas holds a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from Eastern Washington University and a Master of Computer Science from Washington State University.

The Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation is honored to have had the assistance of the following distinguished individuals serving on the 2009 Homeland Security Award Evaluation Committee:

  • Stephen Cass, Senior Projects Editor, Technology Review Magazine, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Mr. Cass studied experimental physics at Trinity College Dublin before relocating to the U.S. He has worked for the nature Publishing Group, IEEE Spectrum, Discover Magazine, and is currently working for Technology Review, published by MIT. He has written about security, privacy, intelligence gathering and engineering design as well as aerospace and other science and technology topics. Mr. Cass is a member of the IEEE and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronauts.
  • Neill Smith, Ph.D., Senior Technical Fellow, Vehicle Control Technologies, Inc., Reston, Virginia. Dr. Smith is responsible for the development of the VCT aero/hydrodynamic models for new and existing air and undersea vehicles, as well as maintaining configuration management of those codes. He has 34 years of experience in the areas of aero/hydrodynamic modeling, simulation, and design of air and undersea vehicles, including participation in over 40 wind tunnel and tow tank test programs for air and undersea vehicles. Dr. Smith is co-author of the SimV™ family of vehicle simulation programs, which includes simulations for UUVs, UAVs, missiles, towed vehicles and tethered astronauts.
  • Timothy M. Swager, Ph.D., John D. MacArthur Professor and Department Head, Department of Chemistry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts. A native of Montana, Dr. Swager received a BS from Montana State University in 1983 and a Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology in 1988. After a postdoctoral appointment at MIT he was on the chemistry faculty at the University of Pennsylvania and moved back to MIT in July of 1996 as a Professor of Chemistry. He has published over 250 peer-reviewed papers and serves on multiple editorial, governmental and corporate scientific advisory boards. Dr. Swager was the recipient of the 2005 Homeland Security Award in the Biological, Radiological, Nuclear field.
  • Steven D. Webster, Vice President of Advanced Technology Research and Development, AgustaWestland North America (AWNA), Reston, Virginia. Mr. Webster joined AgustaWestland North America in January 2009. He is responsible for North American Research and Technology opportunities for both the Commercial and Department of Defense product lines. He comes to AWNA from Bell Helicopter Textron and brings over 24 years of rotorcraft technology development experience.


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