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My Coast Guard
Commentary | April 14, 2021

2020 Captain Neils P. Thomsen Innovation awards recipients announced 

By MyCG Staff

Congratulations to all of the recipients of the 2020 Captain Niels P. Thomsen Innovation awards. This year's award recipients found ingenious solutions that addressed complex maritime challenges, contributed to creating a more inclusive service, and leveraged data analytics and machine learning to maximize efficiency and effectiveness. 

Faced with the unprecedented challenges posed by COVID-19, our recipients also leveraged strengthened C5I infrastructure to modernize force readiness management and maintain engagement with the public and external stakeholders.    

Fostering a service culture of continuous innovation and learning empowers our workforce to play an integral role in supporting Coast Guard strategic objectives. 

The 2020 award recipients by category are: 

Science or Technology: 

CHAINLENK: Countering Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated, (IUU) Fishing with Data Driven Solutions – This data compilation tool optimizes targeting of suspected IUU fishing and human rights violators and was created in support of Operation North Pacific Guard. 

  • Lt. Emily Johnson, D17 Intelligence Branch 
  • Petty Officer 1st Class James Lenkiewicz, D17 Intelligence Branch 

Operations or Readiness: 

Commercial Space Launch Risk Assessment Tool (SLRAT) -- This Microsoft Access Tool quantifies risk, suggests pre-determined mitigation strategies, and recommends force laydowns to reduce overall risk for the increasing number of commercial space launch events in the Port Canaveral region. 

  • Cmdr. Scott Kirkland, COMDT (CG-7411) 
  • Cmdr. Joshua Rose, Sector Jacksonville 
  • Cmdr. Jillian Lamb, Sector Jacksonville 
  • Lt. Cmdr.  Molly Keyser, Sector Jacksonville 
  • Lt. Emily Sysko, Sector Jacksonville 
  • Lt. LaMarcus Walker, Sector Jacksonville 
  • Lt. Anthony Scott, Sector Jacksonville 
  • Lt. Joel Hill, Sector Jacksonville 
  • Chief Petty Officer Robert Martin, Station Port Canaveral 
  • Petty Officer 1st Class Dionysios Mitsios, Sector Jacksonville 
  • Mr. Douglas Campbell, Sector Jacksonville 

Administration, Training, or Support: 

Modernized Learning for Shore Forces Readiness 

  • Cmdr. Joel Carse, TRACEN Yorktown 
  • Lt. Cmdr. Paul Simpson, TRACEN Yorktown 
  • Lt. Cmdr. John Laraia, TRACEN Yorktown 
  • Lt. Cmdr. Michael Oubre, TRACEN Yorktown 
  • Lt. Mark Bender, TRACEN Yorktown 
  • Lt. Elizabeth Tatum, TRACEN Yorktown 
  • Lt. Jeremy Leggett, TRACEN Yorktown 
  • Mr. Mark Ogle, TRACEN Yorktown 
  • Ms. Kristy Plourde, TRACEN Yorktown 

Culture Change: 

Urination Device for Female Boat Crewmembers – Suggested to help female crewmembers improve performance and eliminate health risks during field missions.  

  • Petty Officer 3rd Class Kristin Talbott, Air Station Kodiak 

Coast Guard Auxiliary Achievement: 

UPV and Bareboat Charters: Remote Education & Outreach 

  • Auxiliarist Alvaro Ferrando, Sector Miami, Prevention, Investigations Division 

Commander Joel Magnussen Innovation Award for Management: 

Adaptive Risk Model for Inspected Small Passenger Vessels – An adaptable analysis tool that identifies the key drivers for marine casualties and calculates a risk score for most vessels within the U.S. inspected fleet. Their efforts directly improved marine inspector allocation, targeted risk, and enhanced the governance necessary to increase passenger safety across the country.

  • Capt. Matt Edwards, COMDT (CG-CVC) 
  • Cmdr. Baxter Smoak, COMDT (CG-INV) 
  • Lt. Cmdr. Stefanie Hodgdon, COMDT (CG-CVC) 
  • Lt. Cmdr. Peter Bizzaro, COMDT (CG-CVC) 
  • Lt. Cmdr. Jeff Bybee, MSC 
  • Lt. Cmdr. Cameron Cooper, MSC 
  • Lt. Cmdr. Brian Crimmel, COMDT (CG-DCO-51) 
  • Lt. Cmdr. Timothy McNamara, COMDT (CG-PAE) 
  • Lt. Cmdr. Matthew Meacham, COMDT (CG-ENG) 
  • Lt. Katherine Ahrens, MSC 
  • Lt. Kimberly Gates, COMDT (CG-OES) 
  • Lt. Keith Heine, MSC 
  • Lt. Kevin Kinsella, COMDT (CG-PAE) 
  • Ms. Jennifer Poythress, COMDT (CG-OES) 
  • Ms. Juliet Hudson, COMDT (CG-CVC) 
  • Mr. Emanuel Terminella Jr., COMDT (CG-INV) 
  • Mr. Marc Cruder, COMDT (CG-5P-TI) 

The Coast Guard Innovation Council reviewed award nominations received through CG_Ideas@Work. The 2020 nominees embody the exceptionally innovative spirit of our workforce and their efforts have made tangible positive impacts in our Service, maximizing readiness today and tomorrow. Additional information about these and other exceptional ideas may be viewed here

Although only a few ideas can be selected for an award, the Innovation Council would also like to recognize this year’s honorable mentions for each award category:  

Science or Technology Honorable Mention: 

Augmented Reality Maintenance Assistance (ARMA) 

  • Cmdr. Bryan Burkhalter, FORCECOM Virtual Readiness Center 

Maritime Information for Safety and Law Enforcement (MISLE) Weather Macro Lt. David Cooper, Sector Jacksonville 

Operations or Readiness Honorable Mention: 

Advanced Domain Awareness Messaging System (ADAMs) as a Mobile Vessel Sighting Report Solution (text/email compatible) 

  • Lt. Cmdr.  Adam Gibbs, Sector San Diego  

Sector Miami Prevention Investigation: Illegal Charter Investigator Qualification – (PAX-OPS) 

  • Lt.j.g. Danny Hicks, Sector Miami, Prevention, Investigations Division 
  • Mr. Jesus Porrata, Sector Miami, Prevention, Investigations Division 
  • Auxilliarist Alvaro Ferrando, Sector Miami Prevention, Investigations Division 

Administration, Training, or Support Honorable Mention: 

Aviation Rating Apprentice Program  

  • Aviation Technical Training Center Elizabeth City 

 Modernization of EMT Recertification 

  • Lt. Douglas Schneider, LANT-39 
  • Lt. Eric Sheridan, TRACEN Petaluma 
  • Chief Petty Officer Heidi Christensen, TRACEN Petaluma 
  • Chief Petty Officer Patrick Coppo, CGC Stone 
  • Chief Petty Officer Darcy Hislop, TRACEN Petaluma 
  • Chief Petty Officer Shelby Carlson, TRACEN Petaluma 
  • Chief Petty Officer Micah Franklin, TRACEN Petaluma 
  • Petty Officer 1st Taijiro Laren, TRACEN Petaluma 
  • Petty Officer 1st Eugene Pryka, TRACEN Petaluma 
  • Petty Officer 1st Christine Yoshimura, TRACEN Petaluma 
  • Petty Officer 1st Heidi Bennett, TRACEN Petaluma 
  • Ms. Shyla Volk, TRACEN Petaluma 

Galley Metrics and Command Visibility 

  • Petty Officer 1st Zachary Carman, USCG Base Seattle 

Culture Change Honorable Mention: 

MyCG - A Centralized, Public Information Gateway for All Coast Guard Audiences 

  • Capt. Matthew Moorlag, COMDT (CG-092) 
  • Cmdr. Timothy Balunis, COMDT (CG-092) 
  • Cmdr. Whitney Houck, COMDT (CG-092) 
  • Lt. Luke McConnell, COMDT (CG-092) 
  • Lt.j.g. Krystal Wolfe, COMDT (CG-092) 
  • Chief Warrant Officer Allyson Conroy, COMDT (CG-092) 
  • Petty Officer 1st Scott Turner, COMDT (CG-092) 
  • Petty Officer 2nd Class Hunter Medley, COMDT (CG-092) 
  • Ms. Alana Miller, COMDT (CG-092) 
  • Ms. Allie DeLegge, COMDT (CG-092) 
  • Ms. Christie St. Clair, COMDT (CG-092) 
  • Ms. Kara Noto, COMDT (CG-092) 
  • Mr. Rodrigo Brinski, COMDT (CG-092) 
  • Mr. Jonathon LaDue, COMDT (CG-092) 

Aviation Training Center Mobile Podcast "Flight Suit Friday" 

  • Lt. Cmdr.  Nathan Shakespeare, ATC Mobile 
  • Lt. Cmdr.  Sam Hafensteiner, ATC Mobile 
  • Lt. Ryan Vandehei, ATC Mobile 
  • Mr. Charles Seay, ATC Mobile 

Coast Guard Auxiliary Achievement Honorable Mention: 

Research and Development Center Auxiliary Team Skills Bank  

  • Commodore Bill Bowen, USCG Research and Development Center (RDC) 
  • Dr. Joe DiRenzo III, USCG Research and Development Center (RDC)  
  • Auxiliarist Bruce Buckley, USCG Research and Development Center (RDC) 

CDR Joel Magnussen Innovation Award for Management Honorable Mention: 

Rapid and Efficient Program Renovation: Coast Guard Emergency Management 


 Saving Arctic Communities: Maritime Safety Task Force (MSTF) and Bulk Fuel Facility Workgroup  

  • Cmdr. Jereme M. Altendorf, Sector Anchorage 

The Innovation Awards ceremony will be held in April, during the spring Senior Leadership Conference. Additional information regarding this and other Innovation Council activities can be found at the Innovation Portal at. 

Please direct any questions to COMDT (CG-926) Research, Development, Test and Evaluation, and Innovation Program