My Coast Guard
Commentary | April 13, 2022

2021 Captain Niels P. Thomsen Innovation Awards Recipients Announced 

By MyCG Staff

Congratulations to the recipients of the 2021 Captain Niels P. Thomsen Innovation Awards. This year's award recipients found ingenious solutions that boosted the safety and efficiency of maritime operations, streamlined assistance to Coast Guard families displaced by Hurricane Ida, and leveraged artificial intelligence to match members with mentors who could advise and help them advance in their careers.  

The 2021 award recipients by category are:   

Category: Science or Technology:

Lt. Cmdr. Donald Rudnickas Jr. 

Multispectral Automated Iceberg Detection – Lt. Cmdr. Donald Rudnickas, deputy commander International Ice Patrol (IIP), developed a free algorithm that can detect icebergs in satellite imagery with 99% accuracy. The IIP now uses this tool, which is eventually expected to save the Coast Guard $10 million and 500 hours of HC-130J patrols every year.   

Category: Operations or Readiness:

Chief Petty Officer Thomas Roposa  

47-foot Motor Lifeboat Lighting Improvements – Chief Petty Officer Thomas Roposa used his free time and own materials to create a mounted LED lighting system for 47-foot motor life boats (MLB). It has since been installed on all 107 47-foot MLBs to enhance safety at night and in hazardous maritime conditions.   

Senior Chief Petty Officer Jason Bryant  

Text-to-SMS for Command Centers – Senior Chief Petty Officer Jason Bryant of Sector Honolulu identified and tested potential software solutions to enable the Coast Guard to communicate directly with mariners using text, which will enable more timely and effective responses.   

Category: Administration, Training, or Support  

Cmdr. Chad Brick  

Family Assessment Support Tool (FAST) – Cmdr. Chad Brick created the Family Assessment Support Tool (FAST) – a SharePoint database, which helped D8 Incident Command track and respond to the needs of all Coast Guard members and their dependents who were impacted by Hurricane Ida. The Coast Guard and Department of Labor now use FAST to provide evacuation, housing, financial and other assistance in emergency situations.  

Category: Culture Change  

The Breaking Barriers & Connecting Coast Guard Members Through Mentoring Team: Carl Boehmer, Capt. Julie Kuck, Chief Petty Officer Angel Limongelli, and Petty Officer First Class Tyler Mleczko  

Mentorship Program Leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI) – Team members developed an app to connect active duty, reservist, and civilian employees using artificial intelligence (AI). In the first six months, more than 1,500 members forged connections in one of four kinds of mentorships the program offers.  

Category: Coast Guard Auxiliary Achievement  

Auxiliarist Clint O’Connor   

Aid Verifier Assistant App (AVA) for Navigation Reports – Auxiliarist Clint O’Connor developed the Aid Verifier Assistant App (AVA), a mobile app that lets Auxiliarists and qualified Aid Verifiers to report verifications and discrepancies quickly, accurately and easily, with photo tagging possible.   

Category: Cmdr. Joel Magnussen Innovation Award for Management  

Cruise Ship National Center of Expertise and Research & Development Center Team:  Cmdr. Jason Kling, Brad Schoenwald, Christine Mahoney, Sam Cheung, Lt. Cmdr. Thomas Gibson, Lt. Cmdr. Theresa Bigay, Lt. Kimberly Glore, Daniel Brehm, Scott Elphison, James Garzon, Eric Jesionowski 

Cruise Ship Scorecard Prevention Measurement Tool – The Cruise Ship National Center of Expertise (CSNCOE) developed an application that helps examiners measure noncompliance and the risk mitigation that comes with resolving deficiencies. “The Cruise Ship Scorecard” app, which is preloaded on a Surface Pro Tablet, has been found to greatly enhance the Passenger Vessel Exam process.  

The Innovation Awards ceremony is scheduled for June, during the spring Senior Leadership Conference. Additional information regarding this and other Innovation Council activities can be found at the Innovation Portal.  

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