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My Coast Guard
Commentary | May 18, 2023

Congratulations to the 2022 Captain Niels P. Thomsen Innovation Award Winners

By AJ Pulkkinen, MyCG Writer and Loretta Haring, CG-925

The Coast Guard takes great pride in recognizing our innovators - shipmates who use their talents, creativity and collaborative efforts to better our service.  

This year’s winners are: 

  • The Surface Forces Logistics Center (SFLC) Additive Manufacturing Working Group won in the category of Science or Technology for its implementation of programmatic additive manufacturing. 
  • The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Research Laboratory of Electronics Graduate Students Team won in the category of Operations or Readiness for its nonintrusive load monitoring for shipboard fault detection.  
  • The Financial Management Wolfpack won in the Administration, Training or Support category for its development and implementation of the Procurement Request Expedited Service System (PRESS).  
  • The D17 “Return to Ready” Pilot Program Team won in the category of culture change for its "Return to Ready” Unit Leader Integrated Support Toolkit.  
  • The CG Academy Electrocardiograms (ECG) Screening Evolution Team won in the category of Coast Guard Auxiliary Achievement for its ECG Screening of CGA cadets to detect heart anomalies.  
  • The Research and Development Center (RDC), Defense Innovation Unit and C5I Service Center Team won the Commander Joel Magnussen Innovation Award for Management for its use of other transaction authorities (OTAs) and rapid prototyping to solve the boat crew communications system (BCCS) problem.  

Keep reading to learn more about the winners’ bold ideas that delivered tangible benefits across the Service.  

Science or Technology Innovation Award 

The SFLC Additive Manufacturing Working Group developed a process to submit, approve and manufacture custom parts, tools, jigs or covers that require 3D printing. The team established the first depot-level SFLC Industrial Operations Division Additive Manufacturing Production Center and helped validate additive manufacturing and its potential value to the Coast Guard. 

Team members are Cmdr. Jeff Smolik, Lt. Cmdr. Andrew Armstrong, Tracy Byington, Lt. Stephen Kidwell, Chief Petty Officer Jonathan Zlocki, Lt. j.g. Brandon Horacek, Lt. Ryan Miklosovich, Kelly Hulon, Albert Hewitt, Kevin Grasson, Trigg McNew, Guy Tharpe, Michael Pohland, Cmdr. Aaron Leyko and Robert Wagenmann. 

Operations or Readiness 

The MIT Research Laboratory of Electronics Graduate Students Team researched nonintrusive load monitoring technology and its shipboard applications for fault detection and condition-based maintenance. This technology enables a nonintrusive load monitor to assess equipment health and predict potential failures before they are evident through traditional monitoring methods. The team can now identify equipment failures not visible to the crew, such as faulty jacket water heaters, misaligned crankcase blowers and improper setting of low-temperature refrigeration compressor unloaders. 

Team members are Lt. Andrew Moeller, Lt. Steve Kidwell, Lt. Isabelle Patnode, Lt. Cmdr. Devin Quinn, Lt. Cmdr. Thomas Kane, Lt. Cmdr. Gregory Bredariol, Lt. Brian Mills, Lt. Joseph O’Connell, Lt. j.g. Michael Bishop and Lt. j.g. Jacob Skimmons. 

Administration, Training or Support 

The Financial Management Wolfpack built a workflow tool, PRESS, that leveraged bulk obligations to expedite micro-purchases while reducing workload and ensuring compliance. PRESS enabled over 100,000 micro-purchases totaling over $100 million while making procurements faster and easier and streamlining processes for service providers.  

Team members are Capt. Chad Brick, Michael Fragano, Lt. Samuel Paone, Jeffrey Center, Rear Adm. Jon Hickey, Capt. Erich Klein, Capt. William Arritt, Capt. William Budovec, Cmdr. Thomas Crowley, Cmdr. Aaron Kowalczk, Chief Petty Officer Robert Thomas and Jennifer Souza-Madura.  

Culture Change 

The D17 “Return to Ready” Pilot Program Team created the “Return to Ready” Unit Leader Integrated Support Toolkit, which pulls together many resources available for members and their families to support and address behavioral health concerns. In 2022, leaders used the tool to handle more than 50 complex cases, ranging from responses to emergencies, suicide prevention, workplace violence, complex medical and behavioral cases, domestic situations and direct impacts to cutter operations due to workforce issues. The program was recognized by the Coast Guard Investigative Service Threat Management Unit as a best process for handling challenging situations. 

Team members are Jody Carman, Capt. Leanne Lusk, Lt. Cmdr. Tom Wieland, Lt. Erin Bohner, Capt. Edward Hernaez, Cmdr. Will Johnson, Cmdr. Sarah Garrett, Cmdr. Marion Collins, Cmdr. Jose Gomez, Lt. Brandt Peacock, Lt. Cmdr. Trevor Siperek, Command Master Chief Petty Officer Phillip Waldron, Chief Warrant Officer Damon Lawson and Senior Chief Petty Officer Jason Neth. 

Auxiliary Achievement 

The Coast Guard Academy Electrocardiogram (ECG) Screening Evolution Team developed a complex process to securely transmit and remotely interpret ECGs, providing a cost-effective, timely and both privacy- and cyber-secure means to screen cadets for abnormalities known to cause sudden cardiac death and allow for rapid preventive intervention. This collaborative initiative contributes to the health, safety and mission readiness of the cadet population. 

Team members are Dr. H. Elizabeth Noll, Dr. James McCriskin, Chief Petty Officer Edward Hodges, Chief Petty Officer Matthew Cuevas and Auxiliarist Bruce Buckley. 

Cmdr. Joel Magnussen Innovation Award for Management 

The RDC, Defense Innovation Unit and C5I Service Center Team used an uncommon procurement method, called Other Transaction Authorities (OTAs), to rapidly evaluate 19 potential commercial boat crew communications systems (BCCS) to determine the best one. These efforts will result in a flexible contract to replace existing BCCSs as needed beginning this fall and provide our crews with state-of-the-market technology to fill a critical capability gap. 

Team members are Lt. Cmdr. Anderson Ogg, Cmdr. Mike Nordhausen, Maj. Sam Amedia, Lt. Jonathan Anderson, Stacy Meister, Lt. Cmdr. Colin Boyle, Lt. Michael Jenkins, Lt. j.g. Jamie Higgins, Chief Petty Officer Eric Wells, Petty Officer 1st Class Michael Barron, Senior Chief Petty Officer Brian Milcetich, Charles Brown, Mark Schneider, Katherine Kearney, Gregory Ducker, Robin Spelman, Korey Barry, Myles Blanchard and Phil Lee. 

The Coast Guard Research, Development and Innovation Governance Council reviewed 35 award nominations that members submitted through CG_Ideas@Work. The 2022 nominees embody the exceptionally innovative spirit of our workforce and their efforts have made a tangible impact in our service. We encourage all CG members to be bold, think differently and innovate for results. Additional information about these and other exceptional ideas may be viewed on the CG-926 Innovation Program - HomePage ( and at CG_Ideas@Work (now CAC-enabled).