Written by Kayla Speedy
Office of Strategic Planning and Communication, Acquisition Directorate
The Coast Guard honored a group of exceptional innovators whose ideas have helped make the Coast Guard more ready, relevant and responsive with Capt. Niels P. Thomsen Innovation Awards. The ceremony took place during the Senior Leadership Conference held April 25, 2019, at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C.
The awards, named after the Coast Guard innovator who invented the buoy chain stopper which dramatically improved the safety of buoy tending operations, are presented in the areas of Science and Technology; Operations and Readiness; Administration, Training and Support; Management; and Culture Change. This year’s awards also included an Auxiliary Achievement Award to recognize the efforts of Coast Guard Auxiliary. The awards were presented by the commandant of the Coast Guard, Adm. Karl Schultz, and Master Chief Petty Officer Jason Vanderhaden.
During the ceremony, Schultz spoke about the determination of Coast Guard personnel to improve the service as well as the delivery of services to its members, saying, “Our members are taking their smarts, their savvy, and their passion to make a better Coast Guard and turning it into action-oriented projects.”
Reflecting on the efforts of the Innovation Program to inspire and recognize the service’s innovators, Schultz shared that he is “truly proud of the efforts and work being done to spark the flame in men and women throughout the Coast Guard to continue to look for ways to better the service, the delivery of services to our people, and provide the taxpayer an even higher return on investment.”
The Capt. Niels P. Thomsen Innovation Awards are hosted annually through the Coast Guard Innovation Program, a part of the Office of Research, Development, Test and Evaluation (RDT&E). Nominations are submitted through CG_Ideas@Work and final award winners are determined by the Coast Guard Innovation Council.
“Each year, the Capt. Niels P. Thomsen Innovation Awards honor the most forward-thinking members of the Coast Guard. The commandant implores us to take bold steps toward a forward-thinking service, and this year’s winners represent the results of that call to action,” remarked Wendy Chaves, RDT&E program manager. “On behalf of the Coast Guard RDT&E and Innovation Program, congratulations to the award winners on their creativity, innovation, and initiative.”
This year’s winners:
Science and Technology
Short-Range Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Implementation of the Group-1 UAS Prototype Program Initiative (GUPPI) – Lt. Cmdr. Ryan Lampe representing the Office of Aviation Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Division
As part of a team from the Office of Aviation Forces UAS Division, Lampe established a promising new pilot program to provide short-range UAS capabilities to field units. Proving that “game-changing technologies can be integrated into operations on a small scale with dramatic effect,” the use of these technologies significantly increased the Coast Guard’s operational effectiveness and safety – at a cost savings of over $500,000 compared to traditional methods.
Operations and Readiness
Exceptional Efforts to Improve the Coast Guard P6 Dewatering Pump – Boatswain’s Mate 1st Class Andrew Carlson
Carlson designed an extended, routable exhaust hose that attaches to the P6 dewatering pump hose to allow for better operation in enclosed spaces, commonly encountered in commercial fishing vessel distress situations. It provides a reliable and safe alternative for members in the field that are faced with potentially hazardous damage control and emergency at sea salvage operations where the P6 dewatering pump is necessary for mission success.
Administration, Training and Support
The U.S. Coast Guard Clinic Scheduler Tool – Lt. Cmdr. Dana Schulman, Trevor Shaffer, and Scott Sherman representing a team which also includes Lt. JoAnne Warzynski, Chief Health Services Technician Lisa Brendon, and Mulugeta Ergino
Members of Base National Capitol Region, Base Portsmouth and Base Seattle came together to develop an automated process for securely scheduling and managing medical clinic appointments using the existing Coast Guard Portal’s SharePoint infrastructure.
The self-service appointment scheduling capability – which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week – eliminates overbooking, provides management analytic capabilities to clinic support staff and customers, and provides user-driven cancellation and reminder tools. As of February 2019, nine of the 36 Coast Guard clinics have successfully migrated, saving over 20,000 hours annually in administrative costs.
Cmdr. Joel Magnussen Innovation Award for Management
Operationally Driven Maintenance Scheduling for the Fast Response Cutter – Lt. Cmdr. Daniel Kahn and Lt. Matthew Pinhey representing an 18-member team including, Cmdr. Jeffrey Payne, Lt. Cmdr. James Miller, Lt. Cmdr. Conor Sullivan, Lt. Cmdr. Patrick Burnett, Lt. James Jorgesen, Lt. Thomas Kai, Lt. Fred Chase, Lt. Thomas Bondurant, Lt. Kailee Evereteze, Lt. Hannah Wyderko, Lt. j.g. Lindsay Taylor, Lt. j.g. Elise Hernandez, Lt. j.g. Michael Bruno, Jim Hoehn, Christopher Stanley and Kevin Lyon
A team of 18 innovators, from units across five Coast Guard districts, created the Operationally Driven Maintenance Scheduling (ODMS) program to execute an effective, achievable and sustainable maintenance strategy for the WPC 154-foot fast response cutter fleet. The ODMS program takes required maintenance that occurs outside of dry-docks and dockside contracted availabilities and compiles the tasks into comprehensive maintenance packages for execution. It has maximized fleet-driven maintenance deck improvements, leveraged personnel efficiencies and reduced administrative processing burdens, yielding a significant reduction in overall waterfront workload, while allowing scheduled operations to drive maintenance schedules.
After successful prototyping of the program in District Seven, the fast response cutters have already seen a steady upward trend in maintenance completion, setting the standard for future support programs.
Consolidated, Coordinated Patrol Tasking Tool – Lt. Cmdr. Daniel Sweigart and Lt. Gregory Hersh representing the Sector Puget Sound Integrated Planning Team
Sector Puget Sound’s Operational Plan is an operational planning and implementation tool that directs all Coast Guard operations in the Puget Sound. This invaluable communication tool provides subunits with tasking, while taking into account weather, geography, operational necessities, risk mitigation, and the needs of the subunits in a clear, consolidated document. This tool has proven to be a catalyst for operational and cultural change in how Sector Puget Sound executes operations and delivers information.
Safety Awareness Program for Uninspected Passenger Vessels and Bareboat Charters – Auxiliarist Alvaro Ferrando
Ferrando developed a safety awareness program to promote education for uninspected passenger vessels and bareboat charters in response to a significant increase in passenger for hire operations in Sector Miami, Florida. This effort set out to contact uninspected passenger vessel and bareboat charter operators through social media, industry workshops and increased dock walk activities. The program has built a line of communication between industry and operators with a successful social media presence and informed approximately 200 individuals on the legal process for handling uninspected passenger vessels and bareboat charters.