Posted at 5:22 PM
Yesterday, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker attended the Department of Commerce’s 68th Annual Honor Awards Ceremony, during which she recognized 286 employees with Gold and Silver medals for their valuable contributions to Commerce’s mission—ensuring American businesses have the tools, technology, and data they need to prosper, compete, and create new jobs.
This year, Secretary Pritzker had the distinct privilege of presenting the first-ever Ron Brown Excellence in Innovation Award. This award honors the extraordinary leadership, legacy, and memory of the beloved former Secretary of Commerce, Ron Brown. Secretary Brown challenged employees to innovate, be creative, and make change, thereby unleashing the full potential of the Department and transforming Commerce into a dynamic organization where people feel valued and appreciated.
To honor his extraordinary leadership and legacy, Secretary Pritzker presented the Excellence in Innovation Award to the Department’s top Gold Medal recipients: four extraordinary individuals from NIST who overcame extensive research challenges over the past decade to enhance the medical community’s ability to diagnose and treat traumatic brain injury, cancer, and other diseases. The team created innovative magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, measurement tools to ensure quality control in comparing images within and between medical research studies. Secretary Pritzker was proud to recognize Doctors Michael Boss, Kathryn Keenan, Stephen Russek, and Karl Stupic for their resourcefulness, innovation, courage, and adherence to Secretary Brown’s vision and legacy.
In honoring the Gold and Silver Medal awardees’ diverse contributions to the Department, Secretary Pritzker underscored the true depth and breadth of Commerce’s work. For example, the Department of Commerce advises the President on economic policy, from supporting female entrepreneurs in Africa to the current debate on encryption. Commerce counts both fish and people, and issues both patents and weather warnings. Commerce implements trade agreements and makes sense of big data.
Secretary Pritzker noted that while most people know some of what the Department does, few are aware of all that Commerce does to shape our country’s economic and national security – or how important the Department’s work is to the nation’s well-being and global competitiveness. To close the awards ceremony, Secretary Pritzker recognized the unique contributions of each awardee in elevating the culture of excellence within the Department over the last three years.