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2007 Feature Stories


ECBC FY 2006 Annual Report ECBC Releases FY 2006 Annual Report

Edgewood Chemical Biological Center's (ECBC) Annual Report highlighting 2006 technical achievements is now available online. ECBC's workforce achieved important milestones and technological breakthroughs in 2006, bringing immediate and direct support to the warfighter while advancing technology that will be crucial for the warfight of tomorrow.


To request a hard copy please email ecbc-communications@apgea.army.mil.


(August 2, 2007)

Raymond DiBerardo Receives the Army's Highest Honorary Award

Raymond DiBerardo, ECBC Project Leader and Technical Engineer, was presented with the Decoration for Exceptional Civilian Service Award by Jim Zarzycki, ECBC Director, and George Collins, ECBC CB Services Director. DiBerardo received the US Department of the Army's highest honorary award for his extensive accomplishments including the successful destruction of approximately 300 chemical munitions; the design, development and testing of mobile destruction systems; and providing exceptional chemical demilitarization support to the Defense Threat Reduction Agency and the Albanian government.

(July 11, 2007)

ECBC Employees Receive Excellence in Federal Career Awards

The Baltimore Federal Executive Board recognized three Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC) employees in the 2007 Excellence in Federal Career Awards program. The purpose of this program is to recognize outstanding men and women in the federal government for exceptional and commendable work.

Alvin (AJay) Thornton, ECBC, is a Silver Award recipient in the “Outstanding Supervisor” category. AJay serves as a senior manager and business unit leader for all Engineering Directorate efforts related to individual and collective protection, contamination avoidance and decontamination. He also serves as client manager to five Joint Project Managers, as well as the US Army TACOM Life Cycled Management Command Integrated Logistic Support Center. AJay is recognized as a highly motivated professional, who continues to raise the standard for future leaders. Pioneering the ECBC mentoring program for young journeyman level scientists and engineers, AJay and his mentee program participants were recognized as the most productive teams and now serve as the standard for others.

Joan Michel, ECBC, received a Silver Award within the “Outstanding Professional (Administrative Management & Specialist)” category. Within two and a half years Joan has developed and implemented a long-term plan to improve ECBC’s internal and external communications. ECBC’s strategic plan recognized the importance of improving internal communications and improving awareness of ECBC’s capabilities among external stakeholders. The plan also incorporates efforts to improve communications and relationships with the local community, state and local elected officials and high level organizations within the Army and the Department of Defense. By proactively addressing ways to increase internal awareness of new projects, employee recognition and accomplishments, Joan has ultimately enhanced the knowledge, performance and camaraderie of the staff. Joan’s work has brought visibility to the civilian chemical and biological defense sector, opening opportunities for increased technology transfer that will serve for years to come.

Raymond Mastnjak, ECBC Science and Technology Advisor for the CB Services Directorate, received the Silver Award in the “Volunteer Service Individual” category. By example, Ray encourages his peers to continually grow and develop their talents and skills. Earlier this year he took a leave of absence to volunteer at the Children of Zion Village, an orphanage that is home to 55 children between the ages of one and 16 infected by Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). The Village, located on the Zambezi River in Africa, provides the children with education, health care and vocational and life skills training. Within his seven months at the orphanage, Ray’s leadership and handyman skills were instrumental in making improvements such as: building the school house, kitchen repairs, helping the medical staff tend to the physical needs of the children and vehicle repairs. His support also resulted in providing transportation for locals villagers to the hospital and establishing computer, math and music classes for the children.

The work of these men and women promote a higher standard of performance in the federal government. These awards honor exemplary job performance and employee contributions to the federal government or the community.

(May 8, 2007)

ECBC Scientists Identify Pathogens That May Be Causing Global Honey-Bee Deaths

Honey Bee

Photo credit: Scott Bauer, USDA/ARS

Researchers have identified potential culprits behind the wide-spread catastrophic death of honey bees around North America and Europe. A team of scientists from Edgewood Chemical Biological Center and University of California San Francisco identified both a virus and a parasite that are likely behind the recent sudden die-off of honey-bee colonies.

Using a new technology called the Integrated Virus Detection System (IVDS), which was designed for military use to rapidly screen samples for pathogens, ECBC scientists last week isolated the presence of viral and parasitic pathogens that may be contributing to the honeybee loss. Confirmation testing was conducted over the weekend by scientists at the University of California San Francisco. ECBC scientists presented the results of their studies yesterday to a United States Department of Agriculture working group, hastily convened to determine next steps.

For the past year, experts have observed a marked decline in the honey bee population, with entire colonies collapsing without warning. Approximately 50 percent of hives have disappeared and researchers around the country are scrambling to find out why. Scientists have termed this phenomenon "Colony Collapse Disorder" and fear that without honey bees to pollinate crops like fruits, vegetables, and almonds the loss of honey bees could have an enormous horticultural and economic impact around the world.

ECBC is one of many academic, commercial and government concerns studying the honey bee population decline. ECBC’s role will be to identify the extent of the problem and conduct ongoing detection activities. [Read the press release]

(April 25, 2007)

ECBC 90th AnniversaryECBC Celebrates its 90th Anniversary

This year marks Edgewood's 90th Anniversary. Since 1917, the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center has served as the Nation’s lead science and technology center for the development of chemical and biological defense products and services. Our history dates back to the trenches of World War I where chemical agent was first used as a battlefield weapon and gas masks were consequently needed for U.S. Army soldiers. From April 2007 to October 2007 we will be commemorating this 90-year history with lectures, informational products and special events.

To kick off our 90th anniversary celebration, Mr. Jeffery Smart, Research, Development and Engineering Command's historian, presented the first in a series of monthly historical lectures, "The History of Edgewood." Click here to view a video of his presentation, which chronicles the Edgewood Area of Aberdeen Proving Ground's growth and change over decades. Each month we will also feature a story about a particular event in Edgewood's history.

To view these stories click here.

(April 24, 2007)

ECBC Research Chemist Received ASTM International Award of Merit

Ann Brozena Butrow, ECBC Research Chemist, was recently presented the Award of Merit by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) International for her exceptional work with ASTM International Committee E37 on Thermal Measurements. The Award of Merit is ASTM International’s highest achievement for individual members that demonstrate distinguished service and outstanding participation in committee activities.

Ann’s significant individual contribution and exemplary leadership earned her the Award of Merit and the honorary title of Fellow. ASTM International Committee E37 recognized Ann for her work in thermal analysis, including standards tests and terminology. James Thomas, ASTM President, presented the award to Ann during a Committee E37 meeting at the ASTM Headquarters in West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania.

Throughout her career at ECBC, Ann has concentrated on investigating physical and thermal properties of chemicals, specifically those of military interest. In 1994, Ann joined ASTM as a member of an E37 task group working to standardize procedures for vapor pressure measurement by differential thermal analysis. Her work with this task group led to the publication of ASTM E1782, Standard Test Method for Determining Vapor Pressure by Thermal Analysis in 1996. Currently, Ann is the First Vice-Chairman of ASTM Committee E37 on Thermal Measurements, one of 139 technical standards writing committees. At present, Committee E37 controls over 50 standards that are vital in testing various materials for thermal, rheological, and thermophysical properties. In addition, she chairs Subcommittee E37.03 on Nomenclature and Definitions and a task group on method consistency. Ann’s efforts with ASTM have previously earned her the honor of an E37 Award of Appreciation. Ann’s hard work and dedication have proved her to be a great asset to ASTM International and ECBC.

(April 24, 2007)

Kids & Chemistry Program nominated for the Government Community Service Organization of the Year Award

ECBC's Kids & Chemistry Program nominated for the Government Community Service Organization of the Year AwardECBC's Kids & Chemistry Program, led by Ms. Suzanne Procell, CB Services Directorate, was formally acknowledged at the Harford County Human Relations Commission Good Neighbor Community Service Award ceremony held on 18 Apr 07 at the St. Mary Magdalen Mission, Churchville, Maryland. The Kids & Chemistry Program was nominated for the Government Community Service Organization of the Year Award which recognizes outstanding achievements and unique contributions to the community. The Kids & Chemistry Program, established in the year 2000, is a group of approximately 20 volunteers that provides Harford County's youth with an educational opportunity to interact with some of the US Army’s most skilled scientists, engineers and computer analysts during hands-on science projects held throughout the year in local libraries, county facilities and schools. The program's goal is to inspire these young residents to pursue higher education and career opportunities in the sciences. As a result, these young residents are encouraged to see the importance of education and the possibility of future science-related careers. This interaction also creates working relationships within the community and a better understanding of the work that occurs at ECBC and how it impacts the local community and the Nation. Thus far, the Kids & Chemistry team has provided hands-on science projects to over 2,500 youths. Click here to visit their website.

(April 24, 2007)

ECBC microbiologist Dr. Kevin O'ConnellSample Receipt Facility Under Construction

Site work has begun for the Sample Receipt Facility (SRF)-the only full-range national resource to receive, triage, sample, and screen "unknowns" coming from anywhere in the world including military theaters of operation, intelligence organizations, and law enforcement agencies.

The SRF is the first multi-agency funded project at Aberdeen Proving Grounds-with $15M provided by the Army, $9.6M contributed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and $2.4M provided by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), totaling $27M in construction funds. The US Army Corps of Engineers worked with experts and scientists from the various agencies to design this one of a kind facility.

The FBI will safely receive WMD evidence by using specialized chemical and biological forensic laboratories designed to protect them as they conduct their traditional forensic examinations on contaminated evidence. Simultaneously, ECBC will identify and render safe the hazardous materials or explosives. The new DHS Chemical Security Analysis Center (CSAC) would then integrate the combined laboratory results with information from intelligence reports and other knowledge databases to further aid in characterizing the material or provide investigative leads.

Utilities are slated to be installed and the foundation poured by late February 2007. Completion is expected in the summer of 2008. Working together within a single facility, the FBI, ECBC, and DHS have taken a leap forward in enhancing the Nation's capability to deal with potential WMD attacks.

(January 31, 2007)


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