Friday, January 28, 2011

Dr. A. Way Fountain III Returns From Temporary Assignment In Iraq

Dr. A. Way Fountain III, senior technologist for chemistry at Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC), recently returned from his 30-day temporary assignment in Iraq, where he served as chief scientist for Task Force Troy. The task force coordinates the Counter Improvised Explosive Device, or C-IED, mission in Iraq.

“My two biggest regrets are that I was not able to get over there sooner to work with Task
Force Troy and the Counter Explosives Exploitation Cell (CEXC) and that I was not able to stay longer,” Fountain said.

“It was a wonderful experience to work with the soldiers, sailors (U.S. Navy electronics technicians), Marines (Marine Explosive Ordnance Disposal, or EOD), and airmen (U.S. Air Force EOD) in CEXC as well as the number of people from an alphabet soup of other government agencies,” Fountain said. “In theater, you have a relevant mission that slaps you in the face every morning and although you work long tiring hours every single day, you are greatly rewarded just knowing that you are helping our soldiers in a very tangible manner. If my wife promised not to revolt, I'd go back there or to Afghanistan in an instant."

*In the first photo, Fountain and other members of the Counter Explosives Exploitation Cell (CEXC) fly to Northern Iraq by UH-60 Blackhawk.

*In the second photo, Fountain visits the Al-Faw Palace (Water Palace) and Headquarters of U.S. Forces Iraq.

James Valdes Chairs Valued Technical Program Committee at Army Science Conference

Dr. James Valdes, the senior technologist (ST) for biotechnology at Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC), played a key role in the 27th Annual Army Science Conference, held recently in Florida. Valdes chaired the Technical Program Committee. 

A significant part of his role involved reviewing the hundreds of abstracts submitted last spring by renowned scientists and engineers from the United States and foreign governments, academia and industry seeking to present a paper or poster. Valdes led the Technical Program Committee that determined which papers and posters were accepted, as well as selecting papers that won awards, including the prestigious Paul A. Siple Memorial Award.

“We tried to maximize the poster sessions to be as inclusive as possible while maintaining high quality,” Valdes said. “At times, we had to make some very hard choices.”

The four-day conference included 18 parallel technical sessions covering topics as wide-ranging as Power and Energy, Biotechnology, Network Science, and Neuroscience. The sessions supported the conference’s theme: Transformational Science and Technology – Enabling Full Spectrum Operations.

“Dr. Valdes was instrumental in ensuring the Army had a high quality scientific conference that was focused on warfighter needs both present and future,” said ECBC Technical Director Joseph D. Wienand.

At the closing banquet, theoretical physicist S. James Gates, Jr., Ph.D., presented a talk called “The Third STEM Crisis: Defending the American Dream in the New Millennium.”

Valdes has chaired the Technical Program Committee in previous years and plans to stay involved in future conferences. He encourages ECBC to participate more fully to showcase our accomplishments to the Army.

“As a critical national asset in the CB defense community, ECBC has the opportunity to have direct interaction with our stakeholders and the warfighter when attending the Army Science Conference and others like it,” Wienand said. “Each year, new technologies are created, processes developed and answers to some of the most pressing scientific questions have their origin in an ECBC facility. It’s important for us to share that research, science and engineering with those it impacts most.”

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

ECBC Chief Scientist Visits Slovenia in University Collaboration

Harry Salem, Ph.D., traveled to the University of Nova Gorica in Slovenia in October to deliver a lecture on toxicology in the 21st century and participate in a graduate thesis committee. He was invited as part of a collaboration between Nova Gorica and Rutgers University, where he serves as a visiting professor, teaching chemical toxicology in its graduate program.

Salem, who has worked at Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC) for 26 years, serves as the chief scientist for life sciences.

While overseas, Salem fit in some sight-seeing, spending a day in Venice as well as touring Slovenia.

“Slovenia is a beautiful country,” he said. “I’m surprised there aren’t more American tourists as they are very friendly to the United States. I’m eager to return."

Slovenia is a Central European country bordering Italy, Hungary, Croatia and Austria.

In the photo, Salem poses in front of a Slovenian castle built into a mountainside with his friend Sidney Katz, Ph.D., chemist and professor at Rutgers and Nova Gorica universities.

Salem will present "A Brief History of Bioterrorism" on June 14. The event was originally scheduled for January but was postponed due to inclement weather. The presentation is part of a Science Café sponsored by the Northeastern Maryland Technology Council. Additional details will be posted at

Thursday, January 13, 2011

ECBC Engineering Strategy Engages Workforce, Improves Technologies Available to Warfighter

Senior leaders within the Department of Defense (DoD) find themselves in one of the most challenging times our nation has ever seen; in addition to orchestrating the necessary defenses for our deployed warfighters, the emergence of domestic terrorism has extended the threat to the homeland, requiring government leaders in DoD to solve problems that are more complex within shorter timeframes.

As part of the nation’s principle research and development center for non-medical chemical and biological defense, the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center’s (ECBC) Engineering Directorate senior management found itself struggling to balance the desire to support the workforce with people, learning and growth initiatives against the demands of a fee-for-service business model within the Joint Service-chemical biological defense world. Engineering Directorate leadership turned to the Balanced Scorecard (BSC) strategy management system as the best framework for the organization’s strategy development.