Two members of the senior management team at NASA’s Ames Research
Center in California’s Silicon Valley have been selected for
Presidential Rank awards, an honor for outstanding leadership
reserved for a select group of executives in the federal government.

Deputy Center Director William E. Berry was named to the rank of
Distinguished Executive. Dr. Steven F. Zornetzer, chief of the Office
of Information Sciences and Technology, received the Meritorious
Executive award.

“I am very proud and gratified that the outstanding leadership of
Bill Berry and Steve Zornetzer has been recognized by the President
with these prestigious awards,” said Ames Director Dr. Henry
McDonald. “Both have proven themselves to be outstanding, dedicated
leaders who are extremely deserving of these awards.”

President George W. Bush announced the names of the award recipients
last month at Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. The awards will
be presented during a ceremony next spring. In his remarks, Bush
noted that although the honorees’ work covers a variety of areas and
issues, “They share some things in common: an outstanding work ethic,
commitment to public service and pride in a job well done.”

Berry, who began his career at Ames in 1966, has served as the
center’s Deputy Director since November 1997 and serves as Ames’
Chief Operating Officer. He was recognized for his efforts to makes
Ames more effective and to create a new vision for its future. Among
other contributions, the President’s award recognizes him as the
driving force in the development of the NASA Research Park, a
first-of-its-kind research and development center.

Berry conceived and is implementing a joint economic development plan
with other federal agencies, community leaders, major universities
and the private and non-profit sectors to transform the former Navy
facilities and land at Moffett Field into a world-renowned, federally
owned research and development complex. It is an innovation whereby
the federal government has invited a consortium of institutions of
higher learning and the leading elements of private industry in
Silicon Valley to join in a concerted, cooperative effort to create a
stimulating environment for basic and applied research in the
nation’s leading technological area.

The broad range of interests found at Ames Research Center, featuring
information technology and biotechnology, will serve as the
foundation for this new approach in continuing the advance of science
and technology. NASA Administrator Daniel Goldin has stated, “The
innovations and scientific discoveries of the future will not come
from NASA, industry or universities alone. They will come from us
working togetherÉNASA Ames, which has critical R&D responsibilities
in information technology, biotechnology and nanotechnology, is
partnering with one of the world’s best public higher education

Berry earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from
Drexel University. He has a master’s degree in management through
Stanford University’s Sloan Fellowship program in 1986 and received a
Meritorious Rank in 1996. He was recognized with a NASA Outstanding
Leadership Medal in 1998.

Zornetzer, who earned a doctorate degree in biological sciences from
the University of California, Irvine, is an internationally
recognized leader in revolutionary, information technology-based
approaches to aerospace and space exploration missions. His expertise
ranges from basic research in cognitive, perceptual and neural
sciences to biological information processing, molecular biology,
genetic engineering and biomedical science. Before joining NASA in
1997, he headed the Personnel Optimization and Biomolecular Science
and Technology Department for the Office of Naval Research, where he
was widely recognized for his leadership and vision. He received a
Meritorious Rank in 1991.

Zornetzer led Ames’ efforts in radical technological change in
aircraft development, with oversight of the Intelligent Flight
Controller, neural network software that can adapt and reconfigure
itself in response to structural changes in the aircraft. This
software also allows rapid prototyping of radical new aircraft
designs in half the time of existing technology.

He oversaw development of the Surface Movement Advisor (SMA) program,
which aids airport ground controllers in better managing taxiways and
gate access for greater airport capacity and safer operation. The
prototype has been installed at the Hartsfield International Airport
in Atlanta and is saving approximately $20 million per year.

Presidential Rank awards are bestowed each year on a small group of
the government’s Senior Executive Service (SES). There are two
categories of awards, Distinguished Executives and Meritorious
Executives. Award winners are chosen through a rigorous selection
process after being nominated by the head of their agency, evaluated
by boards of private citizens, and approved by the President. The
evaluation criteria focus on the executive’s leadership in producing

Only 1 percent of SES members receives the rank of Distinguished
Executive for sustained extraordinary accomplishment. The Meritorious
Executive award is given for long-term accomplishments. Only 5
percent of career SES members may receive the award.