Aeronautical engineer collars national-level award

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By Susan A. Romano, AFTAC Public Affairs / Published May 20, 2014

Official photograph of Maj. Christopher L. Genelin, an aeronautical engineer with the Air Force Technical Applications Center at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., and recipient of the 2013 Arthur S. Flemming Award in Applied Science, Engineering and Mathematics. (U.S. Air Force photo)


An aeronautical engineer assigned to the Air Force Technical Applications Center here earned the Air Force's top billing for the 2013 Arthur S. Flemming Award.

Maj. Christopher L. Genelin learned of his selection for the prestigious national-level award in April when the committee phoned to congratulate him on being chosen to represent his organization.

Established in 1948, the annual award recognizes outstanding federal employees who make significant and extraordinary contributions to the federal government. Winners are selected from all areas of federal service and are formally recognized by the president of the United States.

There are three possible award categories - applied science, engineering & mathematics; managerial or legal achievement; or basic science. Genelin was nominated in the applied science, engineering & mathematics category.

In his nomination package, Genelin was recognized for his work on a persistent global surveillance system for operation in a maritime environment. His prototype system was the first of its kind, and incorporated an electro-optical sensor paired with a satellite data exfiltration path integrated onto an unmanned surface vehicle. The system, which was developed in response to an urgent operational warfighter requirement, was engineered and fabricated entirely in-house at a savings of $4 million in research and development costs.

"For the last 65 years, the Flemming Award has become one of the most coveted and distinguished awards recognizing excellence in federal service," said Maj. Gen. John N.T. Shanahan, the commander of the Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency, and AFTAC's higher headquarters. "Many of its recipients have gone on to greater fame and achievement, including the Nobel Prize. I am extremely proud to announce that Maj. Genelin is one of 12 winners from the entire federal government to earn this award. It is an incredible achievement."

Genelin, whose been assigned at AFTAC since May 2012, was humbled by the recognition.

"I've never spent too much time seeking the limelight, but it's definitely nice to be formally recognized for your hard work," Genelin said. "I have been fortunate to have been given the opportunity throughout my career to work at the 'pointy end of the spear' and make tangible impacts for the warfighter."

The recipient's award submission was reviewed by a panel of Air Force colonels and Senior Executive Service civilians. As a military nominee, Genelin is now authorized to wear the Air Force Recognition Ribbon on his service dress uniform.

A panel of distinguished, nationally prominent judges and consultants will recognize the winners at a ceremony in June in Washington, D.C.

"I'm excited for the trip to Washington," Genelin said. "I am taking my wife Donna with me since she played a very large role in me being able to win such an award. She deserves just as much of the recognition for what she has done for my career and our family."

He added, "I want to thank all my co-workers who have stood behind my ideas and my direct-line supervisors who took chances on me and gave me the opportunity to excel. I'm indebted to them."

The award is named after Dr. Arthur Flemming, a career public servant who started his career in 1939 and spent seven decades in service to the federal government and higher education. In 1994, just two years before his death, President Clinton awarded Flemming with the Medal of Freedom in recognition of his dedication to the nation.

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