DVIDS – News – Norman Thomas of Crane Army Recognized as Outstanding Mechanical Engineer by Purdue University


CRANE, Ind. – Purdue University School of Mechanical Engineering alumni and faculty gathered on the Purdue University campus to celebrate the best and brightest of their peers on September 10. Among them, Norman Thomas, the Army’s Assistant Commander’s Crane Ammunition Activity, received recognition for his accomplishments during more than 38 years of work in ammunition, explosives and energetics at the CAAA .

With over 18,000 graduates of the School of Mechanical Engineering, being recognized as an Outstanding Mechanical Engineer by Purdue University is a feat for program alumni. Purdue recognized Thomas alongside a robotics engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a chief engineering officer at the Air Force Research Laboratory, and a vice president of business management at Shell Oil Company, among other former students.

“For his tireless work to modernize ammunition for all branches of the military and his oversight of one of the most dangerous manufacturing processes there is, Purdue is proud to present the Outstanding Mechanical Engineer Award to Norman Thomas”, Jared Pike, Purdue University School of Mechanical Engineering communication specialist, said.

Thomas was surprised to learn that he had been nominated for the Outstanding Mechanical Engineer award earlier this year.

“I am touched by this recognition, especially when I see the incredible projects Purdue is working on,” said Thomas. “My career at Crane Army has given me the opportunity to excel, and this award is confirmation that I’m doing the right thing.

Thomas started his career in the Crane Army as a Project Engineer, getting his hands on projects across the business like firearms ammunition, demilitarization, refurbishment, maintenance and pyrotechnics. Over time, he rose through the ranks and was eventually promoted to Director of Manufacturing and Engineering. There, he combined his experience with the engineering and production processes to improve the effectiveness of programs such as aircraft countermeasures flares and supplemental armor kits to better protect tactical vehicles against attacks. improvised explosive devices and small arms fire.

Eventually, after serving as Chief of Staff, Thomas assumed the role of Civilian Executive Assistant in 2010, the highest civilian rank in the CAAA. In this role, he works as a civilian assistant to the commander of the CAAA.

“It is a privilege to work with and learn from someone recognized in the ammunition industry as a true subject matter expert,” said Col. Santee Vasquez, commander of the Crane Army. “Norm really cares about the well-being of CAAA, and it shows in his energy and his desire for us to be the best we can be every day. I know I will be a better leader and decision maker because of his mentorship and wisdom.

Thomas has spent much of his time as an assistant partnering with academia and defense industries to enable investments that can provide ammunition readiness to the fighter of the future. In recent years, Thomas has spearheaded a partnership with the Purdue Energetics Research Center, working closely with energy professors and other industry experts to modernize production. ammunition over the next 15 years.

“We are working on new technology and bringing some of the ammunition production from other countries back to the United States to help secure the capabilities of our fighters,” Thomas said. “We are also working with Purdue to develop an energy studies program to help create the next generation of energy engineers.”

Thomas’ alma mater recognized that such dedication to his craft, coupled with his solid engineering background and deep leadership experience, made him an ideal candidate for such a prestigious award.

“Norman sets an example of what Purdue’s mechanical engineers can achieve, and he pushes them to do even more,” said Pike.

Crane Army Ammunition Activity ships, stores, demilitarizes and produces conventional ammunition in support of U.S. Army and Joint Force readiness. It serves as the Army’s second-largest ammunition depot, containing about a quarter of the U.S. Department of Defense’s conventional ammunition. The CAAA was established in October 1977 as a subordinate command of the Joint Ammunition Command and the Army Materiel Command.

Date taken: 23.09.2021
Date posted: 23.09.2021 14:12
Story ID: 405892
Site: IN U.S

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