Alumni Hall of Fame 2005 | SRI International

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Alumni Hall of Fame 2005

Catherine P. Ailes

Cathie Ailes was a leading contributor to the field of science and technology public policy, a strong manager, and a devoted member of the SRI family. As the Director of the Science and Technology Policy Program in SRI/Washington, her reach extended globally and broke new ground in creating innovative methods for assessing science and technology programs.

Cathie Ailes started at SRI in 1975 as an analyst for Dick Foster on national security issues including the Soviet Bloc. When Foster’s group was disbanding, she transitioned into science and technology (S&T) assessments involving, first, the Soviet Union, then expanded into assessments in other parts of the world. She became one of the two or three top program evaluators for the National Science Foundation, including creating roadmaps for S&T development.

Her national and international evaluations required multidimensional methodologies, including surveys, focus groups, literature reviews, other quantitative analyses as well as site visit interviews, case studies, and peer review panels. She assessed federal programs to enhance research and education at U.S. universities, compared international scientific and technical personnel studies, evaluated federal international cooperative science and technology programs; and analyzed statistics and data related to science, technology, and educational policy issues.

Early on, she used a small core of SRI people and several outside people to form the competent teams needed for this work. Later, she grew the SRI staff that now stands at about 14 people. She helped them broaden to other clients like NIST, DOE, and now NASA. That group is now one of the top three policy evaluation groups in the nation.

In the five years before her death in the summer of 2005, Ailes conducted site visit interviews and focus groups at some 25 colleges and universities across the United States and with government, academic, and industry representatives in a dozen other countries.

Cathie Ailes developed an incredible trust in all her clients to the point that they would tell stories to others about her achievements. She had an uncanny ability to form personal relationships with her clients. She left SRI the legacy of these clients and an internationally respected group of analysts.

John P. McHenry

John McHenry laid a foundation of technology, staff, and operating principles that have had a lasting and positive effect on SRI. Research areas such as instrumentation and simulation, radar technologies, and classified programs nurtured by John are still flourishing today. He also trained many of today’s engineering staff, from VP level individuals to project and task leaders.

When John McHenry first came to SRI, he worked on radar and ballistic missile detection technologies. However, following the end of the Vietnam War, he recognized an important area of research and development for the US Military: combat training systems. Soldiers being deployed were inadequately trained for the environments they would be facing. In response, McHenry established a research program at SRI built around the use of advanced technology for military combat training systems. Beginning in 1972, he grew the program, first into a center and later into a division.

John brought the discipline of systems engineering to SRI. He added staff and capabilities in systems engineering to augment the research and technology development and provide greater value and capability to our clients. He also had a significant role in developing classified programs in support of national security. Bringing together staff from multiple disciplines and groups, McHenry led major programs that delivered important national security capabilities, particularly in surveillance and reconnaissance applications.

John McHenry had a vision for a technology delivery capability that went beyond pure research. He carried his vision forward when he became Vice President of the Systems Development Division in 1986, when he moved over to become Vice President of the Advanced Development Division in 1990, and finally when he became Senior Vice President of the Engineering Research Group in 1992. His emphasis on delivery of technology helped open up many new business areas.

McHenry had a lasting impact on staff at SRI. He was a mentor to many and led by example. If there was a difficult technical problem, he got involved to help craft a solution. If there was a pressing deadline, he was always there with the team for as many hours or days that it took. The staff still seeks his help and counsel today. John McHenry had a distinguished career at SRI, leaving a positive legacy in the Engineering Research area.

Charles Tyson

Charlie Tyson was one of the foremost leaders in the development of in vitro methods of studying the toxicity and metabolism of drugs. He made critical research contributions that established a solid foundation from which this in vitro research has emerged into a totally separate discipline area of toxicology. In his 28 years at SRI, Charlie served as the principal investigator on major multi-year research grants and contracts totaling greater than $30 million.

Charlie Tyson joined SRI in 1977 as a senior biochemist, working on projects in toxicology and pharmacology with James Dilley, Chozo Mitoma, and others. But his vision was to develop in vitro models for toxicity studies, using human tissues to avoid some of the problems involved in use of animals to predict human effects. In 1981, this task began when he was awarded several new grants and contracts from NIH and EPA to develop in vitro models of toxicity and drug metabolism.

Carol Green joined him at that time, she says, to figure out how Tyson, with little in vitro models experience and no NIH track record, had just won three large grants. What she learned was that Charlie Tyson had great persistence, intelligence, drive, and the ability to inspire others. The group’s work under Charlie Tyson’s direction led to in vitro assays that are now routinely used by pharmaceutical companies to select new drug candidates.

Charlie Tyson served as the Associate Director of the Toxicology Laboratory from 1990-1998, bringing in many new clients and large multidisciplinary contracts that were critical to the laboratory’s success. One major success was a long-shot contract for NCI toxicology studies, which has now been renewed for the third time and continues to provide major funding for the Biosciences Division.

In 1997, Charlie began his "semi-retirement" phase. He had recently won a new research grant to expand his work on a lung toxicity model and his team was making excellent progress on an in vitro liver model that could be used to identify drugs with a potential for serious side-effects before treating patients. In 1999, he was awarded the SRI Fellowship for his research accomplishments. He used the Fellowship funds to write new proposals and was successful again. He hired staff and began what continues today as the Advanced In Vitro Toxicology Program. Charlie Tyson was greatly respected by his many colleagues, both at SRI and around the world.