Panama City Engineer Receives Navy Top Scientists, Engineers of the Year Award


WASHINGTON (NNS) — A Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division (NSWC PCD) electrical engineer was among 22 individuals and five groups who received a top Navy award.

NSWC PCD Senior Scientist Dr. J. Tory Cobb, a native of Anniston, Alabama, received the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition (ASN RD&A) Dr. Delores M. Etter Top Scientists and Engineers for the Year 2016 Award in a ceremony at the Pentagon, July 13.

Cobb said he was surprised and humbled when he learned he received the award.

“I was surprised and humbled when NSWC PCD Technical Director Ed Stewart told me the news,” said Cobb. “It is gratifying to see that your work makes a difference, and being recognized like this is a real career highlight.”

In a statement from Principal Civilian Deputy ASN RD&A Allison F. Stiller, she said that the selection process was competitive and submissions demonstrated professionalism and scientific and engineering achievement.

“Individual, group and emergent investigator awardees should be very proud of their accomplishments. The technical excellence of their achievements and their payoff to the Department of the Navy is significant,” said Stiller. “The selection process is highly competitive. Each submission impressively demonstrated high levels of professionalism and scientific and engineering achievement.”

Cobb will receive the award for his outstanding scientific contributions and technical breakthroughs in the development of automated target recognition (ATR), seabed modeling and segmentation algorithms for mine hunting sensors and technical leadership in the transition of ATR technology.

Cobb is an internationally recognized expert in the field of ATR, selected by fellow researchers to serve as an associate editor of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Journal of Oceanic Engineering, and selected by NSWC PCD to represent the U.S. Navy in the NATO Joint Research Program.

Cobb said this award is a realization of a long-term science and technology initiative to bring ATR to fleet mine countermeasure systems.

“This award is an acknowledgment that ATR algorithms researched, developed and integrated here in Panama City are being transitioned to fleet systems. I am only a small part of this effort. The current software prototypes are the result of years of Office of Naval Research and Naval Sea Systems Command investment. I’ve been working in this area for [more than] 15 years and some of the early researchers who built the scientific foundations for this work have since retired,” said Cobb. “I’m pleased that we’re getting recognized because of our persistence and our belief that this technology will aid our Sailors.”

Cobb, a Weaver High School graduate, received a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in 1994, Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from Auburn University in 2001, and a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Florida in 2011.

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