T. Adrian Hill, a software engineer from The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Md., was recently named Engineer of the Year by the Baltimore chapter of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). Hill is the third Lab employee in four years to earn this distinction; past APL winners include aerospace engineers Robin Vaughan (2004) and Steve D'Alessio (2003).
Each year, local AIAA chapters present this award to a member who has made significant contributions to the field of engineering. Hill was cited for his work on APL space programs. He serves as the fault protection and autonomy lead for both the MESSENGER (MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging) mission to orbit Mercury and the New Horizons mission to explore Pluto and the Kuiper Belt. Mission managers say his dedication, expertise and problem-solving talents have been critical to the success of both missions.
Hill shares this year's honor with co-winner Michael Nusca of the U.S. Army Research Laboratory. As local AIAA chapter winners, both Hill and Nusca are eligible for a regional citation, which if received would qualify them to compete for AIAA's National Engineer of the Year award. Baltimore chapter winners are also submitted to the Engineering Society of Baltimore to compete with representatives from other professional societies for the title of Baltimore Engineer of the Year.
Hill is a member of the APL Principal Professional Staff and holds a master's degree in computer science from The Johns Hopkins University. He joined APL's Space Department in 2000 and resides in Laurel, Md.