NEWS | Feb. 22, 2010

Dr. John N. Russell Jr. Recognized for Distinguished Service to AVS

By Amanda Bowie

Dr. John N. Russell Jr., Head of the Naval Research Laboratory's Surface Chemistry Branch in the Chemistry Division is recognized for Distinguished Service to the American Vacuum Society (AVS) for his service as the 2008 President and 2009 Past President. AVS is the Society for the Science and Technology of Materials, Interfaces, and Processing. The Society is one of the premier international professional societies with members from the breadth of academia, government and industry.

As President, Russell demonstrated outstanding leadership and vision in guiding the Society through a period of scientific and organizational transition. A plaque was presented to NRL on behalf of the members of the Society and the Officers and Directors of the AVS in appreciation for allowing Russell to serve the Society, and the broader scientific and technical community, as President of the AVS.

For his valued contributions as President of AVS, Ms Yvonne Towse, AVS Managing Director said of Russell,

During his Presidency, John led the charge on a top-to-bottom review of the organization structure with regard to how the governing committees of AVS operate and report to the Board of Directors. As a result of his efforts a new organizational framework was created which allowed the AVS to retain their current strengths, enable future innovation, empower volunteer talent, improve coordination, and catalyze AVS leadership development without discouraging current AVS volunteers, introducing bureaucracy, or creating unnecessary formality, or loss of valuable AVS attributes. He maintained strong, open lines of communication with all AVS chapter, group, division, and committee chairs, organizing monthly conference calls where he was able to engage everyone in a stimulating discussion and take any needed actions. He was a strong leader and held the reigns firmly, most especially when handling matters of a difficult and sensitive nature.

Under Russell's leadership, the AVS headquarters was relocated to newly-purchased office space in downtown Manhattan; this move has not only given AVS a permanent home in N.Y., but also resulted in significant financial savings for the organization. Russell was a dedicated mentor to AVS senior staff, encouraging their career growth and development. He played an active role in the AVS Symposium and Exhibition, strongly encouraging the Program Chair to introduce new focus topics and the Exhibition Coordinator to incorporate new equipment into the AVS exhibition; both venues proved highly successful.

As the Past President, Russell led the AVS' symposium and conferences activities of the AVS. He also chaired a detailed review of the AVS publications. The review has led to several new initiatives aimed at modernizing the Journal of Vacuum Science and Technology. The impending improvements include web-based submission and peer-review, reorganization of the topical content of the journals, establishment of triage policies in the review process, cover art and technical highlights of a few articles in each issue, and more.

Over the years, Russell has been very active in AVS, enthusiastically taking on roles of Director, Symposium Program Chair, Topical Conference Chair, Symposium Local Arrangements Chair, and Surface Science Division Chair, in addition to serving on numerous Committees such as the AVS Publications Committee and Long Range Projects Group. He then went on to make even greater contributions to AVS as the 2008 President and 2009 Past President.

AVS is a volunteer-driven organization, with a very small staff in offices located in New York, California, and North Carolina. As a Society, the AVS publishes the Journal of Vacuum Science and Technology (JVST), Surface Science Spectra (SSS), and their newest journal, Biointerphases. The AVS also sponsors many activities, including short courses for continuing the education of the scientific community-at-large, an annual International Symposium and Exhibition, topical conferences, educational programs and regional chapters and groups to promote local technical interactions. These activities are guided by volunteers, and it is such volunteerism that keeps the Society dynamic and forward-looking.

Russell is but one in a line of current and former researchers at NRL that serve the AVS in numerous leadership positions. Former NRLers Dr. Jim Murday (Chemistry Division), Mr. Bruce Sartwell (Chemistry Division), and Dr. Christie Marrian (Electronics Science and Technology Division) have served as AVS President. Service to the AVS and other professional societies is one way that the science and engineering professionals at NRL support their respective community and foster the promotion and growth of scientific disciplines in the Nation.