Tunnel 9 director receives high honor from LABQUEST

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Dan Marren, director of AEDC's White Oak site in Silver Spring, Md., was recently named LABQUEST's 'Person of the Year' for 2010.

Chairperson of the LABQUEST Partnership Betsy Bretz said Marren is a great person of the year selection for the LABQUEST partnership.

"This year will be an important year in the development of the Federal Research Center and the consolidation of the Food and Drug Administration," Bretz said. "We salute 'Dan the Man' for his many outstanding leadership qualities, his courage, his enthusiasm for Tunnel 9 and his understanding and love of science - the reason we are all here."

"As director of the White Oak site, it is important to maintain the USAF [United States Air Force] mission, be a good steward of taxpayer dollars and honor our partnership with the community in which we live," Marren said. "Our involvement and contribution to the success of the entire Federal Research Center is important and one I take quite seriously. While I'm humbled by the selection, I hope the coming year continues to see great collaborations between AEDC and the FDA [Food and Drug Administration] that will serve to strengthen our nation's science and keep the community proud of our continued contributions."

Marren is responsible for all operations at White Oak including the hypervelocity ground test capabilities. He serves as the lead for hypersonic systems in the 704th Test Group and provides technical leadership and strategic direction in identifying future high-speed needs and innovative strategies to support advanced test facilities, systems and equipment.

This honor is not only important to Marren professionally, but personally as well.

"Personally, this is quite an honor. While my part and effort for LABQUEST is quite small compared to the entirety of the effort, it was exciting to think that others feel my contributions are worthwhile," he said. "Certainly, the level of contacts at LABQUEST, which range from working-level government agencies to agency leads and senators, allows me to easily access people empowered to solve challenges that come up with a single phone call. This level of professional contact makes the completion of our mission here that much easier."

Being the humble person he is Marren knows this honor couldn't have been bestowed without all the others who are involved.

"Most importantly, it tells me that Tunnel 9 is clearly seen as a critical component to the Federal Research Center at White Oak," he said. "Even though we are only around 30 people out of 10,000, it's comforting to see acknowledgement of the importance of what we do and the level of understanding by the community."

Each year, LABQUEST dedicates the coming year to a LABQUEST member who has distinguished themselves through activities and support to the common project.

According to Marren, the LABQUEST partnership is a community-led government and private partnership that for the past 18 years has directed a vision for the White Oak Federal Research Center to excel in science.

LABQUEST is credited for transforming the White Oak Federal Research Center from a Navy base to a world-class research campus housing both the FDA and AEDC's Hypervelocity wind tunnel.

"Championing the selection of the FDA as the anchor tenant and securing a spot for the world unique hypervelocity wind tunnel has been a long standing vision of the partnership," Marren said.