NTIA is honored to report that the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council  (NPSTC) has established the Atkinson Technical Award to commemorate David (DJ) Atkinson, a senior engineer with NTIA’s Institute for Telecommunication Sciences  (ITS) who was recently killed in a tragic motorcycle accident. His death has been a great loss to NTIA and to ITS, NTIA’s research and engineering laboratory, which is located in Boulder, CO.
DJ made an important contribution to the Public Safety Communications Research  (PSCR) program, a joint program run by ITS and the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Office of Law Enforcement Standards to research and develop common technical standards for public safety communications. As part of the PSCR program, DJ led the Public Safety Audio Quality  project at ITS labs.
In announcing the new award, NPSTC said DJ’s work on audio quality and intelligibility guidelines for digital two-way radios helped lead to a “shift within the industry to address issues in loud background noise environments for first responders.” Firefighters who rely on radios built to standards developed through DJ’s work called him “brother,” and many openly credit his work with saving lives.
NPSTC awarded the first Atkinson Technical Award posthumously to DJ at a June 2012 national meeting. Deputy Assistant Secretary and NTIA Deputy Administrator Anna Gomez accepted the award on behalf of DJ’s family.
David (DJ) Atkinson
DJ in full firefighting gear during a training exercise