Price pulls pieces together to help create revolutionary rescue technology

Listen to John Price’s interview on Federal Drive with Tom Temin.

During the aftermath of the Nepal earthquake, rescue personnel used a revolutionary new device developed by the Homeland Security Department and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory to detect survivors trapped under debris.

John B. Price, program manager at DHS’ Science and Technology Directorate, worked with scientists at NASA-JPL to create FINDER, which is short for Finding Individuals for Disaster and Emergency Response.  The portable, low radar tool allows first responders to detect victims trapped under rubble, and who may be unconscious and unable to call for help.

Price acted as a bridge between scientists and first responders to develop the life-saving technology.

“We’ve invested in this deep space exploration technology and people wonder, ‘Why are we doing that?’” said Jeri Buchholz, the chief human capital officer at NASA. “This is an example of how the very challenging technical problems we solve in space can actually have real-life implications on our planet.”

She said that Price “pulled people from different areas, different agencies, different levels of government, from first responders and the military to scientists and engineers, to work together to find a practical solution to a very difficult problem.”

For his efforts in bringing all the pieces together to create the FINDER technology, the Partnership for Public Service recently name Price as a finalist for  the 2015 Homeland Security and Law Enforcement  Medal. The award recognizes federal employees who have made important contributions in the area of homeland security and law enforcement. This includes border and transportation security, civil rights, counterterrorism, emergency response, fraud prevention and intelligence.

Getting to know John B. Price

Federal News Radio asked each of the Sammies finalists questions about themselves. Here are Price’s responses:

What three words best describe your leadership philosophy?

 Participative, Consultative, Innovative

What’s the best piece of advice (or words of wisdom) you’ve ever received and who gave it to you?

“Success in not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.”  — A quote from Winston Churchill, which I picked up in my readings about leadership.

Who is your greatest role model and why?

 Winston Churchill — He had a long, distinguished career mixed with both successes and setbacks.  However, he never stopped striving to move forward and achieved the greatest of all successes by saving his country and the free world from the clutches of tyranny during World War II.

What’s the last thing you read and what’s next on your reading list?

Who would you most like to have lunch with and why?

Winston Churchill — I would like to ask him how he so clearly saw and understood the risks to the world that others neither recognized nor understood.


The Homeland Security and Law Enforcement Medal is just one of the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals (Sammies) presented annually by the Partnership for Public Service. View a photo gallery of all the Sammies nominees.

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