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Posted 2/2/2015

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By By Kerry Larsen, ERDC Public Affairs

VICKSBURG, Miss. - Dr. Jerry Ballard has been selected to lead the Computational Science and Engineering Division at the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC)’s Information Technology Laboratory (ITL).  The selection of Ballard, who worked in ERDC’s Geotechnical and Structures Laboratory (GSL) prior to accepting his new position, was announced Jan. 8 by ITL Director Dr. Reed Mosher.

“I am thankful for the opportunities and experiences that ERDC has and continues to offer me,” said Ballard. “I started work here as a contract student cleaning large computer tape drives at Structures Lab.  At the time, I never imagined that I would be here 25 years later; I was just happy that they were letting me play with and program computers.

“My work at ERDC has allowed me to work across the nation and world with outstanding scientists and engineers in exciting research challenges,” Ballard continued. “Throughout these experiences, I continually see that the ERDC has the best multi-disciplinary group of researchers in the Department of Defense (DOD).”

Since 2009, Ballard served as the associate technical director for military engineering, force projection and maneuver support within GSL.  After beginning his ERDC career in 1986 as a contract student, Ballard’s years of research covered a variety of topics including the physics of remote sensing; geospatial modeling and analysis of natural resources systems; scene simulation and scene synthesis; geospatial accuracy assessment; terrestrial thermal modeling; geospatial environmental characterization; longwave thermal infrared spectral properties of soil; and smart weapons modeling and simulation.  In addition, Ballard worked as a research computer scientist in ERDC’s Environmental Laboratory from 1989 through 2009.

Ballard holds a bachelor’s in computer science and a master’s in mathematics, both from Mississippi College, as well as a doctorate in computational engineering from Mississippi State University.  He has garnered significant recognition for his work, including the U.S. Army ERDC Vogel Award, the Army Meritorious and Superior Civilian Service Awards, the Army Research and Development Award and the ERDC Director’s Research and Development Award, among others.  Ballard was a Service to America finalist in 2008, and is also a member of the Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers and Sigma Xi.

“My plan is to promote and encourage the continued educational development of our employees,” said Ballard.  “The Computational Science and Engineering Division has one of the largest groups of new employees at ERDC with bachelor’s degrees.  To maintain and increase our research and development competitiveness, we must encourage our workforce to pursue and complete advanced degrees. 

“I also intend to continue to expand our technical leadership into additional business areas while continuing to grow our current research capabilities,” added Ballard. “Our new collaborative effort with Mississippi State University that initiated the Institute for Systems Engineering Research (ISER) is an example of how we are expanding into new areas.  The goal of ISER’s efforts and products is to mitigate risk, reduce cost and improve efficiency in DOD acquisition programs; to serve as an additional asset for the state’s industrial base for systems engineering-related tasks, and create an environment that draws Pentagon and civilian industry development to the state of Mississippi.”

Ballard resides in Vicksburg with his wife and two children.  He serves as a mentor for the ERDC-sponsored high school robotics team, Team 456.  He also volunteers as a science fair judge for the local school district, and is an adjunct professor of mathematics at Mississippi College.   He is the author or co-author of more than 80 technical reports, journal articles and conference presentations.