The Radio Club of America has announced this year’s award recipients, as well as its incoming class of 2023 Fellows. Since 1935, RCA has recognized major contributors to wireless communications. This year, 13 awards are being presented, and eight RCA members are being elevated to Fellow status.
The 2023 awards and Fellows ceremonies will be held at the RCA Awards Banquet in Denver, CO, at the Hyatt Regency on Nov. 18, 2023.
Founded in 1909, the Radio Club of America is a 501(c)(3) organization comprised of wireless communications professionals.
Receiving the Jay Kitchen Leadership Award, NATE President & CEO Todd Schlekeway will be recognized by RCA as “an individual who embodies the following characteristics: energetic advocacy, cooperation, avid interest and respect for all, and humor, and for someone who has achieved a high level of success leading a wireless association, government agency, or commercial enterprise.”
Schlekeway has overseen the doubling of NATE’s membership growth from 563 in 2012 when he became Executive Director. Although he’ll emphasize that it is a team effort, the association’s trade show attendance climbed yearly from 854 in 2012 to this year’s record-breaking 2,843.
With skills as a former South Dakota state legislator, Schlekeway has guided the Infrastructure Contractors Association to maintain its powerful influence with legislators, OSHA, the FCC, and other government agencies. This year’s NATE members converging in Washington D.C. to participate in the association’s Congressional Fly-In event on Capitol Hill will pay considerable dividends to NATE members after company representatives participated in individual meetings with members of Congress and their respective policy staff to educate them about the pivotal roles NATE members play in supporting America’s communications infrastructure.
Karen Clark will receive RCA’s President’s Award to honor her as an individual who has “demonstrated unselfish dedication to work of the Radio Club of America”.
Clark, a sales representative and advertising coordinator for AGL Information and Technology, has over 20 years of experience in B2B telecommunications and is a member of the Colorado Wireless Association.
Her RCA support is well known. She was the Executive Secretary for the RCA for a number of years and was elected a Fellow in 2004. Clark received the Special Services Award in 2002, Special Recognition Award in 2013, and has served on several RCA committees. She has served on the Board of Directors for the past three years.
AGL’s RCA roots run deep. Executive Editor Don Bishop was elected a Fellow in 1988, received its President’s Award in 1993, and served on its Board of Directors for nine years.
RCA award recipients have “dedicated significant time and talent” toward the advancement or preservation of skills that advance the wireless industry, according to RCA. The awards are grouped in two broad categories: public awards for anyone involved in wireless, and member awards that are restricted to RCA members. RCA said it elevates members to fellow status based on the individual’s contributions to RCA “and to the art and sciences of wireless or broadcast communications.” Nominations are accepted from anyone in the wireless industry.
Past award recipients include include Edwin Armstrong, Martin Cooper, Jay Kitchen, Fred Link, Ted Rappaport and Henry Richter, among others.
2023 Award Recipients
RCA’s first award was presented to Major Edward H. Armstrong for his invention of circuits that made AM and FM radio possible, and for Major Armstrong’s lifetime of championing work that established the foundation for modern radio technology. The award, now known as the Armstrong Medal, is only bestowed when an individual has demonstrated excellence and made lasting contributions to the arts and sciences of radio.
Eugene Tan – Jerry B. Minter Award
This award, established in 1996, recognizes innovative work in instrumentation, avionics and electronics.
Lynn Bisha – Ralph Batcher Memorial Award
Established in 1976, this award is presented to an RCA member for their significant work in preserving the history of radio and electronic communications.
Steven Nichols – Edgar F. Johnson Pioneer Citation
Established in 1975, this award recognizes long-time RCA members who have either made noteworthy contributions to the success of RCA or to the radio industry. Originally known as the Pioneer Citation, this award was later named in honor of Edgar F. Johnson, the founder of radio manufacturer E.F. Johnson.
Ted Henry – Alfred H. Grebe Award
Established in 1994, the Alfred H. Grebe Award recognizes significant achievements of excellence in the engineering and manufacturing of radio equipment.
Alan Tilles – RCA Special Recognition Award
Initiated in 2000, this award is given in recognition of dedicated service to the Radio Club of America.
Ray Novak – RCA Special Services Award
The Special Services Award was established in 1975 to recognize those RCA members who have performed significant work to advance the goals and objectives of the Radio Club of America.
Chuck Soulliard – Lee de Forest Award
The Lee de Forest Award, originated in 1983, is presented to an individual who has made significant contributions to the advancement of radio communications.
Steve Floyd – Sarnoff Citation
The Sarnoff Citation, established in 1973 and named after Radio Corporation of America’s David Sarnoff, recognizes exceptional contributions of a technical or non-technical nature to the advancement of electronic communications.
Tim Duffy and DX Systems – RCA Small Business Award
This award recognizes an entrepreneurial business that produces a product for the wireless industry or provides a service to the wireless industry. It is awarded in 2023 in recognition of many contributions made to both the Radio Club of America and the wireless industry.
Todd Schlekeway – Jay Kitchen Leadership Award
Established in 2019, this award recognizes an individual who embodies the following characteristics: energetic advocacy, cooperation, avid interest and respect for all, and humor, and for someone who has achieved a high level of success leading a wireless association, government agency, or commercial enterprise.
Karen Clark – President’s Award
This award was established in 1974 to honor individuals who, in the opinion of the president, have demonstrated unselfish dedication to the work of the Radio Club of America.
Ruth Willet – Carole Perry Young Professional Award
A new award in 2023, the Carole Perry Young Professional Award was established to honor a young professional who was part of the RCA Youth Activities Program in their formative years and who has gone on to a career in wireless science.
2023 RCA Fellows
Elevation to fellow is made by invitation to members who are in good standing for at least five years, in recognition of their contributions to the art and science of radio communications, broadcast or to RCA, said the organization.
The following RCA members are elevated to fellow status in 2023:
Angela R. Batey
Jon Paul Beauchamp
Walter (Tom) Loughney Jr.
Micheal J. Pappas
Chester “Barney” Scholl
Inaugural Awards Named in 2023
Dr. Ulrich Rohde will be honored by the Radio Club of America with the inauguration of a new award in 2023: “Dr. Ulrich L. Rohde Award for Innovation in Applied Radio Science and Engineering.” The award recognizes his significant contributions to innovation in the wireless industry and will inspire future generations of wireless professionals. The first recipient of the new award will be named in 2024.
Dr. Arno A. Penzias will be honored by the Radio Club of America with the inauguration of a new award in 2023: “Dr. Arno A. Penzias Award for Contributions to Basic Research in the Radio Sciences.” The award recognizes his significant contributions to basic research involving RF and related subjects and will inspire future generations of scientific professionals. The first recipient of the new award will be named in 2024.