Dewayne Whitfield ’16 (Design Leadership MA/MBA) Receives U.S. Department of Energy Excellence Award

MICA alum Dewayne Whitfield ’16 (Design Leadership MA/MBA) was awarded the 2022 US Department of Energy's Excellence Award. An information technology specialist in the Office of the Chief Information Officer, Whitfield was recognized for his use of artificial intelligence (AI) to help the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization meet the Department's ambitious small business goals.

His work included analyzing three years of customer data and using a machine learning technique called topic modelling to determine reoccurring requests. In doing so, Whitfield created a human-centered design process called AI Design Sprint that resulted in conversational AI—a web-based text tool used to alleviate intake and query burdens—as well as a small business smart search prototype which replaced an “antiquated method of organizing data.”  The smart search prototype added speed and efficiency to search the database by capabilities, socioeconomic group, certifications, and previous experience. During the project’s pilot phase, the chat tool saved 188 hours per month, with an estimated $14k savings per month.

Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm celebrated the 2022 Secretary’s Honor Awards recipients, which included a group of 44 teams and five individuals representing every corner of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The annual Secretary’s Honor Awards are among the highest forms of internal recognition DOE’s Federal and contractor employees can receive and recognize those who make go above and beyond in service to the country and making lasting impacts on the Department and the country.

“I hope that our awardees derive as much enjoyment from their work as the pride we draw from their contributions,” said Secretary Granholm. “But I suspect that what ultimately motivates them is service to their country and the members of their community.”