REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- Two engineers at the Redstone Test Center who do specialized technical work have been brought from behind their desks for recognition.

Bill Barber and Dr. Mike Hale will receive an annual award in May from the Institute of Environmental Sciences and Technology for writing the best technical paper published by the institute during the preceding year. The 2014 Maurice Simpson Award will be presented by institute president Greg Winn during the annual Environmental Sciences Technical Meeting and Exposition from May 13-16 in San Antonio, Texas.

"It's a reflection on RTC's commitment to continually push the state of the art in environmental tests," Barber, a mechanical engineer, said.

Both work at Test Area 2. Published in the institute's journal last October, their 14-page technical paper was titled "Evaluation of Vibration References with Equivalent Kurtosis and Dissimilar Amplitude Probability Densities." Each paper is reviewed by the authors' peers before publication. The award winner is selected from more than 100 papers, including about 10 which appear in the journal published twice annually and others considered from at-large.

"It's encouraging to see that the work is recognized by the technical community," Hale said, "and that we're able to improve testing techniques and expertise in support of the Soldier."

Barber and Hale co-wrote their paper in support of work they were doing reflecting enhancements in military standards.

"Bill and I are considered experimental developers for RTC," Hale said. "And in that role, we are expected to research the state of the art environmental tests and incorporate test equipment as necessary in support of new technology."

Barber, 44, has worked at Redstone Test Center about 25 years, the past 22 as an Army employee. He was a co-op student a few years in college then worked as a contractor before joining the government. The Houston, Texas, native resides with his family in Toney. He received a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Auburn in 1992 and a master's from the University of Alabama in Huntsville in 2005.

He and his wife, Tammy, have an 8-year-old daughter, Katie. He also has a stepson, David Blackwood, 33, of Madison, and stepdaughter, Anna Blackwood, 32, of Toney, and three grandchildren. Barber said his hobbies are "yard work and family."

He said his career goal is "continuing this type of research."

Hale, 53, has worked at RTC for more than 30 years. Originally from Columbus, Ga., he received a bachelor's in electrical engineering from Auburn in 1983 and a master's and doctorate from the University of Alabama in Huntsville in 1992 and 1998, respectively. Hale and his wife, Lydia, reside in Huntsville with their two daughters, Emily, 13, and Olivia, 10. He enjoys attending his daughters' sports events and playing golf.

"My goals would be to continue to research and advance the state of the art of environmental test -- what I've been doing my whole career," Hale said.

"It's been a privilege to work at RTC over the years and both of us hope to continue to contribute."