When the arduous task of selecting a winner for the Knuth Award arrives every year, the intent is to name an employee that embodies the ideals and attitude of retired Honeywell FM&T President Jack Knuth. It is a recognition that must go to a person that fosters a spirit of openness, teamwork, mutual respect and integrity, just as Knuth did during his 33 years serving the mission at the Kansas City National Security Campus. This year, the selection committee bestowed the honor to a person who meets, and regularly exceeds, each of these criteria and strives for the continuous improvement of his colleagues and the organization as a whole. On Feb. 4, Chief Engineer Rob Steinhoff was named the 2020 Knuth Award winner during the Town Hall meeting with Honeywell FM&T President Eric Wollerman.
Considered one of the organization’s top honors, the award was first presented to its namesake Jack Knuth in 1990. During his tenure as an engineer, supervisor, manager, director and finally as president, he was committed to improving the quality of life on the job and in the community. This award is a continuous reminder of the positive influences that Knuth made during his career as president. The award program was created after Jack’s retirement in 1990 and sought nominees that fit the following description: “a leader in creating and sustaining an atmosphere of continuous improvement, a person who works hard to integrate quality in every facet of work life, a customer service advocate, a booster of individual and team contributions, and a constant champion of improving the quality of life not only on the job, but in the community as well.”
“In thinking about the Knuth Award, it strikes me that Jack Knuth and Rob have similar styles - listening, coaching, mentoring and leading,” said Engineering Vice President Robin Stubenhofer. “They are both ‘people’ people who strive to bring out the best in those that they work with.”
Steinhoff, whose career of over 40 years at KCNSC began in 1981, has significant expertise in machining processes, gear manufacturing, complex device assembly/testing processes, and failure analysis.
“Rob is patient and he focuses on the best outcome for all parties,” Stubenhofer continued. “He has been on both sides of the business having spent time at Sandia National Laboratories in a designer role and many years at the KCNSC moving things from development to production; this has given him a unique perspective.”
Steinhoff’s capabilities as a leader have also been displayed in a number of areas that have reached several departments throughout the organization. From a technical perspective he has led tactical and strategic planning for technologies and products, as well as staffing and resource planning. Simply put, he was a major player in all efforts related to these activities. He has worked closely with management to identify skill gaps and proposed staffing needs, working with project leads and identifying opportunities for technical staff.
It is evident that throughout his time at the KCNSC, Steinhoff has a long track record of keeping his commitments and demonstrating teaming, leadership, and a passion for continuous improvement. These elements strike at the core of what this award and Jack Knuth stand for, making Steinhoff truly deserving of this outstanding achievement.
Please join us in congratulating Rob on this great honor!