WASHINGTON, May 8, 2014 – The Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) today announced that James A. Kutzner is the 2014 recipient of the organization’s highest technical honor, the Bernard J. Lechner Outstanding Contributor Award. The presentation was made today during the ATSC Broadcast Television Conference at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center.
Kutzner retired earlier this year as Senior Director of Advanced Technology at PBS, where he managed engineering and technical projects within PBS. Kutzner is a past member of the ATSC Board and he chaired the ATSC Technology and Standards Group 3 on the development of the next-generation ATSC 3.0 standard. He holds a Masters degree in Engineering Management from George Washington University and a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering degree from the University of Minnesota.
The Lechner Award is bestowed once a year to an individual representative of the membership whose technical and leadership contributions to the ATSC have been invaluable and exemplary. The title of the award recognizes the first recipient, Bernard Lechner, for his outstanding services to the ATSC. The award winner is selected by the Board of Directors and presented at the ATSC’s spring meeting. Lechner passed away a few weeks ago after a long career in TV technology.
“Throughout his career Jim Kutzner brought his outstanding technical and management skills to the table to advance broadcast TV technology. He is a thoughtful, conscientious leader whose calm and steady presence has facilitated industry agreement,” said ATSC President Mark Richer. “Jim’s leadership in ATSC has been extraordinary,” Richer said. Kutzner served as Vice Chair, ATSC Implementation Subcommittee; Chair of our ATSC T3/S9 Subgroup on Field Testing and also Chair of the ATSC Ad Hoc Group on DTV Field Test Measurement and Methodology. On yet another project, as Chair of the ATSC 3.0 Planning Team, Jim led ATSC’s efforts to identify the opportunities and challenges that would be brought about by the development of a next-generation DTV system. Then, as Chair of Technology Group 3, Jim successfully launched the development of ATSC 3.0.
Kutzner served as PBS’ Chief Engineer and managed systems engineering and technical support for more than a decade, playing a prominent role in the redevelopment of PBS with an eye towards supply chain management from suppliers, through PBS, to customers. He led and managed the development and implementation of the next-generation public television interconnection system.
Previously, Kutzner was senior technology director of the Advanced Television Technology Center in the Washington area, managing and conducting digital TV research and demonstration projects at the very beginning of the digital TV transition.
Kutzner worked twice for Twin Cities Public Television in St. Paul, Minnesota, working his way from technician to supervisor and chief engineer from 1973 to 1989. His first stint at PBS was a three-year term in the early 1990’s as Associate Director of Engineering. Jim returned to the Twin Cities as VP of Operations and Engineering for that public broadcaster from 1993 to 1997, where he led a staff of more than 60 full time employees handling all aspects of technology.
In addition to his public TV and Advanced Television Test Center service, Kutzner was director of engineering for Comark Digital Services/Thomcast Communications where he initiated the company’s new systems integration division and managed engineering and integration staff and projects to complete customer digital TV installations.
Kutzner is a Fellow of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and also a frequent contributor of papers and presentations about digital TV to the National Association of Broadcasters, SMPTE, and IEEE.
ATSC is a membership organization with both voting and observer categories. Voting members include corporations, nonprofit organizations, and government entities, and they participate actively in the work of ATSC. Observers are individuals or entities not eligible to be a voting member.
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The Advanced Television Systems Committee, Inc., is an international, non-profit organization developing voluntary standards and recommended practices for digital terrestrial broadcasting. ATSC member organizations represent the broadcast, broadcast equipment, motion picture, consumer electronics, computer, cable, satellite, and semiconductor industries. ATSC also develops digital terrestrial broadcasting implementation strategies and supports educational activities on ATSC standards.