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Five NUWC Division Newport employees win Black Engineer of the Year awards

By NUWC Division Newport Public Affairs | Dec. 31, 2020

NEWPORT, R.I. —

Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Division Newport employees Concepcion Vazquez, Malcolm Lewis, Elijah Kibler, Omar Rivera Morales and Marcus Davis recently won Career Communications Group (CCG) Black Engineer of the Year Award (BEYA) STEM Outstanding Achievement Awards.

Vazquez, Lewis and Kibler won in the Modern-Day Technology Leader category, which recognizes a commitment to shaping the future of STEM fields. Rivera Morales and Davis won in the Science Spectrum Trailblazer category, which honors minority men and women who are actively creating new paths for others in science, research, technology, and development.

Vazquez, of South Kingstown, Rhode Island, head of the Division Newport Information Management Systems Branch in the Undersea Warfare (USW) Combat Systems Department, manages 26 engineers, scientists and technicians who provide software systems engineering, training and logistics support for submarine and surveillance systems. She has helped to shape the future of STEM by mentoring and coaching middle and high school students, coordinated the Puerto Rican table for International Day, and is a founding member and co-lead of the Women in Science and Engineering network. Vazquez was recently selected to serve on the Naval Sea Systems Command’s Inclusion and Engagement Council.

Lewis, of Middletown, Rhode Island, is the cyber lead for the Littoral Combat Ship program in the Sensors and Sonar Systems Department, ensuring that the Navy’s surface ship sonar system is compliant with all cybersecurity requirements and providing recommendations to improve the system’s cyber posture. Lewis was instrumental in receiving a three-year authority to operate authorization from Vice Adm. Thomas Moore for the cyber accreditation package of multiple SQQ-89 fielded variants. As new upgrades for systems emerge, Lewis determines security requirements based on the needs of the warfighter and program sponsor and builds systems around those requirements to maintain security.

From August 2014 to March 2020, Kibler, a resident of Warwick, Rhode Island, was a subject matter expert for the AN/SQQ-89A(V)15 Anti-Submarine Warfare System in the Sensors and Sonar Systems Department, addressing fleet concerns and creating plans for the efficient procurement, maintenance, and replacement of damaged arrays. He delivered on two challenges – how to better handle the location of replacement arrays at Intermediate Maintenance Activity facilities compared to the location of the ship, and training the fleet with options to replace modules on their own, ultimately avoiding the time and cost associated with docking at an Intermediate Maintenance Activity facility.

Rivera Morales, of Portsmouth, Rhode Island, a computer engineer in the USW Weapons, Vehicles and Defensive Systems Department, began his career at Division Newport in 2009. He worked in the Torpedo Systems Department for the Naval Acquisition Intern Program on the development and engineering track; supported multiple USW programs, including heavyweight and lightweight torpedo hardware and software design, development, test and acquisition aspects; and has taken the leadership role on all aspects of undersea weapon system program protection. Based on his superior achievements, he was selected for the highly competitive NUWC Fellowship Program to continue his doctorate studies in parallel hardware architectures.

Davis, of Warwick, Rhode Island, began his Division Newport career in 2004 as a safety practitioner for the Mark 48 Advanced Capability safety program. As he continued to hone his craft, he was elected to be the PMS 404 software safety lead, and was instrumental in guiding the program through Software System Safety Technical Review Panel approvals for several torpedo variants, often under stringent timelines. As submarine weapons system safety program integrator for Program Office (PMS) 450 in Division Newport’s Ranges, Engineering and Analysis Department, Davis is responsible for maintaining the Virginia-class Integrated Hazard Tracking Database, developing system-of-systems integrated safety assessments, and coordinating with various participating manager safety programs to develop technical data packages. In 2016, Davis’ role expanded to include the PMS 450 principal for safety, becoming the primary point of contact for all safety issues across all Virginia-class submarines.

All of the winners will be honored during the 2021 BEYA STEM Virtual Conference to be held Feb. 11-13. For more information, visit https://intouch.ccgmag.com/page/beya-stem-conference

NUWC Division Newport is a shore command of the U.S. Navy within the Naval Sea Systems Command, which engineers, builds and supports America’s fleet of ships and combat systems. NUWC Newport provides research, development, test and evaluation, engineering and fleet support for submarines, autonomous underwater systems, undersea offensive and defensive weapons systems, and countermeasures associated with undersea warfare.

NUWC Newport is the oldest warfare center in the country, tracing its heritage to the Naval Torpedo Station established on Goat Island in Newport Harbor in 1869. Commanded by Capt. Chad Hennings, NUWC Newport maintains major detachments in West Palm Beach, Florida, and Andros Island in the Bahamas, as well as test facilities at Seneca Lake and Fisher's Island, New York, Leesburg, Florida, and Dodge Pond, Connecticut.

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