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NEWS | Feb. 15, 2021

NSWCPD Hosts Inaugural Virtual Speed Mentoring Event

By Brentan Debysingh, NSWCPD Corporate Communications NSWCPD

Mentors play an important role in life. They provide guidance and recommendations. They empower and encourage. They help people of all ages and walks of life to find and follow their passions, and provide a push in achieving their goals.

Understanding the inherent value in mentorship and with virtual events becoming the norm, the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Philadelphia Division (NSWCPD) Workforce Development and Training (WFD) Branch hosted their inaugural Virtual Speed Mentoring Event on Jan. 27.

Susan Rhinehart-Roberson, NSWCPD WFD branch head, organized the 90-minute event that connected 50 participants -25 mentees and 25 mentors. The mentors, who ranged from 10 to 40 plus years of civilian service experience, hailed from across the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) spectrum including NSWCPD, NSWC Corona, NSWC Crane, NSWC Dahlgren, NSWC Port Hueneme, NSWC Indian Head, NAVSEA Headquarters, Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Newport, NUWC Keyport and Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC).

The event began with a general introduction by NSWCPD Advanced Machinery Systems Integration branch mechanical engineer, Dr. Felicia Powell, then broke out into six individual 10-minute sessions, and wrapped up with a 14-minute general session where the group reconvened for final comments.

During the individual sessions, mentees chose from a variety of mentoring booths and were paired with a potential mentor. Together they engaged in ten-minute conversations where they both learned about each other’s backgrounds and goals. Afterward, the connections were evaluated for future potential pairings as an official mentor/mentee relationship.

Attending the virtual event proved greatly beneficial for the mentees and their careers.

"I was able to meet four out of six mentors and their feedback and advice were great. As a result, I not only have a better career plan, but also have a better understanding on how to develop my skillsets by taking advantage of the many programs and opportunities offered at NAVSEA," said mentee Victor M. Moreno, Aegis Athena Reliability Engineer at NSWC Port Hueneme.

Rhinehart-Roberson recognized not only the uniqueness of the event, but also its potential, saying “The event went well for the first time in the enterprise. As the coordinator, I was excited about the participation of our enterprise partners to make this event a truly unique event for example, having the opportunity to “chat” with a team member that you might otherwise not have access to due to geographic location, such as a west coast enterprise team.”

NSWCPD Technical Director Tom Perotti participated as a mentor in the virtual engagement and praised the participants as well as the value of the event.

“Trailblazing these types of opportunities takes passion and perseverance - and leadership. Your service here is key to growing the enterprise's mentoring competency in support of NAVSEA's priority to build a team to compete and win,” said Perotti.

NSWC Corona Division Deputy Technical Director Rich Caccese added, “Thanks to your team for organizing today's Speed Mentoring session. This was my first time doing this virtually and it exceeded my expectations! Nice job to the entire Philadelphia team and enjoyed seeing the Warfare Center leading such an important effort!”

With all innovative and technically challenging events, a few minor obstacles had to be overcome, but they all served as a learning environment for future sessions.

“This type of event required us to do dry run sessions with the support team in order to develop guidelines on movement and other requirements for the event to be successful,” noted Rhinehart-Roberson. “The feedback provided after the event will allow us to better refine the processes for the next event.”

The WFD branch seeks to expand the event by conducting a NAVSEA Speed Mentoring session quarterly. The next event is tentatively planned for May 2021.

NSWCPD employs approximately 2,700 civilian engineers, scientists, technicians, and support personnel. The NSWCPD team does the research and development, test and evaluation, acquisition support, and in-service and logistics engineering for the non-nuclear machinery, ship machinery systems, and related equipment and material for Navy surface ships and submarines. NSWCPD is also the lead organization providing cybersecurity for all ship systems.