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NEWS | March 22, 2021

NSWCPD Commences National Engineers Week with Virtual Kickoff Event

By Brentan Debysingh, NSWCPD Corporate Communications NSWCPD

Naval Surface Warfare Center, Philadelphia Division (NSWCPD) celebrated National Engineers Week (NEW) (February 21-27) starting with a Virtual Kick-Off Event featuring Dr. Tom Drake, head of Ocean Battlespace and Expeditionary Access Department at the Office of Naval Research (ONR) on Feb. 23, 2021.

Drake leads the department responsible for Navy and Marine Corps basic and applied research in oceanography, meteorology, the coastal sciences, ocean acoustics, Arctic and global prediction, remote sensing and marine mammals as well as applied research and advanced technology development in mine, information and undersea warfare areas. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a doctorate from University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

Founded by the National Society of Professional Engineers in 1951, NEW is a celebration of the difference that engineers make in our world, highlighting the need for engineers and providing a chance to bring engineering to life for students and educators. NSWCPD uses the week to celebrate its workforce, host respected speakers, and engage with the next generation of naval engineers through a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) session.

NSWCPD Chief Engineer (CHENG) Scott Freedner started the event by sharing an update on numerous engineering NSWCPD accomplishments over the prior year.

Then NSWCPD Commanding Officer Capt. Dana Simon praised the great work of NSWCPD engineers, saying “Our engineers are responsible for maintaining nearly every system within our fleet. Each of you is the reason our fleet is powerful, safe, and reliable. The nation is grateful for everything you do.”

“Engineers inspire wonder, and that’s what we do every day,” continued Simon. “That’s a testament to everyone’s commitment to creating and maintaining a high standard of excellence. Given the pandemic, you’ve remained flexible and adaptable to support the sailors. Your accomplishments don’t go unnoticed. Your dedication to constantly innovate makes our Navy better and strengthens our naval superiority around the world.”

Simon took a moment to recognize Dan Miller, who is NSWCPD’s longest serving engineer with 42 years of service. He also welcomed NSWCPD’s newest engineers Tom Thomas and Kyle Peachy, both mechanical engineers.

In his remarks, Drake shared more about his childhood in Tacoma, Wash, his educational background/career pathway, and insights on how ONR connects with warfare centers.

Drake’s appreciation for the Navy began as a child. He noted, “I went to Bremerton shipyard during a field trip. I was on the USS. Missouri, and thought ‘Wow it must be incredible when the guns are firing off!’ Those things left a big impression on me.”

While attending MIT for geology, he took advantage of an opportunity to spend a week onboard a ship for an oceanographic cruise. After being “tossed around on a big ship in 10-foot swells, I was miserable and realized my career would be on terra firma,” he remembered.

In addition, Drake mentioned that the ONR funded his postdoctoral fellowship at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, part of the University of California at San Diego, and also at North Carolina State University, where he taught for eight years before moving to ONR. He shared a detailed slideshow that explained the ONR Research portfolios and focuses, the ONR research facilities, the research vessels, and a quick overview of the global extent of ONR research.

After his presentation, Drake answered questions from the audience for 15 minutes. Freedner and NSWCPD Technical Director Tom Perotti, concluded the event by thanking Drake and sharing their insights.

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.