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NEWS | July 6, 2023

NSWCPD Celebrates AAPI Heritage Month with NAVSEA Cybersecurity Technical Director Steve Lee

By Gary Ell

Naval Surface Warfare Center, Philadelphia Division (NSWCPD) hosted its annual Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month Observance featuring keynote speaker Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Cybersecurity Technical Director Steve Lee on May 24, 2023.

As the NAVSEA Chief Engineer’s Deputy Warranting Officer for Cybersecurity and Anti-Tamper, Lee executes technical authority over these areas in support of NAVSEA Program Executive Offices, Directorates, and Warfare Centers.

Emceed by Derek Diep, chairperson of the NSWCPD Naval Asian Society Employee Resource Group (NASERG), the event featured Lee’s personal journey, as well as his life experiences and perspectives about leadership development.

“May is AAPI Heritage Month and it provides us with a great opportunity to reflect on the vast contributions and achievements of Asian American and Pacific Islanders, as well as Native Hawaiians, throughout the Navy, across the Nation, and around the world,” Diep said. “It also gives us an opportunity to reflect on the challenges still faced by AAPI communities, and recommit to making the American dream a reality for all.”

During his command welcome address, NSWCPD Commanding Officer Capt. Joseph Darcy took a moment to acknowledge this year’s theme, “Advancing Leaders through Opportunity”.

“This theme highlights the importance of providing equal access and opportunities for AAPI leaders to succeed and make a positive impact in their communities,” Darcy said.

“The AAPI community has made incredible contributions throughout the Navy’s history showcasing resilience, determination and the willingness to break barriers,” he continued. “From Sailors to flag officers, to engineers and scientists, AAPI individuals have harnessed opportunities, embraced challenges and emerged as leaders in their respective domains.”

Lee kicked off his presentation by describing his early life as a child of Taiwanese immigrants.

“My parents emigrated from Taiwan in 1981 and like most of the immigrant stories, they came to America because they saw it as the land of the free, the land of opportunity,” he said. “They believed that if you work hard and put in the effort, the opportunities are limitless.”

Lee also highlighted his experiences within NAVSEA, as well as the importance of building relationships and how they led to opportunities throughout his career.

“I was taught the importance of diversity and [that] it really does take a village to deliver warfighting capability. Lee said, adding, “The two things that I have learned through my career journey are: Relationships matter and it’s a small world. Always seek to do right with the people you work with.”

Lee further defined “opportunity” stating: “If you focus on mastering the job at hand and really put in the effort and do good work, those opportunities will naturally come.” He mentioned that opportunities can come in different forms and may require learning different skillsets and disciplines. “Instead of thinking that this is more work, those are priceless opportunities. Embrace the opportunities even if they are outside of your comfort zone.”

In his closing remarks NSWCPD Technical Director Nigel C. Thijs emphasized Lee’s key points on relationships and opportunity.

“I love coming together to celebrate the rich diversity that enables our Navy to set the standard that other Nations want to achieve. Steve talked about relationships and mentoring and the importance of broadening your experiences when you advance,” Thijs said. “It is important that we continue to focus on providing opportunities across various competencies that all employees can compete for to ensure that we provide equitable experiences to all.”

NSWCPD employs approximately 2,800 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.