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NEWS | July 28, 2023

Former Northeast Tech Bridge director earns DON Meritorious Civilian Service Award

By NUWC Division Newport Public Affairs

Dr. Steven Bordonaro, a software support activity lead for the Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Division Newport Unmanned Undersea Vehicles Branch of the Undersea Warfare Platforms and Payload Integration Department, recently earned the Department of the Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award for his previous work as the regional director of the Northeast Tech Bridge.

The award, the third highest honorary civilian award bestowed by the U.S. Navy, recognizes his significant achievements as the Northeast Tech Bridge regional director over the past four years, and was presented during Division Newport’s Annual Awards ceremony held on June 7.

Bordonaro, a resident of Portsmouth, Rhode Island, began his career at Division Newport in 1991 as a systems engineer in torpedo development, for the Systems Engineering Division. Throughout his 31-year career, he has demonstrated extraordinary leadership and creativity, the award states.

In 2019, the Office of Naval Research launched an initiative to foster relationships between the Navy and their partners in industry and academia while streamlining the process to advance technology.

Bordonaro focused the Northeast Tech Bridge on ocean sciences, including maritime composites and textiles, undersea vehicles, undersea sensors, and undersea technologies. He started by building a foundational relationship with the University of Rhode Island Research Foundation.

Working with the nonprofit as a partnership intermediary, Bordonaro defined various ways of doing business with the Navy through opportunities such as tech scouting, Small Business Innovation Research support, and prize challenges, the award states. On the government side of the Tech Bridge, Bordonaro led the Northeast Tech Bridge in partnering with the 401 Tech Bridge, a division of the University of Rhode Island Research Foundation. He also sought top industry companies to create an ecosystem of partners, especially the smaller businesses that although they were not accustomed to working with the government had plenty to offer.

“Understanding the challenges facing engineers, Dr. Bordonaro selectively paired engineers and industry partners to promote solutions,” the award states. “When Dr. Bordonaro left his role as the regional director in January 2023, the collaborations that he fostered remained in place to promote lasting change in Navy operations.

“I was really humbled to receive the award,” Bordonaro said. “Knowing some of the previous recipients and their great contributions, I was really honored to join that group. I also realize that the work I did under the Tech Bridge was really a team effort, supported by the Technology Partnerships Office, Chief Technology Office, legal and contracts, while being empowered by the vision laid out by NavalX and ONR.”

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.

Join our team! NUWC Division Newport, one of the 20 largest employers in Rhode Island, employs a diverse, highly trained, educated, and skilled workforce. We are continuously looking for engineers, scientists, and other STEM professionals, as well as talented business, finance, logistics and other support experts who wish to be at the forefront of undersea research and development. Please connect with NUWC Division Newport Recruiting at this site- and follow us on LinkedIn @NUWC-Newport and on Facebook @NUWCNewport.