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NEWS | Oct. 12, 2023

NSWCPD’s Jager Ziegenfuss Receives the Department of the Navy Civilian Service Achievement Medal

By Joseph Fontanazza

Naval Surface Warfare Center, Philadelphia Division (NSWCPD) Alteration Installation Team (AIT) Manager Jager Ziegenfuss was presented with the Department of the Navy (DON) Civilian Service Achievement Medal on Aug 17, 2023 with his accomplishment formally recognized in front of his Philly-based colleagues during NSWCPD’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 Third Quarter Awards Ceremony on Aug. 29, 2023.

Ziegenfuss was honored for his achievements while serving as the AIT Manager at NSWCPD from January 2022 until December 2022.

“[Jager Ziegenfuss’] many accomplishments have made an incomparable impact on navigation system readiness and capability for the DDG 94, and DDG 96 through 110 platforms including developing installation plans of actions and milestones and integrating system test plans for 12 ships to date. He successfully planned, installed, tested, and delivered a modernized Integrated Bridge System and the latest, most robust navigation software available since each ship’s commissioning,” DON Program Executive Officer for Integrated Warfare Systems Rear Adm. Seiko Okano said in her award letter to Ziegenfuss.

This was an individual award but Ziegenfuss made sure to credit his peers and his supervisor for all their hard work and guidance, as well as thank NSWCPD leadership for their support.

“It means a lot to be recognized for my work and the effort that I put in every day. I am lucky to work with a great team environment around me. This goes from my peers that I directly work alongside with all the way to my supervisor,” Ziegenfuss said.

“Without my supervisor taking the time to write a nomination award, I would have never received this medal from my sponsor in D.C.,” he added. “It was extra special that Mr. Thijs and the front office was able to take some time out of their schedule to personally hand me the award and pin my lapel.”

Ziegenfuss’ passion for trying to understand how things work is what drove him to his accomplishments and that drive has been with him since childhood.

“My father started me out riding dirt bikes when I was six years old, so I have been around machinery and equipment for a large part of my life. Working with my hands, fixing things that broke or taking things apart to improve operations is something that came naturally to me,” Ziegenfuss said.

He added, “The motivation to pursue engineering came in high school, when I took two semesters of a drafting and design class. We were able to physically take a few mechanical components apart and use measuring tools to obtain specific dimensions, to then re-create them on physical drafting paper to create three-view mechanical drawings. I thought it was the coolest thing and something that came easy to me.”

While working in the engineering discipline was the goal from a young age, the method to break into the field was not set in stone and a new opportunity emerged at the last minute for the Temple alum.

“I thought I was going into the Automotive Manufacturing industry as I completed two internships with Volvo during my undergrad in mechanical engineering at Temple University. It wasn’t until my senior year in college, where Temple had multiple hiring events to put in applications and that included NSWCPD. My application got picked and during the interview I learned what NSWCPD had to offer and how I could get involved in the Department of the Navy,” Ziegenfuss said.

“Working on surface combatants and providing the latest approved technology for the fleet in various locations on the globe is what sold me. Needless to say, my career has fulfilled all of my expectations and more since my hiring day,” said the DON Civilian Service Achievement Medal recipient when looking back on his decision to pursue a career with NSWCPD.

Though Ziegenfuss’ work has garnered recognition and accolades that can dampen drive, his passion for his career and sense of purpose quells any thoughts of complacency.

“Providing and innovating the fleet with the latest approved capabilities is what motivates me to keep learning and growing. I have family that has spent time in the Marine Corps, but I never served in the military. I treat my career as a way to give back to those who chose to serve our country,” Ziegenfuss said.

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.