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NEWS | Nov. 21, 2023

NSWC PCD’s INSPIRE 2.0 rekindles leadership, workforce commitment to the warfighter

By Jeremy Roman, NSWC PCD Public Affairs

Continuing to cultivate its workforce, Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division (NSWC PCD) held its latest leadership development event at Gulf Coast State College, Nov. 14.

INSPIRE 2.0 –Igniting a Culture of Leadership and Innovation was the second event of it is kind for the Navy Lab and was highly anticipated based on command feedback from last year’s participants. Without the in-person attendee maximum restriction due to health concerns from the previous year, INSPIRE 2.0 nearly tripled in participation size and aimed to build on the success of its predecessor.

 “In 2022, a submitted Defense Organizational Climate Survey comment ignited us as an organization to remember our ‘why’…the why each of us serve and work daily. From that single comment sparked the command’s Flagpole Fridays [where every Friday morning the entire base is invited to join as a workforce by the flagpole during the playing of the national anthem to reflect and remember U.S. service members] and the theme for today’s event,” said Monica Queen, NSWC PCD Equal Employment Opportunity, Diversity and Inclusion deputy director. “To remember our nation’s military members who use and depend upon the capabilities, training and innovation we provide. We hope that INSPIRE 2.0 ignites or rekindles each of our why.”

Where INSPIRE focused on helping the workforce build and sustain a diverse and innovative work environment, INSPIRE 2.0 looked to help the command take the next step to impact the Navy’s mission to protect America at sea by serving the warfighter.

This event began with a tribute to the military and recognized veterans, family members of servicemembers and those who may have never served in the military but are serving the country as federal civilians. Additionally, six NSWC PCD personnel received certificates for their efforts in serving as special emphasis program leads in fiscal year 2023. INSPIRE 2.0 featured four guest speakers who challenged attendees and provided practical application steps to help leaders explore, empower and expand their impact to the fleet:

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Scott Moore, rear admiral, USN (ret.), SEAL Team operational leader, leadership and teambuilding expert:

“’No-Fail’ Teams”


Alonzie Scott III, SES, Office of Naval Research Mission Support director:

Leadership Gets Things Done Every Day”


Dakota Meyer, sergeant, USMC veteran, Medal of Honor recipient, best-selling author, and philanthropist:

The Way Forward: Master Life's Toughest Battles and Create Your Lasting Legacy”


Steve Gutzler, executive leadership coach and keynote speaker

“Emotional Intelligence for Extraordinary Leadership” 

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“I have been to many leadership type events as a military servicemember, and now as a civilian. INSPIRE 2.0 did not seem instructor-based or facilitated, which made it more educational and fulfilling,” said Kenyatta Bennett, NSWC PCD Employee Services Division head. “It was not just a matter of learning something that would help me help my team, but it was something that also helped me fill some voids in thoughts that I had felt about the leadership here at NSWC PCD. There were things I felt needed to be said to our leaders that I heard said, and it was not scripted, but was very real and important, which made it lean more towards the title of the event.”

Whether it was through the use of team-building strategies or understanding the value of impactful leadership and strategic planning, the event’s speakers provided experiences and tools to help its attendees improve professional skills. One key topic addressed was how the Navy Lab can effectively increase its relevance to the U.S. Navy.

“Practical application of emotional intelligence helps strengthen our greatest asset—the NSWC PCD workforce. It’s important to invest in developing these critical skills, which can lay the groundwork and fortify a strong organizational base to build on, because at that foundation is our people,” said Dr. Peter Adair, NSWC PCD technical director. “When we take care of each other, when we keep the support of our warfighters as our motivation and demonstrate our proficiency to dominate the littoral battlespace, we validate our relevancy to the Naval Research and Development Enterprise and the fleet.”

Mission readiness was at the forefront of this event.

 “As a command, our destination is dominating the littorals. Delivering relevant solutions in the littorals from seabed to space for today, tomorrow, and the Navy after next,” said Capt. David Back, NSWC PCD commanding officer, in his opening remarks. “We, as leaders, have to be the ones to lead change because it’s the right thing to do for the fleet commanders and the sailors and marines they lead. [If we apply what we will learn today] I’m confident that it will impact the foundations being laid, the culture being grown and the momentum being gained as we focus on the battle that we are in supporting our warfighters.”