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NSWC Crane Employee Spotlight: Electrical Engineer Tom Raley

By NSWC Crane Corporate Communications | Sept. 11, 2018

September 12, 2018

CRANE, Ind. - Tom Raley’s career as an electronics engineer may have started when he won a chess tournament in a third grade classroom on the southside of Chicago.

Raley, who always had strong math and science skills, decided to pursue and engineering major in college after taking interest in the work of his peers. 

Before attending a job fair at University of Illinois in Urbana, Raley had not heard of Crane. A year later, he was offered and accepted a position at Crane, where he has worked for the past twelve years. In his time here, he has worked for the CREW program and in support of the H-60 helicopter platform, but prefers the munitions assessment branch, where he now works. 

In his current role in the Munitions Assessment branch, his responsibilities include test system design, development, and support. Raley is the only electronics engineer in his branch, so he additionally provides support when his colleagues require assistance with instrumentation, data collection, or automation.

Tom cites being self-motivated and prioritizing tasks as key components of success in his current position. He also values the importance of embracing discomfort and the willingness to work through solutions when he doesn’t possess expertise on the subject. “You can always learn something new,” says Raley. These problem solving and adaptability skills are reminiscent of skills he applied to chess, which he learned to play from his third grade teacher.

Raley aims to establish his division as a leader in test and evaluation of unmanned systems and leading edge technology. He has observed that while defense against unmanned systems is a priority of the Department of Defense, he’s not aware of robust test and evaluation of those systems. His goal is to develop a set of standardized critical operational issues (COI’s), measures of effectiveness (MOE’s), and measures of performance (MOP’s) to streamline and automate these time consuming evaluation procedures.

When asked what motivates him, Raley says his children and wife are his greatest motivation and he is driven by his desire to provide for his family and lead by positive example. 

“I try to be passionate in just about everything I do. Passion is the secret to success in life. A passionate person will always excel over a more talented, less motivated person.”

In addition to being a family man, Raley is distance runner with two marathons and five half marathons under his belt. His current running goal is to qualify for the Boston Marathon. 

He enjoys raising a family in southern Indiana, and finds purpose and motivation in his day to day responsibilities at Crane. 

“It’s great to think that at the end of the day my work could help the warfighters directly and/or contribute to the defense of our nation. People here have a sense of purpose that I never experienced in any job in industry.”

NSWC Crane is a naval laboratory and a field activity of Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) with mission areas in Expeditionary Warfare, Strategic Missions and Electronic Warfare. NSWC Crane is responsible for multi-domain, multi- spectral, full life cycle support of technologies and systems enhancing capability to today’s warfighter.