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NSWC Crane employee and reservist shares his rules for career-long success

By NSWC Crane Corporate Communications | Jan. 23, 2019

CRANE, Ind. – John Hamilton is a physicist and Branch Manager at Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division (NSWC Crane), but once a month, he drives hundreds of miles to Des Moines, Iowa to serve as an Officer in Charge of a Navy Reserve Unit.

As a Branch Manager at NSWC Crane, Hamilton says his job is to remove obstacles that get in his team’s way. As Officer in Charge, he trains sailors so they are ready to deploy to a combat zone. Though these positions are different, they are centered around one of Hamilton’s core leadership beliefs: Taking care of people. ‘Taking care of people’ is one of his rules of success.

“I help my employees and sailors get the tools they need so they can focus on their mission,” says Hamilton.  It’s my job to make sure they are empowered to prosper; My success is helping other people succeed.

Hamilton, who has 28 active and reserve duty years of military experience, first enlisted in the U.S. Navy at 17. His first 12 years were spent in various U.S. Navy Construction Battalion units, or SeaBee units. His diverse professional background includes work in the federal government, in private industry, as a high school teacher, in other countries such as Japan, and has been deployed multiple times. He has worked for the Office of Naval Research on several assignments, served as a Science Advisor multiple times, and has experience across many Crane departments.

Hamilton says he thrives when there is a change of pace. ‘Learning’ is Hamilton’s second rule for success.

“Never stop learning,” says Hamilton. “It’s critical to learn at least one new thing every day. It gives you an advantage; when you get stuck in a situation, you know how to work to find a solution. If you aren’t learning, you’ll make the same mistakes again and again.”

Hamilton’s unique perspective drives him to achieve the best solutions for the warfighter.

“My position in the military and my position at Crane overlap.” says Hamilton. “I see what we create here at Crane and I get to use what we make firsthand when I work with the military. It keeps me motivated knowing the importance and direct impact of our work.”

Hamilton’s third and final rule for success is about not being your own limiting factor when it comes to achieving your goals or your team’s goals. He says too often people will say they can’t do something, that it isn’t allowed, or it has never been done that way.

“If you want to make something happen, make someone else say no. Don’t say no yourself. Many times there are a few extra hurdles involved, but you can still get to yes.”

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. The warfare center is responsible for multi-domain, multi- spectral, full life cycle support of technologies and systems enhancing capability to today's Warfighter.