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Panama City engineer wins Latin American Public Service Award

By Katherine Mapp | NSWC PCD | June 9, 2019

PANAMA CITY, Fla. —

Ivan Lugo, head of the Air Cushion Vehicle Branch at Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division (NSWC PCD), was recently selected to receive the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) 2019 Excellence in Service Uniformed Services Public Service Award.

In Lugo’s current role at NSWC PCD, he is responsible for supervising a large team of engineers, scientists, logisticians, and technicians in support of the In-Service Engineering Agent for the Landing Craft Air Cushion vehicle.

When learning of his selection for the LUCAC award, Lugo said he felt appreciative and was quick to credit his team.

“I felt honored, but undeserving being set apart for such a prestigious award, but proud to represent, not just my Latin heritage, but my Command as well,” said Lugo. “I was simply the one nominated, but reality is that success is a team effort. It is easy to excel when surrounded by such hard-working professionals such as those I work with at the Panama City Division.”

In addition to his demanding career, Lugo was chosen by the NSWC PCD Recruiting Team to recruit scientist and engineers, particularly within underrepresented populations. This effort is in line with a continuing diversity initiative that supports the Chief of Naval Operations' objectives for the United States Navy to become increasingly diverse, build an inclusive environment that retains talent, and have the Navy recognized as an employer of choice in the United States.

In 2018, Lugo attended eight career fairs and one corporate recruiting event across the nation as a representative of NSWC PCD and the Hispanic community to educate college graduates on the benefits of working for the Navy. 

Additionally, Lugo served as a member of NSWC PCD’s Diversity Council, and as a hiring manager on the Corporate Hiring and Recruitment Team (CHART) during fiscal year 2018. CHART is comprised of a representative from each technical department serving in a leadership role. Their mission is to make hiring and selection decisions for entry-level scientific and engineering positions within NSWC PCD, particularly with a focus on increasing diversity while filling mission critical roles.

Lugo has made significant contributions in recruiting, hiring, retaining, and providing career advancement opportunities to Hispanic civilian employees. During the past fiscal year, Lugo personally reviewed over 300 resumes, conducted over 30 interviews, and along with the other two CHART members, extended more than 80 employment offers to highly qualified diversity candidates. As a recruiter and hiring manager, Lugo has been able to establish meaningful relationships with new hires of Hispanic descent, and has personally mentored several of them.

Capt. Aaron Peters, NSWC PCD commanding officer, said Lugo’s outreach efforts have reshaped the composition of the workforce at NSWC PCD.

“The support Lugo provides to young Hispanic engineers encourages them to invest in the surrounding community by giving back – just as he has done,” said Peters. “Without his mentorship, many Hispanic scientists and engineers employed at NSWC Panama City Division would not have the support system currently in place. His actions have bettered the Command and our community.”

Lugo expressed his appreciation for Command leadership’s support.

“Receiving the LULAC Excellence in Service Uniformed Services Public Service Award means my Command recognizes the importance of the Latin and the general minority, workforce, which helps to strengthen the Naval Sea Systems Command mission,” said Lugo. “I am grateful my leadership takes time to recognize its employees’ contributions to our community and the Warfighter.”

Originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico, Lugo began his Department of the Navy career after separating with an Honorable Discharge from the United States Air Force as a Captain, where he served from 1989 to 1992. Lugo obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Puerto Rico, School of Engineering in 1988, and earned a System Engineering Certificate and a Master of Science in Systems Engineering from Naval Postgraduate School in September 2014.

Lugo will receive the award during the 90th LULAC National Convention and Exposition July 2019 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.