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Home : Media : News
NEWS | Sept. 24, 2021

Carderock’s “Best of the Best” Recognized in Magnificent Eight Awards Ceremony

By Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division Public Affairs

Employees who made a significant contribution to the Navy and to Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division in 2020 were honored at the command’s annual “Magnificent Eight” award ceremony on Sept. 15, 2021, in West Bethesda, Maryland.

“The Magnificent Eight Awards recognize ‘the best of the best’ within Carderock,” Technical Director Larry Tarasek said. “Each of the awards is named after a person that represents a legacy in courage, commitment, honor and desire to further progress the United States Navy. As the Technical Director, I’m very proud of the accomplishments of our teams that have gone above and beyond to ensure our priorities are met. Thank you for your incredible dedication to the mission and congratulations on a job well done that continues the success of our command and Navy mission into the future.”

The Vice Adm. Samuel L. Gravely Jr. Award for Achievement in Diversity and Inclusion

The Gravely Award recognizes individuals who promote an inclusive workplace by inviting diverse viewpoints, encouraging collaboration and modeling appreciation and respect toward colleagues. Head of Carderock’s Materials and Manufacturing Technology Division Johnnie Deloach is this year’s award recipient for establishing a weekly discussion forum for Carderock employees to discuss topics like racial injustice in the country and the civil unrest that occurred after the death of George Floyd Jr. on May 25, 2020, under police custody.  

“It seemed a shame to me that there was no real way for us to get things off our chests,” Deloach said. “You don’t spend a lot of time talking about racial issues, gender issues and politics; those are things that people stay away from.”

While the sensitive nature of the subject could have caused a stir, Deloach moved forward with his plan, despite his apprehension.

“I had faith that people would understand that this is a non-judgmental space where people are going to have different opinions and will always treat each other with respect,” Deloach said. “We talked a lot about people’s feelings – about what was going on, then people began sharing some pretty intimate perspectives on their experiences with racism.”

The Rear Adm. Grace M. Hopper Award for Excellence in Organizational Support

The Hopper Award recognizes an individual who has successfully managed and completed a significant project that has had a positive impact on the command. Facilities Operation Manager David Judd and Division Head Keith Rouch are this year’s award winners.

Judd received the Hopper award for his work during the COVID-19 pandemic in ensuring all command facilities continued to operate efficiently and safely in order to properly execute Carderock’s mission. He was directly involved in overseeing all remedial clean up actions were provided efficiently.

The primary cleaning was conducted by his enhanced cleaning team, who would clean the base and make sure all offices and buildings were sanitized on a daily basis.

“Whenever we’d get a COVID-case I would be sure to make that our top priority,” he said. “Mr. Tarasek called me personally to congratulate me on the award — I am honored and grateful to have been chosen.”

Rouch, who leads one of Carderock’s contract divisions in the command’s Contracting and Acquisition Department, received the Hopper award for his work in overseeing the execution of 730 contract actions valued at more than $125 million, as well as implementing the Code 02 Process Improvement Initiative, a system aimed at improving the acquisition processes across the command’s acquisition community.

Due to the implementation of this tracker, Rouch has been directly responsible for 21 process improvements being implemented.

“COVID certainly increased the uptick in usage of the tracker,” Rouch said. “With everyone working from home, it became a lot harder to keep communication lines straight, so it in turn became that much more important to keep track of action items and what we were making a priority.”

The importance of this tracker and system that Rouch executed has been immense, and have significantly improved accuracy rates in the Contracting and Acquisition Department.

The Rear Adm. Benjamin F. Isherwood Award for Exceptional Fleet Support

This year the Rear Adm. Benjamin F. Isherwood Award for Exceptional Fleet Support was awarded to Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC), Carderock Division’s Fly-By-Wire Ship Control Systems (FBW SCS) team for their work in refreshing the FBW SCS for a class of submarine, and their technical refresh and upgrade of systems for one of those subs in the class.

The FBW SCS team led the efforts to plan and develop the program in collaboration with Naval Sea Systems Command and private sector contractors. Upgrading the submarine required intensive collaboration, with the team spending 14- to 16-hour days for three to four months perfecting the systems. As a result, the upgrades were installed, tested and certified during the sea trials. Despite the challenges the team faced, including the COVID pandemic, they managed to upgrade and return the sub back to the fleet on schedule and mission ready.

“I have a very dedicated team, with a significant number of them being former submariners or folks who have worked with the fleet for their whole careers,” said George Brodie, the head of Carderock’s Submarine Maneuvering and Control Division. “The award is a great recognition for the team members; for their tireless dedication and hard work put forth every day to support the fleet.”

The Vice Adm. Emory S. Land Award for Collaboration Excellence

The Vice Adm. Emory S. Land Award for Collaboration Excellence honors a group that has made significant contributions by establishing new relationships, fostering communications and promoting the value and benefits of collaborative working relationships at all levels to provide high-quality and effective products and services to the fleet. This year’s award recipients are Carderock’s Snakehead Program Team.

While 25 Carderock employees are named on the award, about 340 other individuals have touched the project within the past five years. The Snakehead, also known as the Large Displacement Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (LDUUV), will be the first large Unmanned Undersea Vehicle (UUV) platform designed, built and certified for underwater operations and missions. The Snakehead Program is still in the early phases of development, so next up for the team is to conduct land-based and in-water testing later this year.

“The best part about this award is that it’s a way to formally recognize our effort and all the dedication and sacrifices that our incredible team put into so much work over the last five years,” said Dana Colegrove, the Lead Systems Engineer in the Maritime Systems Hydromechanics Branch.

The Rear Adm. George W. Melville Award for Engineering Excellence

The Rear Adm. George W. Melville Award for Engineering Excellence recognizes outstanding engineering contributions towards the research and development of materials, devices and systems or methods: including design, development and integration of prototypes and new processes. Brian Caine, the Director for Signatures Measurement Technologies at Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division, is this year’s award recipient.

“Although the Melville Award is an individual award, everything that led to my selection is the result of a team effort,” Caine said. “I work with great engineers and technicians that have invested their time, energy and creativity in these projects and have made many personal sacrifices to support the fleet. Because I am the face of the program, I often get the spotlight. I am thankful to still contribute directly to the engineering efforts, and love that I can still do technical work even with my leadership responsibilities.”

In supporting acoustic programs, Caine’s team led an engineering development of a major upgrade to a critical data recording system. His efforts with this project led to a significant increase in recording bandwidth and increase in network capability.

Apart from the Melville Award, Caine was recently promoted to a senior scientific technical manager position at Carderock.

The Capt. Harold E. Saunders Award for Exemplary Technical Management

The Capt. Harold E. Saunders Award for Exemplary Technical Management recognizes exemplary achievements in leadership of a major technical organizational component or management of a complex technical project. This year’s award recipient is Henry (Joseph) Venne, the Program Manager for Carderock’s Underwater Explosion Tests and Trials Program Office, for his efforts as the Shock Trials Director for the USS Gerald Ford (CVN 78) Full Ship Shock Trial.

Venne regularly briefed senior leadership from Naval Sea Systems Command, Carderock, Philadelphia Division and the Program Executive Office Carrier Senior Executives on the progress of the trials. He led a team of 300 technicians and engineers from Carderock, Philadelphia and Dahlgren Divisions, as well as Naval Air Warfare Center – Patuxent River and civilian contractors to complete one of the most complex and challenging shock trials ever conducted.

“Regardless of how many times you do this, the last 45 seconds to detonation are still nerve racking, yet exhilarating,” Venne said. “The thrill of the moment and the comradery developed with the team has been a real highlight of my career.”

The Dr. Murray Strasberg Award for Lifetime Achievement

Gordon “Scott” Price, a technical project manager, Program Management Branch, received the Dr. Murray Strasberg Award for Lifetime Achievement after devoting more than 45 years of his life to the U.S. Navy. While in the Navy, Price spent the majority of his time dealing with naval intelligence, finishing his active duty career supporting mine warfare (MIW). Since then, he has worked for Commander, Mine Warfare Command before coming to Carderock 13 years ago.

In his current position, Price has been leading the MIW program. He has helped to change the Navy’s mine susceptibility work by spearheading the creation of a Mine Susceptibility Community of Interest, which includes subject-matter experts from Carderock and NSWC Panama City. It was for this work that Price was recognized as part of the team that received the Vice Adm. Emory S. Land Award for Collaboration Excellence during last year’s Annual Division Awards.

“I have given more than 45 years of my life to the Navy, 28 of those years has been related to MIW,” Price said. “I am retiring in December 2022. Capt. Hutchison called me personally a few weeks ago to inform me I was going to receive the award, which was a nice surprise – it was very kind of him to call me and let me know.”

The Rear Adm. David W. Taylor Award for Outstanding Scientific Achievement

Each year, the Rear Adm. David W. Taylor Award recognizes an engineer who makes exceptional scientific contributions by developing future maritime systems through the creation of technology-based research. This year’s award honors Dr. Alexey Titovich, a structural acoustics research scientist for Carderock’s Structural Acoustics Branch.

Titovich earned this award for his outstanding achievements in structural acoustics for undersea vessels. He led a series of experiments that are notable for minimizing risks associated with design decisions at reduced cost to the Navy. The experiments were part of the Columbia-class Submarine Design and Verification Program at the Acoustic Research Detachment in Bayview, Idaho, from 2013 to 2020.

“The purpose of the project was always to verify design decisions proposed by the ship builders,” Titovich said. “Certain design decisions were proposed and our experiments provided the information to reduce risk for the program. It’s amazing to be recognized at the highest level, and to me, it’s an honor beyond all here at Carderock.”

Capt. Todd Hutchison, Carderock’s commanding officer, recognized all award winners for their incredible achievements.

“It is our distinct privilege to lead such a brilliant team here at Carderock, and to know that ‘the best of the best,’ are supporting our Sailors and warfighters. Your pursuit of excellence continues to keep our fleet on the leading edge of technology, and mission ready.”

Carderock’s Corporate Communication Department employees Courtney Jones, Benjamin Morley, Todd Hurley, Edvin Hernandez and Kelley Stirling contributed to this story.