DAHLGREN, Va. -- A Navy civilian radar data collection expert has been selected to receive the Blacks in Government Meritorious Service Award, Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD), announced July 29.
Willie McCallister, an engineer supporting the NSWCDD Electromagnetic and Sensor Systems Department, was cited for excellence in leading responses to urgent technical support requests from deployed naval forces.
"I am honored to receive the Blacks in Government Award," said McCallister. "During my tenure at Dahlgren, my focus has been to help our nation refine its system engineering process to rapidly transition capability to the warfighters."
The Blacks in Government Meritorious Service Award honors individuals who have demonstrated support for the full integration and promotion of African Americans within the armed forces or federal civilian workforce. Their selection is based on exceptional support of the Department of Defense (DoD) mission and representation of the qualities and core values of the DoD. Specific criteria include demonstrated support of expanding opportunities for historically black colleges and universities to participate in federal programs and successful efforts in increasing African-American participation in DoD programs.
McCallister developed and sustained productive team environments while mentoring and coaching personnel responsible for technical data collection, according to the award citation.
"We must remain diligent and steadfast in our efforts to break through the technology barriers that limits our nation's ability to project forward," said McCallister, who served more than 28 years in the Army Reserve as a personnel manager, communications staff officer and cyber warrior. "Through continued education and sharing of knowledge, we can achieve the impossible and help protect our forces globally."
Moreover, he was recognized for promoting NSWCDD and its science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) outreach.
"Mr. McCallister takes every opportunity to mentor our junior scientists and engineers," according to the citation. "He promotes employee participation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematical educational programs. He routinely assists our junior employees with their technical studies and provides additional training to ensure employees have the necessary background to complete their technical tasking. He is patient and kind, and his employees love to work with him."
In his nomination letter, Capt. Brian Durant, NSWCDD commander, praised McCallister for "his dedication to our work, our personnel and the warfighter."
As a lead systems engineer, McCallister manages programs designed to provide the warfighter with real time analysis of radar performance data. He leads programmatic efforts that include managing a multi-million dollar budget portfolio, contract requirements, customer outreach and risk mitigation planning activities.
McCallister also facilitates and promotes the NSWCDD "Lunch and Learn Series" and numerous technical seminars.
"This stems from the ability to motivate and promote teamwork across a broad spectrum of civilian and military personnel to achieve our strategic objectives to defend this great nation in the present and future," he said.
The decorated Army reservist is a member of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) Potomac River Professionals, one of 270 NSBE chapters promoting professional development as well as outreach to university, high school and junior high students.
McCallister earned a bachelor's degree in engineering physics from Morgan State University. He received a master's degree in systems engineering from Johns Hopkins University. McCallister holds Defense Acquisition University certifications in four common core areas to champion the Navy's technical data collection software development effort in support of the Program Executive Office for Integrated Warfare Systems.