February 20, 2018
CRANE, Ind. – Terrence Thompson was born to be an engineer.
Thompson’s father is a mechanical engineer for Pratt & Whitney and his mother was an engineer for Boeing and General Electric. Both parents emphasized to Thompson the importance of having a plan and being prepared for every situation.
“They both took time to really teach me what’s right from wrong, and expose me to what you can have if you take the right path,” Thompson said. “But they also exposed me to what could happen if you choose the wrong path.”
The lessons Thompson learned from his parents at an early age led to Thompson’s obsession over finding ways to accomplish tasks more efficiently. Thompson is so focused on making the most of his time that he often thinks about how he can make it to the grocery store and stop to get the lowest gas prices at just the right time to miss traffic.
Thompson’s mindset has made him an ideal mechanical engineer at Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division (NSWC Crane), where he’s constantly looking for better ways to do his job.
“I’ve found that trying to be more efficient is a great way of accomplishing anything,” Thompson said. “That’s how I realized what I really wanted to do. I’ve always been very inquisitive, so I ask a lot of questions to learn how things work. Everything stems from my curiosity and my desire to make the most of my time.”
Thompson earned his mechanical engineering degree from Tennessee State in 2015, and he first learned about NSWC Crane during a career fair at Tennessee State. Thompson did an on-site interview at the career fair, and a few weeks later, he accepted a job offer to join the NSWC Crane family.
Why did NSWC Crane feel like the right fit?
“The people,” Thompson said. “I’m not the shyest person, but people brought me in when I got here. The people here, they take you along and talk to you.”
Thompson has especially enjoyed the regular meetings his branch holds to help co-workers get to know one another.
“You find out you have commonalities with other co-workers that you wouldn’t necessarily know, and it just helps the working environment and camaraderie,” Thompson said. “I genuinely enjoy coming to work and talking with my co-workers. It’s a community.”
While Thompson has enjoyed his experience working on base at Crane, he’s also taken advantage of other opportunities to learn and grow as an engineer. In December of 2016, Thompson traveled to Afghanistan as part of the Mobile Technology and Repair Complex program. Thompson lived in Afghanistan for eight months, working on whatever projects needed to be completed for the warfighter. Sometimes that meant welding a broken gate to reinforce it and make it more secure. Other times it meant etching out a brand new key for the single forklift in the camp.
“I’ve always admired military service, but with my career path, I didn’t necessarily want to go into the military,” Thompson said. “This was a way for me to kind of give back. I love getting my hands dirty and working on different projects, so I thought it would be perfect – and it was. I loved it. I learned something new every day for eight months.”
Thompson plans to return to Afghanistan at some point in the future because the experience there changed the way he views his work at NSWC Crane.
“It helps you become a more well-rounded engineer,” Thompson said. “The amount of technical rigor and the amount of technical skills necessary is different. You learn things out there. For instance, I learned a lot about welding that I took back and applied to my job here at Crane.”
NSWC Crane is a naval laboratory and a field activity of Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) with focus 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.