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Two NSWC Crane Employees Receive 2017 SECAV Awards Honorable Mentions

By NSWC Crane Corporate Communications | July 19, 2018

Crane, Ind. - Two Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division (NSWC Crane) employees were recognized by the 2017 Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Innovation Awards for their work as top innovators. Mr. Sami Kassem, Engineering Lead in Expeditionary Warfare received an honorable mention in the Automated Process Development Category, and Dr. Kyle Werner, NSWC Crane’s Director of Engagement, received an honorable mention in the Innovation Catalyst Category.

 The SECNAV Innovation Awards were started in 2015 by former Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus. The Honorable Richard V. Spencer, who recently visited NSWC Crane, has continued this tradition. All sailors, Marines and civilians are eligible to be nominated for the awards. According to the SECNAV Awards requirements, the accomplishments must be remarkable, bold and inspirational to be recognized by the Navy.

Kassem’s project, titled “Topographic Production Capability – Image Update Automation” saves the fleet nearly a man year of labor every year. Before Kassem’s system was developed, Marines using the Topographic Production Capability Family of Systems had to manually upgrade every quarter, which sometimes took multiple days. Now, Kassem’s disk turns makes the process autonomous, which speeds the process up and allows for greater fleet readiness.

“This automated program can also be used government-wide for any program, greatly reducing the time and resources required from the warfighter, providing increased fleet readiness, fleet availability and fleet efficiency,” said Kassem.

The program also increases the reliability of successful updates which, in turn, makes the systems more secure. Without the program, personnel would need to manually upgrade systems, which leaves room for human error.

Kassem, humbled to receive the mention, doesn’t see the creation of the program as going above and beyond.

“I am honored to be recognized over something I consider as everyone's duty to help better advance the warfighter,” said Kassem.

Dr. Werner received the SECNAV’s support for his framework, “A Creative Catalyst for a Strong Innovation Ecosystem.” The category called for individuals who inspired innovative work and created environments where new ideas were possible. Dr. Werner first created his “Innovation Ecosystem” framework after the October 2016 Crane-hosted Innovation Crossover event.

“I serve to actively foster a culture of innovation and expand a developing innovation ecosystem with key internal and external stakeholders,” said Dr. Werner.  “It was in this capacity that I have worked to promote innovation, collaborative partnerships, and national leadership strategies.”

Dr. Werner’s work has been instrumental in defining NSWC Crane, once nicknamed “the best kept secret in the Navy,” as a national leader in Strategic Missions, Electronic Warfare, and Expeditionary Warfare.

“NSWC Crane is in the business to provide the American Warfighter with innovative solutions to their toughest technical challenges in order to better equip them with a decisive advantage over potential adversaries,” said Dr. Werner.

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.