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Future Workforce Focus NSWC Panama City Division

By Susan H. Lawson | Feb. 13, 2019


Harryel (Harry) Philippeaux, a mechanical engineer, prior Naval Engineering Education Consortium (NEEC) program student, and Naval Research Enterprise Internship Program (NREIP) intern, joined the Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division’s (NSWC PCD) Science and Technology Department Unmanned Systems Technology Division in January 2018.


Philippeaux’s current role includes: rapid prototyping of hardware components for autonomous vehicles via computer-aided design modeling and 3D printing, software development for low-level vehicle systems, and magnetics testing and sensor integration. Philippeaux interned during summer 2017 at NSWC PCD and earned a Master of Science in Ocean Engineering from Florida Atlantic University (FAU) in 2017.


“Being able to connect with Harry through the NEEC program and then the NREIP internship is exactly what both programs were intended to do,” said Rex Lawrence, NSWC PCD unmanned systems technology branch head. “Harry gained insight into the types of engineering work and technologies we are developing, to ensure this was the career he wanted. It allowed him to gain experience in those areas so when he did arrive, he was productive and knowledgeable with our work walking in the door on day one.”


“Upon starting my full-time position with NSWC PCD, my prior experiences with NREIP and NEEC allowed me to feel comfortable in the workplace and gave me a solid foundation of knowledge that I could immediately apply to my projects,” said Philippeaux.


Philippeaux began working under the NEEC banner in graduate school through a partnership between NSWC PCD and FAU for an ongoing project titled 'Adaptive Sensing in Challenging Underwater Environments.’ This project involves multiple Ocean Engineering students at both undergraduate and graduate levels.


“The Navy is incredibly fortunate in this case, we gained an extremely motivated five-star employee who is well on his way to becoming one of our most capable, innovative engineers,” said Lawrence.


As a Master of Science student at FAU in the NEEC program, Philippeaux designed a custom sensor payload and wrote software for real-time implementation of anomaly localization. Philippeaux integrated the payload, which consisted of a fluxgate magnetometer, compass, and pc-104 computer, into one of the Remote Environmental Monitoring Unit unmanned underwater vehicles and conduct some preliminary testing.


“The NREIP program is great for helping us identify talented, hardworking people for future employment with NSWC PCD,” said Jim Perkins, NSWC PCD computer scientist. “Over the past eight years I have mentored a group of four to seven interns for 10 weeks each summer and Harry Philippeaux was one of the standouts.


Through the NEEC program, Philippeaux broadened his understanding of complex and relevant engineering endeavors in the underwater environment.


“The NREIP internship was a highly positive and invaluable experience for me,” Philippeaux said. “The program allowed me to develop and hone practical skills that are directly relevant to the type of work I would eventually be doing, and have an opportunity to work with seasoned engineers and acclimate to the professional setting.”