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NSWC Philadelphia Division Celebrates National Engineers Week

By Keegan Rammel, NSWCPD Public Affairs | NSWCPD | Feb. 24, 2020

Naval Surface Warfare Center, Philadelphia Division celebrated National Engineers Week with several events honoring the Command’s engineers and their accomplishments, Feb. 18 – 20.

Throughout the week, the Command hosted a local high school’s Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corp (JROTC) members and guest speakers, as well as held an internal poster session to highlight some of NSWCPD’s recent technical innovations.

The week kicked off with Ben Franklin High School’s JROTC visit on Feb. 18. The 35 students had a chance to tour some of NSWCPD’s test sites and labs, as well as hear from Rear Adm. Huan Nguyen, Deputy Commander, Cyber Engineering, Naval Sea Systems Command.
Nguyen, the first Vietnamese-American flag officer in the United States Navy, talked to the students about how hard work allows any American the opportunity to overcome difficult circumstances.

“Study hard, work hard. This is how I got to be where I am today,” Nguyen told the students who had been attending classes off-site from their school since October due to asbestos concerns. “This country took me in and let me work my way up to a flag officer. In this country I can get myself up to where I want to be through hard work.”

The students also participated in a career panel with several of NSWCPD engineers who discussed their paths to the STEM field, advice on mastering college, and stories of their role models.

On Feb. 19, NSWCPD’s Chief Technology Officer, Dr. E. Michael Golda, gave a presentation on the first 30 years of the organization’s engineering history. The Philadelphia Division was established as the Fuel Oil Testing Plant at the Philadelphia Navy Yard in 1910 to transition the Navy from coal to fuel oil in the years before World War I.

“Although the command has been renamed and realigned several times, the engineers who work here have always been, and continue to be, dedicated to improving the capability and reliability of Navy shipboard machinery,” Golda said. “During those 30 years, the command’s engineers established a tradition of being ’pioneers of progress.’ They advanced combustion engineering so that the Navy entered World War II with the most compact, fuel efficient, and reliable boilers in the world.”

Throughout NSWCPD’s 110 years of engineering heritage, the Command has always supported the fleet.

“It’s hard to know where you are or where you are going if you don’t know where you’ve been,” Golda said. “This organization has a track record of going out and solving problems. We continue to do that today.”

NSWCPD concluded National Engineers Week on Feb. 20 with a finale event that included a guest speaker, a cake cutting ceremony, a poster session for NSWCPD’s latest projects, and a moment of silence for the Command’s late Chief Engineer Paul Socoloski who passed away in November 2019.

NSWCPD’s Technical Director Tom Perotti kicked off the day by highlighting the importance of NSWCPD’s engineers and the work they do to maintain the fleet and to design the innovative technologies on which the future Navy will depend.

Perotti also invited the workforce to the poster session highlighting the patents that NSWCPD engineers were awarded in 2019 and the Command’s 2020 Naval Innovative Science & Engineering Technical Exchange Meeting projects.

“These technologies will serve the Navy for many years to come and that is thanks to you.” Perotti said.

The day continued with guest speaker Jill Boward, Executive Director, Program Executive office Integrated Warfare Systems, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Research, Development and Acquisition), who discussed the importance of teamwork, how leaders can foster an inclusive workplace, and her career path.

Boward told the workforce that working for the Navy is a team sport, and that everyone works together to make sure that the U.S. Navy Fleet is the best in the world.

“It takes all of our people to provide our Sailors with the unfair advantage that they need,” Boward said.

She highlighted how great coaches lead teams to championships, and how supervisors can get the best out of their own teams at work. Boward believes that inclusive workspaces where individuals from different backgrounds work closely together bring the best results.

“The underpinning of teamwork is culture,” Boward said. “You should come to work and feel like you are a part of a family. We are here for a real purpose, a real mission. I’ve worked hard in my time in leadership to make sure that people can thrive because they feel included.”

NSWCPD employs approximately 2,700 civilian engineers, scientists, technicians, and support personnel doing research and development, test and evaluation, acquisition support, and in-service logistics engineering for Navy ships. NSWCPD is also the lead organization providing cybersecurity for all ship systems.