“What do people do in different divisions?” and “What are different career paths at NSWCPD?” are two common questions Naval Surface Warfare Center, Philadelphia Division (NSWCPD) employees often ponder.
To help provide answers, NSWCPD’s New Hires Employee Resource Group (NHERG) began conducting a series of “professional showcases” several years ago, with the latest one and first virtual offering held on June 18 via the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Fusion Chat. (Fusion is a suite of online communication, collaboration, and social media tools managed by the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command-NAVWAR).
Representatives from five branches within NSWCPD’s Hull, Mechanical & Electrical (HM&E) Ship Control Navigation, and Networks Systems Division (Code 52) and the division itself shared with colleagues a description of their section, as well as personal experiences involving challenges within their code and some examples of what has led to their individual success.
Panelists included Bartlomiej “Bart” Kleczynski, Eric Mscisz, Taylor Million, Jonathan Britt, Scott Ramalho, Brooke Edwards, and Ryan Brenner with NHERG member/event organizer Sean Fast as moderator and the NHERG’s Alex Linn and Elyse Merkel providing additional support.
Each branch provided general information about some of their key projects and programs, striving to not diverge into “alphabet soup” with too many acronyms, yet focus on what makes their code unique and provide additional details when queried for more.
When asked by Fast “What is the top quality for someone to be successful in Division 52,” answers ranged from dedication and attention to detail as key for any engineer to being flexible and dynamic.
“The top two qualities would be the ability to multitask and communication skill set. There is no one size fits all answer to the issues we see in code 525 and we need to be able to communicate to internal codes, stakeholders, vendors and even captains of the ship,” said Edwards, program manager, HM&E/Navigation Networks DDG-51 Class xDMS branch. “You need the ability to switch gears at a moment’s notice, from Casualty Report (CASREP) support to equipment damage assessment. The capability to answer each topic professionally and technically goes a long way.”
According to Kleczynski, engineering manager in the division, key to success is “the ability to multi-task and handle stressful situations in stride, definitely. Due to the essence of systems we support (critical steering, networks and navigation systems), every issue is high-vis with potential flag-level interest. There may be multiple issues occurring at once, so you definitely have to manage your time, responses, and handling of the issue.”
Fast also asked panelists to offer examples of what they have done outside of their daily jobs that may have contributed to their success, with responses being split among taking advantage of higher education opportunities to working with children interested in science.
Another question posed, “What are some of the challenges that come with working in your code?” resulted in a flurry of responses from panelists, as well as advice and how to put a positive spin on challenges.
“One challenge is that the nature of our work is inherently high-visibility. It can be difficult juggling responsibilities when priorities shift. This is a challenge, but it also allows for exposure and acknowledgement of your hard work,” said Million, project manager in the Ships Controls: Surface Combatants branch.
“Being involved with many different projects spread across many different program sponsors can create challenges when trying to achieve technical commonality,” added Brenner, technical lead, HM&E/Navigation Networks: Surface Ships (non-DDG 51) branch.
Propulsion, Power & Auxiliary Machinery Systems Department Head Karen Dunlevy Miller also joined in by asking panelists what helped them the most when they were new employees.
“Asking questions, being a self-starter and hitting the road to get on the ships for ‘touch time’ on the system I work on,” offered Jonathan Britt, team lead, Ship Controls: Amphibs branch.
Participants peppered the panel with a variety of questions throughout the brisk, hour-long chat session.
However, a final question asked by Dunlevy Miller, “What was one of the most exciting things you have gotten to do because you work for the Navy - any and all?” led to a variety of one-of-a-kind experience answers.
“I'd say definitely being given the opportunity by Program Executive Office Carriers to replace the Ship Control System on the USS Ronald Reagan with an NSWCPD designed system,” said Ramalho, branch manager, Ship Navigation Systems and Navy Electronic Chart Display and Information System Controls. “None of us ever were involved in a project of that significance before. Then being onboard as it sailed out for the first time. Anytime you get to ride a ship and be part of Navy operations is pretty exciting.”
“Run a 5K on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier, go in the bubble on the flight deck to see planes be launched and recovered, and travel all over the world experiencing different cultures,” added Britt.
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.