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Carderock recognizes the best of the best

By NSWC Carderock Division Public Affairs | Sept. 16, 2020

Employees who made a significant contribution to the Navy and to Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC), Carderock Division in 2019 were honored at the command’s annual “Magnificent Eight” award ceremony on Sept. 10, 2020, in West Bethesda, Maryland, and virtually via Microsoft Teams.

“This annual ceremony for the Division Honor Awards, affectionately known as the Magnificent Eight, is truly one of the pinnacle events of the year at Carderock,” said Technical Director Larry Tarasek in his opening remarks. “While this year’s event looks different from past years, we are still here to recognize “the best of the best” among our peers. My congratulations to the winners – and to all the nominees – this year. Your efforts and successes reflect well not just on you, but also on the entire command and the Fleet.”

The Vice Adm. Samuel L. Gravely Jr. Award for Achievement in Diversity and Inclusion

The Gravely Award recognizes individuals who promote an inclusive workplace by inviting diverse viewpoints, encouraging collaboration and modeling appreciation and respect toward colleagues. Aerospace Engineer Erica Scates and Branch Manager Eric Shields are this year’s award recipients for their leadership in the development of NSWC Carderock’s diversity and inclusion movement.

After accidentally booking the same conference room to discuss the same topic, albeit with different groups of volunteers, Scates and Shields decided to join forces to develop a structured approach in identifying future actions. Both wanted to find an easy and convenient method to promote diversity and inclusion, and attract more command visibility. Together, the pair assembled a diversity and inclusion working group with 23 members in total, and they have continued to encourage more participation around the NSWC Carderock community.

“So much of this is a team effort,” Scates said. “I am honored to be recognized, but I also acknowledge that I am a small part of the bigger effort with respect to improving the culture of diversity and inclusion at Carderock.”

While both Scates and Shields feel honored to receive the Gravely Award, they acknowledge that NSWC Carderock’s diversity and inclusion movement extends well beyond the two of them.

“It’s great to get this recognition, but I think it’s more important that we are highlighting to the command the amount of care and real change Carderock is trying to bring from the ground up and from the top down,” Shields said.

The Rear Adm. Grace M. Hopper Award for Excellence in Organizational Support

The Hopper Award recognizes an individual who has successfully managed and completed a significant project that has had a positive impact on the command. Deputy Corporate Operations Feza Koprucu is this year’s award winner after successfully completing the transfer of the Olney Federal Support Center from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to NSWC Carderock Division.

When the site became available to purchase from FEMA in March 2019, Koprucu began to analyze the benefits a new site could provide the command. After visiting the space in Olney, he noticed the building had several features that NSWC Carderock’s technical codes needed, including office and data center space.

“Overall, for Carderock, this is a huge win for the command’s mission,” Koprucu said. “It gives us a lot more capability and capacity to execute our missions, and it makes the working conditions better for a lot of our people. The reactions I get from our technical codes about what they will be able to accomplish in the new space is satisfying. There was huge effort by our support teams in Corporate Operations, especially with our facilities, security and IT personnel who really had to come together and tackle some complex problems. They played a big part in making this transfer become a reality.” 

The Rear Adm. Benjamin F. Isherwood Award for Exceptional Fleet Support

Jason Craft and Benjamin Medina of Carderock’s Jason Craft and Benjamin Medina of the Hull Response and Protection Branch earned the Rear Adm. Benjamin F. Isherwood Award, given to a person or team who displays innovation and expertise in the effective assessment, development, execution or deployment of technological solutions for operational fleet needs.  

The duo’s daily work typically supports the Columbia-class and other submarine programs. These programs naturally have a high operating cost and the Navy is always interested in finding ways to maintain efficiency while reducing spending. Together, Craft and Medina provided their technical expertise in the development of the Arrangement Controlled External Volume Software (ACES).

“The ACES software would not be possible without the contributions of other researchers at the Naval Warfare Centers, private industry and the unwavering support of the NAVSEA (Naval Sea Systems Command) Technical Authority,” Craft said.

The Vice Adm. Emory S. Land Award for Collaboration Excellence

Jessica McElman, Gordon “Scott” Price, Natalie Alvarez, Eugene Berczek, Linda Fomundam, Dr. Brian Glover, Alphonse Koffi, Frank Rambough, Dr. Megan Schaal, Craig Skay and Mike McLaughlin from NSWC Carderock Division’s Signatures Department were awarded the Vice Admiral Emory S. Land Award for Collaboration Excellence. The award recipients are members of the Mine Susceptibility Community of Interest (COI).

This Land Award recognizes a small group who have made significant contributions by establishing new relationships, fostering communications and promoting the value and benefits of collaborative working relationships at all levels in order to provide high quality and effective products and services to the fleet.

The Mine Susceptibility COI members received this award for their work in providing a venue for sharing information related to sea mine susceptibility and underwater signatures across the NAVSEA and NSWC domain. NSWC Carderock, along with NSWC Panama City and NAVSEA’s Ship Integrity and Performance Engineering group, formed the Mine Susceptibility COI in 2008.

“While the Land Award is being presented to NSWC Carderock participants in the Mine Susceptibility Community of Interest, it really signifies the combined efforts of the NSWC Carderock Division and NSWC Panama City Division Team,” Price said. “Carderock provides the expertise in ship signatures, while Panama City is the Navy subject-matter expert in foreign mines. We work together to reduce the likelihood of ships being destroyed by sea mines.”

The Rear Adm. George W. Melville Award for Engineering Excellence

The Rear Adm. George W. Melville Award for Engineering Excellence recognizes outstanding engineering contributions towards the research and development of materials, devices and systems or methods: including design, development and integration of prototypes and new processes.

This year’s recipient of the Melville Award is Dr. Richard R. Lewis, senior naval architect and mechanical engineer in NSWC Carderock Division’s Platform Integrity Department. Through the culmination of three years of studying, Lewis created a mathematical formulation that dictates the structural loads, both local and global, that act on hull forms using analytical and experimental approaches.

“The effects of slamming and whipping on a ship’s hull is something that had been ignored for decades,” Lewis said. “In the 1990s it became clear that slam and whip were issues adding stress to the ships. However, with this equation, we are able to condense the behavior of all ships down into a single form that can be used to create better design loads for future ships.”

The Capt. Harold E. Saunders Award for Exemplary Technical Management

Since 2014, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division’s Matthew Marburger has served as the Columbia Propulsor and Shafting Project Manager under the Advanced Propulsor Management Office.

He was awarded the Capt. Harold E. Saunders Award for exemplary achievement in leadership of a major technical area or management of a complex technical project. The achievement comes on the heels of a series of accomplishments that, with the help of Marburger, puts the Columbia Propulsor program in position to meet schedule and budget goals with a low risk for successful delivery in 2024.

“Winning the Saunders Award is an incredible honor for me and also reflects what an amazing team I have been a part of,” Marburger said. “Over the past eight years in this role, I am most proud of the integration across the multiple disciplines and organizations that comprise the team. I have thoroughly enjoyed helping transition from paper studies and concepts to actual manufacturing for a propulsor design that will be in service into the 2080s.”

The Dr. Murray Strasberg Award for Lifetime Achievement

Curator of Ship Models Dana Wegner received the Dr. Murray Strasberg Lifetime Achievement Award after devoting more than 40 years of federal service to NSWC Carderock Division. Throughout his distinguished career, Wegner has contributed his skills as a historian, manager and skilled craftsman to U.S. Navy history and federal agencies across the United States.

Since joining the command, Wegner and his small team have provided curatorial, conservation, documentation and logistics services for NAVSEA. He has also created a customized database to track loaned models and better organize all ship models in Carderock’s possession. Wegner is only the fifth-ever Curator of Ship Models in U.S. Navy history, and under his 40 year guidance, he has preserved rich tradition and historical heritage for NAVSEA, the Warfare Centers and the Navy.

“I have been building models of all types ever since I was seven or eight years old,” Wegner said. “In 1968, during my internship, I learned how to record half-hull models, and when I came to Carderock I landed at my dream job. It was the perfect job for me when I took it, and it remained the perfect job for me through my entire career – I have just loved my experience at Carderock. I cannot imagine doing anything else.”

The Rear Adm. David W. Taylor Award for Outstanding Scientific Achievement

The Rear Adm. David W. Taylor Award is given to an engineer who makes outstanding scientific contributions developing future maritime systems through the creation of technology-based research.

The recipient of the Taylor Award this year is Dr. Keegan Delaney of NSWC Carderock Division’s Emergent Technology Branch. Carrying a long list of achievements with him throughout his tenure with the command, Delaney is being credited with bringing a new capability to Carderock’s Electromagnetic Signatures Technology Division within the last two years that supports the emerging needs of multiple customers. In the final quarter of fiscal 2019, the division was faced with the need for a time-critical programmatic decision. Under the guidance and support of Delaney, they reached a quick and efficient solution using an innovative application of a previously established capability.

“I have been working at Carderock for about thirteen years now, and it has been an unpredictable and rewarding journey,” Delaney said. “I view this award as the accumulation of many projects and learning experiences. I consider myself lucky to have worked interesting projects with good people along the way, and I am particularly grateful for the people who helped pass along technical and professional knowledge to me in a truly unselfish manner.”

Capt. Todd Hutchison, NSWC Carderock’s commanding officer, recognized the awards’ namesakes as being the trailblazers and pioneers that make Carderock what it is today.

“The men and women we recognized here truly embody the spirit of these predecessors,” Hutchison said. “And I am confident that each of them will continue to achieve excellence, serving our country with honor and distinction. Congratulations from all of the leadership at Carderock to each of the award recipients.”