DAHLGREN, Va. –
One of the scariest aspects of starting a new job is learning the ropes of how things work – whether on a technical level or how to log your hours. But for employees in the High Powered Microwave (HPM) Technology Development Branch, all they had to do was look into Victor ‘Vic’ Gehman Jr.’s office.
“Back before the pandemic started and I had an office, people felt free to stop by. I try to keep a welcoming atmosphere in my office because I was once new,” said Gehman, principal scientist for the HPM Technology Development Branch.
Gehman started at Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) in 1979. Gehman, who has a PhD in Physics, had just finished graduate school when he joined the NSWCDD team.
“While attending classes, I used my spare time for about nine months to train and certify with the Naval Research Center as a reactor operator for a small research reactor at Virginia Tech,” he said. “The other operators were ex-nuclear warfare guys, and that’s where my interest with the Navy started.”
Before joining the HPM Technology Development Branch eight years ago, Gehman worked in various other branches, including Pulsed Power.
“The Pulsed Power folks are involved in multiple different technologies. In HPM, we develop things. Modern systems are so complex. Just like a naval ship is a system of systems, HPM technologies are done in a cooperative environment,” Gehman explained. “We do applied research on nearly every aspect of HPM, then we try to figure out how well things work, how efficient it is – including how much power it consumes – and how much space it’ll take up on a ship.”
As the HPM branch’s principal scientist, Gehman is a natural leader. In 2019, Gehman was awarded NSWCDD’s Employee Development Award, for his “technical advice and guidance over his forty plus years of government experience.”
According to the award citation, Gehman played a critical role growing the next generation of Dahlgren leaders – all while “increasing the size of the Navy’s Directed Energy workforce, providing key mentorship through his daily technical work.”
“It’s an honor to win this award, but at the same time, I think it mostly means I’m doing a good job doing what I’m supposed to do as a senior employee,” said Gehman, humbly.
As an Employee Development Award winner, Gehman is recognized for creating a positive and supportive work environment for employee growth, fostering employee motivation and employee commitment to the organization.