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NEWS | Oct. 1, 2021

NSWC Crane employee recognized department-wide for ‘outstanding’ contributions

By Sarah K. Miller, NSWC Crane Corporate Communications

A Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division (NSWC Crane) Information Technology (IT) Specialist was recognized throughout the Department of Defense (DoD) for his contributions. Mason Ellis received a 2021 DoD Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP) Award for Outstanding Contributions. Ellis received this award for supporting and promoting WRP and advancing the employment of individuals with disabilities.

Ellis was one of seven Outstanding WRP Participant recipients for the 2021 award year and the only Department of the Navy (DoN) awardee in this same category for 2021. 

Ellis started his career at NSWC Crane part time while he was pursuing his Associate’s Degree in Information Technology. As a student intern, he worked in a customer-service position.

“I started working at the service desk in the IT building, worked there a few months, and then moved to the account team in 2019,” says Ellis. “I’ve been there a few years.”

Ellis says he has been interested in technology for a while.

“I was in a wreck senior year in high school,” says Ellis. “I wanted to get a degree in IT; I liked technology and helping people. Luckily I was still able to pursue a degree after my injury.”

The nomination package notes how Ellis demonstrated strong work ethic by being “instrumental in changes in process and tools that have lowered Account Delivery timeframes that routinely were in excess of 15 days to a current average of less than 3 days.”

Ellis says previously -- in order to get information necessary in that role-- an individual would have to ask people directly.

“I started doing documentation at the Service Desk for different issues coming in,” says Ellis. “Many were experiencing the same issues at the same time. Now there are procedure documents for each team and the information is accessible so people can search different things and find procedure documents. I created the first ones.”

Now, the process has been streamlined.

“Employees at NSWC Crane get better responses and the time has been cut for teams as well as those asking the questions,” says Ellis.

In January of 2015, Ellis was injured from a car wreck. He sustained several injuries, including a broken neck and lost some arm function. Ellis is now a quadriplegic, or has paralysis of all four limbs.

“The doctors told my parents I might not make it and that I would have total memory loss, but that wasn’t the case,” says Ellis. “I was in the hospital and then rehab; I had to re-learn how to do things like brush my teeth, dress myself, and feed myself.”

While re-learning these things, Ellis sought out information online and on YouTube.

“I couldn’t find much information, so I took it upon myself to record videos to help others,” says Ellis. “I recorded videos explaining how to do different things and questions I had in rehab. They were how-to, tips and tricks, exercising, and product review videos.”

His channel helps others with spinal cord injuries. His YouTube channel has more than 175 videos, more than 540,000 views, and almost 5,000 subscribers.

“Once I started uploading the videos, it was helping people. They were viewed all over the world and college professors were using my videos to show Physical Therapy students to help their patients. I thought it was just helping some people, but really it’s a lot more than that.”

Ellis is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in IT, continuing learning about his interest in technology.

“I always thought it would be cool to work at Crane, but thought it would be very difficult,” says Ellis. “With my injury, I thought it would be hard to get a job. Then Crane needed someone for the service desk and I interviewed for the job.”

Ellis also takes time at NSWC Crane to discuss how to enhance the working environment for people with disabilities.

“It’s great to help other people who may have different needs,” says Ellis. “With diversity and inclusion, disability is part of that.”

About NSWC Crane

NSWC Crane is a naval laboratory and a field activity of Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) with mission areas in Expeditionary Warfare, Strategic Missions and Electronic Warfare. The warfare center is responsible for multi-domain, multi- spectral, full life cycle support of technologies and systems enhancing capability to today's Warfighter.

Join Our Team! NAVSEA employs a diverse, highly trained, educated, and skilled workforce - from students and entry level employees to experienced professionals and individuals with disabilities. We support today's sophisticated Navy and Marine Corps ships, aircraft, weapon systems and computer systems. We are continuously looking for engineers, scientists, and other STEM professionals, as well as talented business, finance, logistics and other support experts to ensure the U.S. Navy can protect and defend America. Please connect with NSWC Crane Recruiting at this site - or email us at