DAHLGREN, Va. –
Since the inception of pilotless vehicles, unmanned systems have taken center stage, escalating from small radio-controlled aircraft to large unmanned weapon systems. Despite the increase, one thing has remained constant: the people behind the work. At Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD), teams across the warfare center are pushing the boundaries for these systems to support the ultimate goal of protecting the men and women in uniform. One of those projects sits in the Battle Management System (BMS), spearheaded by Michelle Goedert.
“I’ve been leading projects since 2004. They just keep getting larger and larger,” laughed Goedert. Goedert joined the workforce at NSWCDD in 2015, after 13 years at NSWC Indian Head where she enhanced rockets and their respective launchers to support warfighter needs. During her first year at NSWCDD, Goedert worked on the Hyper Velocity Projectile project.
“The fast-paced environment where you get to work with the warfighter and know that you are impacting and saving lives – that’s what drew me to BMS,” said Goedert. “I started with BMS as a test engineer in order to learn the system from the ground up before moving into BMS leadership.”
Although she has worked with BMS since 2016, the system’s unmanned capabilities are a newer addition.
“Almost four years ago, I was approached to be the test lead for unmanned [weapon systems]. Then I became a project lead, then program manager after we had multiple projects,” she said.
After graduating from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Goedert scaled the ranks – receiving recognition as a Chief Acquisition Officers Council Lisa Wilusz Program Management Excellence awardee.
“I like that project managing allows you to see the whole life cycle and tasks within all the different functional areas,” she said.
The American Council for Technology and Industry Advisory Council sponsor the award, named in honor of the late-Lisa Wilusz, the former Director of the Office of Procurement and Property Management at the Department of Agriculture.
The award, which is part of the Acquisition, Program Manager and Small Business Excellence Awards, recognizes “the success in balancing the many factors that influence cost, scope and schedule risks as well as ensuring overall positive performance of the program.”
According to the award citation, Goedert “oversaw an annual budget of $13 million from six different sponsors,” managed a diverse team and “ensured the highest quality products were delivered for each project within budget and schedule.”
Goedert oversees 14 percent of the BMS team under the unmanned weapon systems banner.
“You hear some people say, ‘you’re doing a good job,’ but when it’s recognized outside of your own team, outside even your own base, it is humbling and a bit of a shock,” said Goedert.
The Lisa Wilusz Program Management Excellence award is granted to one individual or team a year by the Chief Acquisition Officers Council.