DAHLGREN, Va. –
Work and life – the two sides of the scale that every employee, boss, team leader and executive must grapple with daily. Sometimes, the “work” side of the scale increases, causing the “life” side to decrease, and vice versa. Ultimately, the two must work together to strike a balance in each individual’s respective 24-hour days.
For Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) Senior Systems Engineer for the High Energy Lasers Counter-Air Program Bruce Leaman, he and the some-30 individuals from across all of the Naval Sea Systems Command warfare centers and industry and academia leaders that made up the Corrosion Failure Investigation Team sacrificed the balance to protect and serve the warfighter.
The Solid State Laser Technology Maturation program was installed on the USS Portland in mid-2021. Before the program could deploy, Leaman and team needed to determine the causes of corrosion failure in the system, restoration solutions and prevention of any future failures.
“They stood up the corrosion failure investigation team and review board in the beginning of April 2021, with restoration needed for deployment later that summer,” recalled Leaman, who served as the review board chairman. “The majority of the team was disbanded by about June. There were additional failures that happened after the initial failure that caused some extra work with additional corrosion leaks that we needed to fix. That impacted additional restoration efforts to restore the system to functionality and make the water chemistry changes before the system left for deployment.”
Those months with the team showed a heavy tipping of the “work/life” scale, as the team worked around the clock to rectify the failures and prevent future issues. For his work with the team, Leaman received the Dr. Delores M. Etter Top Scientists and Engineers of the Year award as a team member winner. The award recognizes scientists and engineers with demonstrated superiority in accomplishments and who are technically outstanding, according to the award’s nomination material.
“Truthfully, I don’t normally care about awards, but my dad died while I was working on the project,” said Leaman. “Winning this award means a lot more because of that. It was a truly incredible team and incredible effort.”
An outside organization nominated Leaman as a member of the Corrosion Failure Investigation Team, one of only two winning teams that collaborated across the Naval Research and Development Establishment.