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NEWS | Nov. 2, 2022

NSWCPD Employee Achievements Honored During Command Awards Ceremony

By Gary Ell

Naval Surface Warfare Center, Philadelphia Division (NSWCPD) employees were recently honored during the Command’s 2022 Command Awards ceremony.

The awards program recognizes individuals and teams for their accomplishments and contributions to the U.S. Navy’s mission, as well as encourages creativity and high performance in the workplace. It celebrates the highest achievements of NSWCPD’s workforce in categories including technical, operations support, innovation, and diversity, among others. The hybrid event was well attended by the awardee's colleagues and supervisors.

NSWCPD celebrated the exemplary achievements with eight individual and two team awards, all of which exceeded expectations and provided superior support to the Fleet. In addition to the Command Awards, all award recipients will receive the Department of Navy Civilian Service Commendation Medal for their distinguish performance.

NSWCPD’s Commanding Officer, Capt. Simon and Acting Technical Director, Chris Savage presented the awards.

“We are here to recognize the contributions and accomplishments of our folks that support the Navy’s mission. That’s what we do every day, and I couldn’t be happier to be given an opportunity to recognize our employees for their remarkable achievements,” said Simon. “I have been amazed at the diverse and incredible work that we accomplish on a daily basis. We had to be very diligent to narrow down the field of impressive nominees to determine the winners of the various awards categories,” he added.

NSWCPD’s award winners collectively increased the warfighting capability of ships and systems, saved the Navy millions of dollars, and found more efficient ways to execute the Command’s mission.

Simon emphasized the importance of NSWCPD’s mission by relating the Command’s daily activities back to the fleet.

“The work that you all do is hard, but you do it because it is important … I appreciate everything that you do and it is vitally important,” Simon said.

Lifetime Achievement, Eric McFetridge

The award recognized McFetridge, the Large Marine Gas Turbine Engine Depot Lead Engineer, for his demonstrated technical and program management excellence in support of the Marine Propulsion Program (2S Cog). His efforts account for approximately 45 to 50 percent of the department’s executed 2S Cog End Item Repair budget yearly. He also coordinated and managed all orders on time, which resulted in the 2S Cog program receiving accolades from the Naval Systems Engineering Directorate (SEA 05) and the Propulsion Executive Steering Committee. Additionally, he provided excellent support with commercial contracting and worked directly with the technical codes to meet immediate fleet needs for Ready-For-Issue engines. He has been instrumental in ongoing Cruise-Guided Modernization efforts and chaired numerous Technical Evaluation Team achievements. He is a “go-to” expert in supporting Technical Evaluations and often travels to New Zealand and Germany to ensure no disruptions or delays impact the supply chain. McFetridge has demonstrated strong collaboration skills and a tireless work ethic, always seeking alternative methods to improve repair processes and create shop efficiencies while maintaining the war reserve of engine variants deployed in the fleet. His accomplishments reflect well on our organization, the U.S. Navy 2S Cog Program, the Surface Combatant Fleet, and the U.S. Navy.

Propulsion, Power, and Auxiliary Machinery Systems Department Head, Karen Dunlevy Miller said, “McFetridge’s commitment, reliability and dedication to mission sets him apart from his peers. He has consistently exhibited efforts beyond the call of duty in order to meet customer needs. His ability to multi-task and expedite urgent Navy requirements throughout his career has been invaluable to the Command and most importantly the sailor on the deck plate.”

Outstanding Achievement, Nicole Elia

Elia demonstrated outstanding technical achievement on behalf of the NSWCPD and the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Marine Engineering (SEA 05Z) 2S Cog Program with practical, accurate, and conscientious funds. She created opportunities whereby cost avoidances for the program allowed for manifold increases in new initiatives that contin¬ue to drive efficiencies while maintaining the core responsibility of ensuring maintained critical system war reserves. Her action and leadership as the 2S Cog Engineering Coordinator ensured the continuing flow of funding necessary to strengthen the sparing and repair capabilities of 2S Cog-designated systems. While improving internal processes within the branch and division, Elia actively mentored four engineers in effectively managing depot repair facilities drawing on her background as an Industrial Engineer. Elia supported technical projects that reduced Return Turnaround Time on critical propulsion systems, solving critical spare issues in the fleet. The cost avoidance initiatives resulted in reallocating funds to benefit Naval Propulsion Systems and the 2S Cog Program, which are authorized and approved through her effective communications in the Star-Board and PESC communities with their full endorsement. Elia streamlined contract processes that positively impact the division, department, and the entire Command (NAVSEA).

“She relentlessly pursues opportunities for program improvement for the betterment of the Navy and our Command. Elia has demonstrated outstanding technical achievement through her effective, accurate and conscientious allocation of program resources. She has directly created opportunities for cost avoidances for the program enabling new initiatives that continue to further drive efficiencies into the Program of record, while maintaining the core responsibility of ensuring the critical system war reserves are maintained. Elia is a shining star and a respected leader in our organization and is much deserving of this prestigious award,” said Dunlevy Miller.

Diversity and Inclusion, Wesley Harper

Harper serves as the Landing Platform Dock (LPD 17) Class Lead in the Structural Integrity, Welding, and Non-Destructive Engineering Branch. He plans, executes, and reports on highly valuable below-waterline assessments for planning structural repairs that support on-time delivery of ships. In addition to his outstanding service as a structural assessor, he serves as a collateral duty recruiter. Harper is committed to seeking the best-qualified candidates with unique intangible qualities for this role. He is a force multiplier in recruiting and maintaining a diverse and inclusive workforce, and he pursues resourceful, determined individuals who can work in a team environment. Harper provides mentorship to many candidates and is often their very first mentor in their career path. He offers guidance on how their unique skills can make them strong contributors to the highly technical and fast-paced workplace. Maintaining a quality workforce depends on adaptability during change, and the past two years of the global pandemic have required even more agility than usual. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Harper shared meth¬ods with his colleagues to overcome the unprecedented challenges of full-time remote work. He also provided tips for building strong teams within this new work environ¬ment. Harper’s superior commitment to diversity and inclusion in the workforce and outstanding technical work make him a role model for his peers and potential U.S. Navy engineering careers.

Machinery Research, Logistics and Ship Integrity Department Head, Dawn Ware said, “Not only an outstanding engineer, Harper is also is a force multiplier through his efforts with recruiting and maintaining a diverse and inclusive workforce. He performs outstanding technical work, is a great collaborator, and uses the principles of high-velocity learning to improve his own work and support talent management. Harper leads by example, encourages success in his coworkers, and has earned recognition as a champion of diversity and inclusion at NSWCPD.”

Distinguished Mentorship, Desiree Deshmukh

Deshmukh demonstrated mentorship excellence as a Lead Acquisition Manager at NSWCPD. Her ability to mentor her colleagues in all aspects of the acquisition profession is unparalleled. Deshmukh has directly and substantially increased the quantity and quality of acquisition management professionals within the technical departments, leading to more timely direct site obligations, accurate acquisition planning, and improved contract administration throughout NSWC Philadelphia Division. Deshmukh also integrates mentorship into her management approach with her direct reports and frequently mentors former employees outside the department. Her mentoring process and successes have positively influenced the perception of and interest in the acquisition and contracting positions within the department and increased opportunities for junior employees interested in acquisition management. Deshmukh helps pioneer new mentoring strategies. She identified a need for greater development opportunities and a clearer career path for engineers and Contract Officer Representatives seeking to obtain an Acquisition Manager position. She successfully executed Contracting Liaison Officer rotations within Department 40 to address this staffing gap. Deshmukh emphasizes in¬novation in her professional duties and her mentorship efforts, leading to long-term benefits to all Technical Departments, NSWC Philadelphia Division, and the U.S. Navy.

“She emphasizes innovation, both in her professional duties and in her mentorship efforts, leading to cascading long-term benefits to all Technical Departments, NSWCPD, and the Navy as a whole. Deshmukh is an outstanding mentor to her Lead Acquisition Manager peers, junior acquisition and contracting personnel, managers, and engineers, as well as a valued and trusted resource for the Contracting Department and NSWCPD leadership,” Dunlevy Miller said.

Exceptional Operations Support, Melissa Liberi

Liberi’s contributions as an Administrative Officer with the Infrastructure Division at the NSWC Philadelphia Division, have been innumerable. She kept the Division running smoothly despite the administrative hurdles introduced by the COVID-19 pandemic. Her exceptional support directly enabled the Corporate Operations Department to continue providing the high level of service expected by customers at the most challenging time in the organization’s history. Liberi is consistently a top performer and a highly conscientious teammate who makes excellence look easy. Given the Division’s minimal use of telework before the pandemic, Liberi’s efforts in taking charge of the process to bolster their telework readiness were vital. She went beyond the call of duty to enable a workforce with little telework experience and few prior telework agreements. She led the department to transition successfully to a remote work environment, where she established new procedures for timekeeping and tracking work assignments. She assisted managers and their staff with establishing and approving telework agreements and coordinated digital alternatives to work tasks previously done in person. Liberi made it her mission to develop solid strategies to help the division navigate the transition to telework and eventually become a working hybrid environment.

Corporate Operations Department Head, Jeremy Scott said, “Liberi’s contributions to NSWCPD as a whole have been innumerable, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Liberi’s exceptional support during this period directly enabled the Infrastructure Division to continue providing a high level of service at the most challenging time in our organization’s history.”

“Liberi’s dedicated operational support was truly indispensable during an incredibly difficult time period, and remains a key reason why the division can make such meaningful contributions to NSWCPD’s overall mission,” Scott adds.

Innovation Award, Joseph Ward

Ward’s innovative approach to contract oversight resulted in significant impacts across the Command by reducing fraud in the post-award contracting process. Under Ward’s leadership and guidance, the NSWCPD contract oversight efforts have identified and resolved over 285 issues where contractors billed the command for unallowable or unreasonable costs per the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR). Identifying and resolving those costs resulted in the command recouping $8,632,258, which contractors improperly invoiced against the con-tract and avoided incurring future costs of $7,146,943. The Command’s total savings from initiation to date are $15,779,201. Mr. Ward’s expertise in the areas of cost accounting and defense contract auditing, paired with his outside-of-the-box thinking on areas of command risk, were highlighted with reimbursements related to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. Ward has been instrumental in contract oversight and helped mitigate the Command’s risk of double payments. He collaborated with the Defense Contract Audit Agency to identify a contractor who received $4.2M in loan forgiveness yet had no policy and procedures to issue a credit to the Government as required by the FAR. As a result of Ward’s efforts, the contractor revised its incurred cost submission to reflect the credits received. Ward is committed to excellence and provides value to the command far greater than the cost savings achieved under his leadership.

Contracts Department Head, Karen Gutmaker said, “Ward believes our duty is to support the fleet while safeguarding the taxpayer’s dollar. The IG Inspectors told us that no other command had taken this innovative and proactive approach to contract oversight and our measurable achievements were remarkable.”

“Ward’s passion for working tirelessly in the pursuit of integrity in the execution and administration of contracts is unparalleled. Not only is he an innovator, but he is a mentor, a teacher, a role model, and a leader to many in the Navy, and his commitment to excellence has provided value to the command far greater than the cost savings achieved under his leadership,” Gutmaker adds.

Innovation Award (team), Timothy Lamey and Michael Roantree

The Total Ship Information Management Software (TSIMS) Team developed and implemented procedures to deliver software remotely to ten carriers enabling the ship’s forces to upgrade to the new version of TSIMS successfully. The TSIMS Team was required to deliver TSIMS version 9.0.1 software to all aircraft carriers to ensure compatibility with the new host environment; however, COVID-19 prevented travel on any ship during this timeframe. With a sense of urgency and duty, the TSIMS Team developed a new method to deliver software electronically with instructions for the ship’s force to install and test. This procedure was successfully tested on CVN 70 by the ship’s crew, which confirmed that all carriers could use the plan. The TSIMS Team planned and coordinated installations for the remaining ships allowing the ship’s force to install their new software successfully. The benefits realized by electronic software delivery included cost savings related to travel expenses, a significant reduction in overtime, reduced health risk to the ship’s crew and program personnel, and the ability to perform installations efficiently and at a faster pace. Additionally, the team processed multiple installations simultaneously on a flexible schedule. Due to its success, the new method of electronically installing software to ships will lead to future remote software deliveries and continued cost benefits to the command and the U.S. Navy.

Cybersecure Machinery Controls Systems and Networks Department Head, Seth Burmaster said, “Both the division, as well as the department, are very proud of this accomplishment and will use this installation method for future TSIMS deliveries.”

Outstanding Leadership, Susan Carter

Susan Carter exhibits outstanding and dynamic leadership for the NSWC Philadelphia Division. Since starting her role in the Sail, Hull, and Deck Machinery Division, Carter has assisted in the organization’s growth in various ways. She led the team through challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic and ensured that the Division continued to meet the critical elements of the U.S. Navy mission. Carter focused on creativity, innovation, and adaptability while changing the culture in the division to a disciplined systems engineering approach geared to meeting the schedules and cost drivers of the U.S. Navy. She revitalized the division’s workforce to take on the increased challenges while facing resource constraints. She also required process-focused improvements of the Advanced Weapons Elevator and Towed Communication Buoys, significant modernization outfitting combined with multiple critical U.S. Navy Sail, Hull, and Deck critical technical competencies supporting the CVN 78 and Columbia Class. These improvements were monumental efforts while dealing with the uncertainty and limitations of the pandemic that required rapid adaption of a virtual workforce. Carter grew the technical and business competency of the division and created a welcoming, inclusive people-focused environment. Her leadership, stewardship of division resources, dedication, hard work, and commitment to the organization are noteworthy. Whether it is developing standardized tools for new managers or serving as the lead and advocate for the department on the awards program, she leads by example by creating an environment of collaboration within her division, the department, and the Command.

“A significant responsibility in the best of times but a monumental effort while dealing with the uncertainty and limitations of the pandemic that required rapid adaption to a virtual workforce.” Dunlevy Miller said. “She was up to every challenge and succeeded in growing both the technical and business competency of the division while creating a welcoming, inclusive people focused culture. Whether it is developing standardized tools for new managers, serving as the lead and advocate for the department on the awards program, she gives of herself freely and openly creating an environment of collaboration within her division, across the department and across the command, she added.”

Technical Achievement Award, Daniel Lin

Lin is a strong leader of the NSWC Philadelphia Division Waterjet Team, and a tremendous asset to the fleet. His work ethic, professionalism, and technical knowledge are outstanding. He successfully supported emergent deployed Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Hulls on-site outside of the contiguous United States during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic while providing the LCS Class with the engineering support necessary to meet operability requirements. Lin adhered to restrictions for 14 days upon his arrival. Still, he immediately provided distanced support by teaming with the ship’s force and the Engineering Control System In-Service Engineering Agents to understand the complex issues. Lin walked the ship’s force through troubleshooting issues, made recommendations, and corrected several issues remotely from his hotel room. He led numerous process improvement initiatives for LCS Waterjets, including developing the Cooling Pump Planned Maintenance System (PMS) card, saving roughly $250,000 annually, and increasing the availability of the Waterjet system allowing the ship’s force to best support its mission. Lin has learned from this experience and is developing additional troubleshooting procedures on common issues to support the ship’s force on all hulls. He is a well-respected leader among his peers for his technical expertise across NAVSEA.

Dunlevy Miller said, “As the leader of the NSWCPD Waterjet Team, Lin has been a tremendous asset to the fleet. His work ethic, professionalism, and technical knowledge are outstanding and he stands out as a leader among his peers.”

Technical Achievement (team), Matthew Scott, David Jones, Augustus Corso, Andrew Lang, Tonya Kuranaruk, Nadif Bracey

The Power Recirculation Drive System (PRDS) Team oversees a critical, complex part of the Machinery Integration Test Facility (MITF) operations. Without a reliably functioning PRDS, the MITF cannot properly test the equipment. Any downtime with the PRDS creates a gap in testing and delays accomplishing test objectives in the Integrated Master Schedule. The Team is a dedicated group of engineers committed to keeping this complicated system ready for 24-hour testing. The Team worked throughout the pandemic with little telework experience and showed dedication to keep the MITF operating without delay. The core team members taught and mentored new members on processes, communication skills, objectives, and risks. The training provided significant benefits to the command by improving the PRDS product and performance of the MITF and provided an excellent training opportunity for engineers on rotations. Over the past year, the team implemented numerous changes to improve system reliability, developed new resources to support the team, and implemented a significant change to add a Real Time Simulator to enhance system reliability and reduce overall risks.

Machinery Integration Test Facility Department Head, Enrico Giampaolo said, “This team represents a true NSWCPD cross-department technical achievement by talented engineers. This talented team worked together to de-risk the system and to ensure this critical system is ready to support high visibility full scale electric drive testing.”

After the awards presentation, NSWCPD’s Acting Technical Director Chris Savage praised the “fantastic achievements of both winners and all of the nominees.” He said, “We are one team and one theme at NSWCPD,” and thanked everyone for coming out.

NSWCPD employs approximately 2,800 civilian engineers, scientists, technicians, and support personnel. The NSWCPD team does the research and development, test and evaluation, acquisition support, and in-service and logistics engineering for the non-nuclear machinery, ship machinery systems, and related equipment and material for Navy surface ships and submarines. NSWCPD is also the lead organization providing cybersecurity for all ship systems.