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NEWS | Jan. 30, 2023

How to Become a Department Head: NSWCDD Hosts Department Head Flash Mentoring Event

By NSWCDD Corporate Communications

It is a well-known fact that the success of any organization relates to the strength of its workforce. Investing time, energy and resources in professional development assures this success. Command and senior leadership at Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) understand this philosophy and are dedicated to instituting opportunities for its workforce, from supporting higher education to advancing careers.

On Jan. 25, NSWCDD hosted a Department Head Flash Mentoring event at the University of Mary Washington, Dahlgren Campus for its civilian workforce. The event – organized by the Corporate Operations Department’s Human Resources Division – provided an in-person platform for attendees to hear personal accounts about career advancement in an antidotal and “how-to” style from some of the warfare center’s leading senior officials.

Strategic and Computing Systems Department head Frank Dixon, Electromagnetic and Sensor Systems Department head Aaron Miller, Comptroller Department head Jim Barnes and Deputy Technical Director Darren Barnes spoke to the audience during the panel session, sharing their Dahlgren career journeys up to their current positions. The audience also participated in a Q&A round after each panelist’s presentation.

“It is important for leadership to make the time for these types of events. Equally important is for our workforce to be provided these opportunities to attend these types of events,” stated Barnes. “I was more than happy and excited to take the time to participate in the panel discussion, as were the other panelists that were here today.”

Additionally, small group mentoring sessions led by the senior leaders provided a more one-on-one interactive experience.

According to Acting Equal Employment Opportunity Specialist and Succession Planning Project Manager Andy Humphrey, “We have a responsibility to provide our workforce with the means to grow, develop and better themselves in all aspects of their lives. Today’s event highlighted that there is no one single way to meet a goal and that diverse backgrounds strengthen each individual’s readiness to take on the challenges of senior leadership.”

The Department Head Flash Mentoring event is part of a year-round workforce development series geared towards increasing career advancement awareness and opportunities in addition to providing valuable information to warfare center employees. The next event is slated for Mar. 22 and will feature five department heads, distinguished scientists and engineers and Command staff on the panel.