Naval Surface Warfare Center, Philadelphia Division (NSWCPD) celebrated the exemplary achievements of 10 individuals and four teams, recently honoring them during the organization’s 2023 Command Awards ceremony.
The annual 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.
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.
“The strength of our organization lies within our collective effort and the support of the people next to us on whom the Navy and the Nation rely,” NSWCPD Commanding Officer Capt. Joseph Darcy said before presenting the awards along with the command’s Technical Director, Nigel C. Thijs, SES.
“Our Command Awards continue a long tradition of honoring the best of the best accomplishments made by our hardworking and dedicated Navy Civilians, from our industrial workforce to new employees and seasoned managers and teams across administrative, business, and technical competencies,” Thijs said, praising the outstanding achievements of the awardees.
Award recipients were as follows:
Lifetime Achievement, Thomas Ryan
In recognition of an employee with over 25 years of federal service who has shown significant leadership while demonstrating outstanding and noteworthy contributions to the command, the Lifetime Achievement Award recognized Ryan, an electrician, for his critical work and support of test sites over a forty-year career span. He constructed, operated, maintained, and serviced almost every major test site at the command. Ryan traveled to many ships to install electric plants and control systems alterations. He worked significantly on the various Ship Service Gas Turbine Generator control systems, as well as also traveled to numerous USS Ticonderoga (CG 47) and Guided-Missile Destroyer (DDG 51) class ships to provide technical assistance and to install modifications. Ryan provided invaluable electric plant training involving operation, troubleshooting, and repair to over 70 DDG 51 class engineering departments, as well as new engineers and electricians.
Machinery Programs and Platforms Department Head Todd Shaner said that Ryan’s biggest achievement was “no doubt the countless lives he touched during his career. From support personnel to electricians, mechanics, technicians, engineers. Contractors, visitors. He has set the tone for those working around him.”
Early Career Achievement, Rahul K. George
In recognition of an employee with less than five years at NSWCPD who has shown significant and innovative early career contributions and achievements, the Early Career Achievement Award recognized George, an engineer for submarine power distribution systems, for his tremendous leadership. George quickly took charge as a relatively junior engineer. He led a team of two new hires and two contractors, responsible for all power distribution systems/components across four in-service submarine platforms and new construction in Virginia amid the retirement of the experienced Submarine Team lead.
“Within a very short time period, George made immediate impacts on our team, for both the Submarine and CVN fleet,” Propulsion, Power, and Auxiliary Machinery Systems Department Head Karen Dunlevy Miller said.
Diversity and Inclusion, Juniper D. Sweeney
In recognition of an employee who promoted an inclusive workplace by inviting diverse viewpoints, encouraging collaboration, and modeling appreciation and respect towards colleagues, the Achievement in Diversity and Inclusion Award recognized Sweeney, a chemical engineer, for exceptional leadership and being a catalyst for positive change related to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Sweeney has made a positive and lasting impact on the Command’s culture while working with Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), outreach events, professional societies, and as a recruiter. As co-chair of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Allies (LGBTQ&A) ERG since 2021, Sweeney has played an active role in creating events that promote inclusivity and encourage thoughtful conversation to grow an empathic and respectful work environment.
“Sweeney has proven herself as an exceptional leader and catalyst for positive change,” Dunlevy Miller said.
The Achievement in Diversity and Inclusion Award – The Many Voices Team
In recognition of a team who promoted an inclusive workplace by inviting diverse viewpoints, encouraging collaboration, and modeling appreciation and respect towards colleagues, the Achievement in Diversity and Inclusion Award recognized the Many Voices Team, a diverse group of individuals with the drive to close the diversity gap, improve the culture of inclusion, address racism and equity, and retain valuable talent that brings unique and innovative solutions to the naval workforce. The command recognized the team for their hard work and attention to detail, culminating in the meaning of “The Force Behind the Fleet.”
The Many Voices initiative promotes candid conversations on diversity, equity, and inclusion to strive to be a workplace of the future. This open dialogue allows the workforce to express their concerns in a safe environment while creating understanding through cross-cultural communication. Team members included: Jeremy Scott, Noah Zorzi, Edwin Rosa, Theresa Steck, Robert W. Turner, Karen Dunlevy Miller, Scott D. Harris, Margaret A. Kenyon, Jillian Randazzo, and Rayann M. Surel.
“The Many Voices initiative reflects the dedication and commitment that NSWCPD has in striving to be an inclusive workplace where all employees feel welcome, which promotes productivity through teamwork. The efforts of this team brings great credit to themselves, the EEO office, NSWCPD, and the Department of the Navy,” Corporate Operations Department Head Jeremy Scott said.
Distinguished Mentorship Award, Ernesto A. DiSandro
In recognition of an employee who demonstrated a commitment to mentorship and established a track record for successful mentorship in a supportive environment, the Distinguished Mentorship Award recognized DiSandro, a lead outfitting In-Service Engineering Agent (ISEA) for the Division’s Hull and Deck Machinery Systems, for demonstrated excellence in mentorship throughout Fiscal Years 2022 and 2023. The quality of DiSandro’s mentorship in the detailed aspects of his profession is unparalleled, and he has also excelled as a mentor in the universal career, technical, and organizational facets of working within NSWCPD.
“Ernie [DiSandro] is a recognized leader. His willingness to share his knowledge, commitment, reliability, and dedication to the mission sets him apart from his peers. He has consistently exhibited efforts beyond the call of duty in order to support the Sailor,” Dunlevy Miller said.
Exceptional Operations Support Achievement Award, Rachel N. Scolpino
In recognition of exemplary performance by a support professional who has consistently demonstrated and sustained outstanding performance that exceeded goals, resulting in significant achievement or impact, the Exceptional Operations Support Achievement Award recognized Scolpino, a management assistant, for providing unwavering support to the Materials, Structures,
Environmental & Protection Division for over five years. She has implemented several improved administrative processes, preparing detailed guidance often shared within the Command.
“Throughout her career, Scolpino has been the cornerstone of administrative excellence, excelling in tasks that span executive support, ERP, customer care, records management, correspondence, travel assistance and training coordination. Her meticulous attention to detail and unwavering commitment to excellence have consistently exceeded expectations,” Machinery Research, Logistics, and Ship Integrity Deputy Department Head Peter Paone said.
Exceptional Operations Support Achievement Award, Staffing Tool Team
In recognition of exemplary performance by a support team who has consistently demonstrated and sustained outstanding performance that exceeded goals, resulting in significant achievement or impact, the Exceptional Operations Support Achievement Award recognized the Staffing Tool Team, a group of staffing specialists tasked with developing the Recruitment and Staffing Tool in Flank Speed SharePoint. This new tool allows full transparency at the executive level as well as the ability to elevate inaccuracies, view all hiring packages and their stages, meet deadlines, approve hires based on targeted competencies, and keep all stakeholders up-to-date on hiring. Team members included: Samantha C. Rabe-Steckholzer, David C. Perritt, Kevin F. Ercolani, Victoria L. Gonzalez, Leanne M. Molino, and Kristen D. Cottone.
Exceptional Business Operations Supervisory Achievement Award, Roy Tweedy
In recognition of exemplary performance in a business operational supervisor or management role, the Exceptional Business Operations Supervisory Achievement Award recognized Tweedy for his exemplary customer service to the Command as Head of Employee Services. His insight and expertise have enlightened managers and employees on pay benefits while implementing an awareness of the fiduciary responsibility of taxpayer dollars.
Comptroller Department Head Jocelyn Hall said that Tweedy demonstrated exceptional service in building opportunities for the command at large with a focus on educating the workforce on financial products. She added, “His commitment to excellence has provided value far greater than what is visibly seen in savings achieved under his leadership.”
Innovation Award, Shreyansh K. Shah
In recognition of an employee’s innovative efforts and accomplishments that improved the command’s operations, the Innovation Award recognized Shah, a lead mechanical engineer, for the quality of his work in the detailed aspects of his profession. Shah excelled in the universal career, technical, and organizational facets of working within the Command. He has directly influenced shipboard deck machinery design and new technology and substantially increased the quantity and quality of work products from the Division.
“Shah emphasizes innovation, both in his professional duties and personal efforts, leading to cascading long-term benefits to all technical departments, the Command, and the U.S. Navy. He is a dynamic innovative emerging leader,” Dunlevy Miller said.
Innovation Award, the Navy Common Actuator Team
In recognition of a team’s innovative efforts and accomplishments that improved the command’s operations, the Innovation Award recognized the Navy Common Actuator (NCA) Team, a professionally diverse team of technical specialists, system level in-service engineers, program management specialists, contracts management specialists, controls and cyber specialists to collaboratively move the concept of a Navy Common Actuator from an idea to a modeled prototype with production units to be delivered in late 2024. Team members included: Kyle F. Steets, John P. Miller, Matthew C. Fohner, Mark P. Cybulski, Michael D. Nolan, Timothy J. Speck, Edward J. Mitchell, Richard Starynski, Kayla J. Dicks, Rosemary E. Shuman, Alicia L. McPeters, Dustin J. Bordelon, Kathryn L. Avanzato, G. Malek M. Smith, David J. Rosmarin, Phil P. Marino, Joseph J. McCloskey, Timothy C. Donnelly, Annette Woodson, Desiree Deshmukh, Richard C. Strong, Edward W. Carter, and Mia Korngruen.
Outstanding Leadership Award, Alicia D’Orazio
In recognition of an employee who positively influenced and provided a sense of purpose, vision, and mission for others through formal and informal leadership, the Outstanding Leadership Award recognized D’Orazio, a lead training specialist, for leading her team through the many challenges of the pandemic while ensuring that the command continued to meet the critical mission by making sure that virtual training was available to all who wanted to participate.
“D’Orazio is an outstanding and dynamic rising leader in the organization who has demonstrated the ability to think independently, construct innovative training ideas, and effectively and effortlessly lead a small team to accomplish the large number of tasks associated with the programs she manages,” Scott said, adding, “If you look carefully, you will notice that her fingerprints are on many of the improvements and opportunities within the command.”
Technical Achievement Award, James A. Covert
In recognition of an employee whose achievement resulted in a major contribution to the state-of-the-art, a major technical achievement, or a record of accomplishment and technical excellence, the Technical Achievement Award recognized Covert, a lead systems engineer, for his outstanding technical prowess, leadership, program management, problem-solving skills, dedication, and interagency collaboration with the United States Coast Guard (USCG) on the USCG Cutter Polar Star (WAGB-10) modernization program. In 2022 Covert, in collaboration with the USCG, successfully replaced the existing machinery control system on the only U.S. heavy icebreaker capable of making the ice channel to McMurdo Station in Antarctica for resupply. This remarkable modernization task only took 120 days without impacting the ship’s mission and will extend the ship’s service life into the 2030’s.
Technical Achievement Award, the USCG Polar Star Award
In recognition of a team whose achievement resulted in a major contribution to the state-of-the-art, a major technical achievement or a record of accomplishment and technical excellence, the Technical Achievement Award recognized the Polar Star Team, a collaborative group of members from the Machinery Programs and Platforms Department; the Propulsion, Power, & Auxiliary Machinery System’s Department; and the Cybersecure Hull, Mechanical, and Electrical Control Systems and Networks Department, for their outstanding technical prowess, leadership, program management, problem solving skills, dedication, and interagency collaboration with the USCG on the Polar Star modernization program.
The team developed, designed, tested, installed, procured, and successfully executed a new $32 million government-owned, cutting-edge propulsion control system for our Nation’s icebreaker. As the only U.S. heavy icebreaker capable of making the ice channel to McMurdo Station in Antarctica for resupply, the U.S. government considers the Polar Star a national asset, and a ‘zero failure’ mission operation is required. It was a collaborative effort designed and installed concurrently with the NSWCPD Propulsion Power Distribution (PPD) control system upgrade.
Team members included: Nicholas R. Dewey, James A. Covert, Steven D. Berry, Nicholas J. Stumpo, Walter J. Mc¬Donald, Seth D. McBride, David T. Stecco, Sean P. Buckley, George A. Reick, Zachary F. Bean, Scott D. Kade, John W. Sieber, James A. McClain, Jason S. Adams, Frank Lu, Randolph M. Buzilow, Daniel J. Carpenter, Bobby L. Jones, Jason R. Meyers, Michael Perry, Brian K. Rader, Timothy L. Sipe, Luis E. Valledor, David M. Vought, and Martin J. Wichmann.
Industrial Support Achievement Award, Randy R. Wilson
In recognition of an employee who demonstrated industrial support and dedication to the command’s vision and mission by displaying efforts above and beyond the normal call of duty, providing outstanding leadership, and consistent high-quality service to both internal and external customers, The Industrial Support Achievement Award recognized Wilson, a marine machine mechanic, for providing confident and expert-level troubleshooting and technical guidance to subject matter experts during Substation and Return Cooling Pump Variable Frequency Drive (VFD) failure conditions. These failures and remediation efforts occurred during the winter months of 2022, and required significant weekend, overtime, and holiday shift work to ensure safe and reliable troubleshooting occurred in the remediation process.
“Wilson’s commitment to excellence and honesty, aligned with NSWCPD’s vision and mission, and his confidence led to the complete identification of the holistic unsafe electrical issue in need of remediation,” Shaner said.
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.