January 16, 2023
University of Michigan, BSE in Aerospace Engineering
How I came to be an MRC employee:
Having supported NUWCDIVNPT Code 45 for nearly 5 years with BAE Systems, I had worked closely with MRC, including as a subcontractor. When this Program Manager position became available, I knew it was the challenge and career next step I wanted to take.
What I like best about working at MRC:
In the short time I’ve been here, I have been welcomed like an old friend and feel like I’ve been here for so much longer. Also, unlike so many defense contractors, all the answers I could ever need are here under one roof.
How my work contributes to the overall mission of the Navy:
Work with the Navy, especially on submarines, is somewhat unique in that Fleet sizes are relatively small. Years ago, I supported the Air Force’s F-16 Systems Program Office, and the number of those airframes that have been built is well over 4,000. When you work on Navy programs, the Fleet sizes are orders of magnitude smaller, which often makes it easier to see the impact of your work. When I work on a payload integration program, I know what boats are having the particular capabilities incorporated, what equipment is getting installed, and more.
Pivotal career moments/experiences:
Two things come to mind. The first was when I supported a general aviation aircraft flight test program with a professional test pilot. Over the course of a few weeks in a remote town in Utah, we started at the crack of dawn each day to complete a flight test program while the summer Utah air was still smooth. The second was during my support of an FMS payload integration program. I vividly remember sitting there in a cramped storage space above a torpedo room, on the other side of the world, my legs dangling down from the shelf-like space, as I ran a data acquisition (DAQ) system I developed for obtaining weapon launch data. I thought that was the coolest thing ever. On the other hand, it was definitely a high-pressure situation, because no longer was I in a controlled laboratory setting. Present was ship crew operating the launch systems, a full dive team retrieving the launched payloads from the water, a team working a massive crane to aid in the recovery and reloading of the payloads, and more. All of these people were there supporting testing of my system. All ended up going well and the experience is one I will never forget.
Hanging out with my 2-1/2-year-old son, flying (I have my pilot’s license and own a 1946 Aeronca Champ airplane), playing electric guitar, following the New York Mets, and watching my Michigan Wolverines beat the Ohio State Buckeyes in football.
Immerse yourself in what you are doing, but know that you cannot be an expert in everything. Understand that the most important part in many fields, especially engineering, is admitting when you don’t know the answer to something, but knowing who can help get you that answer. And finally, in the words of baseball great, Yogi Berra: “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” – you can’t always tell what the future holds for your career, so when opportunity knocks, you’d better answer the door.