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NUWC Division Newport engineer receives DON Superior Civilian Service Award

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Story by Public Affairs Office on 10/12/2018
NEWPORT, R.I. One thing has stood out above all else for John Babb during his time working at Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Division Newport.

"I've been working here 36 years and it's the people that you work with that results in these types of awards," Babb told a crowd of more than 100 people on Oct. 1 after he received the Department of the Navy (DON) Superior Civilian Service Award, the second highest honorary award bestowed on a civilian by the Navy.

Babb's commendation was the final award given out at the ceremony, which also recognized two recipients of the DON Meritorious Civilian Service Award and 44 Division Newport winners of the 2017 Naval Sea Systems Command Warfare Center Award.

"It's quite surprising. I'm kind of overwhelmed," Babb, who has spent most of his career working on submarine concepts but also is the lead customer advocate at NUWC Newport, said. "I'll often say it's not just about me, it's about the teams that you put together and what they're able to do. That's been my career.

"I've been able to work with and assemble some good teams and do some amazing things. It's just fun to come to work when you have that."

Babb was not the only one to note how important the people are to the work done at NUWC Newport. It was a common theme in the remarks made by Donald McCormack, Executive Director, Naval Surface and Undersea Warfare Centers; Capt. Michael Coughlin, NUWC Newport Commanding Officer; and Ron Vien, NUWC Newport Technical Director.

"We have great facilities and labs, but it's really about the people," McCormack said. "There's nothing more important that we can do as leaders than to recognize and reward the folks that are doing outstanding work."

Coughlin supported this line of thinking in a brief anecdote. He recently visited with nine new employees and asked them, "of the people, process and results, what do you think I focus on the most as the Commanding Officer?"

One person chose people, another results and the remaining seven elected process; Coughlin did not keep them in suspense long for the answer.

"The people is where I spend most of my time. We deal with the processes and we make sure they're as good as they can be so we can be effective and drive results on the end, but it is, as Mr. McCormack mentioned, about the people," Coughlin said. "It's about you coming together as a team and doing great work for our organization. They'll quickly realize it's that people piece that will drive results."

"We really want to be One Team across all of the Warfare Centers," McCormack said. "I know one thing for sure and that's together, we're stronger. If we leverage all the resources that we have across all the Warfare Centers, then we can make better teams and provide better services and products to the Navy."

Vien further expanded on this topic in his remarks. While noting the value of collaboration, Vien also stressed the importance of both innovation and knowledge sharing.

"Innovation is really our responsibility as the Naval Undersea Warfare Center. People often ask, what do you do there? I describe it in one sentence: We are the Navy's technical steward in the undersea domain," Vien said. "When it comes to innovation, that's our responsibility to continue to advance the state of the art in undersea warfare.

" Lastly, knowledge sharing. If you look at the CNO's initiatives, high velocity learning ties in closely to that. I think about how our everyday world, how it's changed at least over my career. We used to be limited to only so much information and now there's so many other resources out there where we're able to grab knowledge and share information more quickly."

Babb's career in many ways has reflected all these concepts particularly in the last seven years. In that time, Babb has led an effort covered under Public Law 110-417 Section 219 where he teaches a small group of young professionals what he does, introduces them to shipyards and the group does a project from it.

"That's really rewarding because they are the future," Babb said. "I'm happy to see them all so enthusiastic."

The feeling among Babb's pupils clearly is mutual, as a number of them were in attendance for the ceremony. They were among the first to rise when Babb received a standing ovation after he got his award and a medal was pinned to his coat by his wife, Sharon. McCormack also congratulated Babb after some playful ribbing.

"Congratulations to all the award winners even John Babb," McCormack joked before continuing in a more serious tone. "It's outstanding work that you've always done, John, you know that."

The DON Superior Civilian Service Award is intended to recognize superior civilian service or contributions that have resulted in high value or benefits to the Navy. Signed by Rear Adm. Moises DelToro III, commander, Naval Sea Systems Command, the award recognizes a pattern of long-term sustained high performance, innovative leadership of highly successful programs, scientific or technical advances of significant value, accomplishments which show unusual management abilities, innovative thinking and/or outstanding leadership that benefits the Navy.

Babb's citation reads:

"The Naval Undersea Warfare Center is pleased to award Mr. John Babb the Department of the Navy Superior Civilian Service Award for his dedication, technical excellence, and unwavering vision for the evolution and advancement of undersea technologies from May 2008 to April 2018. His technical expertise in systems engineering and integration has furthered the Navy's unmanned underwater vehicle and submarine-related programs, and his leadership efforts in Concept Formulation have laid the groundwork for the fleet's future capabilities.

"Through active collaborations with government, industry, and academia, he has fostered research, innovation, and product development leading to successful fielding of undersea systems. His steadfast dedication to cultivating the next generation of over 40 engineers and scientists has ensured the continuity of technical excellence for Division Newport and the Navy. His many valuable contributions to the systems engineering profession and the undersea community have significantly contributed to the success of the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, the U.S. Navy, and the nation."

Division Newport employees win Department of the Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Awards

Thomas Downie and Thomas Floyd, both of Division Newport's Undersea Warfare Electromagnetics Division were awarded DON Meritorious Civilian Service Awards, the third highest honorary award bestowed by the Navy, during the ceremony.

The award is intended to recognize meritorious civilian service or contributions that have resulted in high value or benefits to the Navy. Signed by commander, Naval Undersea Warfare Center, the award includes extraordinary service, special achievement, the development of a scientific project of extraordinary importance, magnitude or significance, with quantifiable results or impact, and the performance of assigned duties that exceed normal expectations.

Downie of North Stonington, Connecticut, was given the following citation:

"The Naval Undersea Warfare Center is pleased to award Thomas Downie the Department of the Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award for his significant career achievements in submarine communications from February 2008 to July 2018. For over 10 years as technical project manager for Satellite Communications Systems, he has demonstrated his unique technical expertise for the benefit of the Navy. He provided critical guidance in the completion of the National Maintenance Center for the Submarine High Data Rate Antenna system at Division Newport, which supports the Pacific and Atlantic fleets. His efforts were essential in significantly reducing the overall operations and sustainment costs of Sub High Data Rate masts. In every aspect of his job, Downie provides the leadership, vision, and attention to detail that ensures that the fleet is getting the best possible product. Downie's exceptional professionalism, personal initiative, and total commitment to duty have provided unprecedented benefit to Division Newport, the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, the Naval Sea Systems Command, the U.S. Navy, and the nation."

Floyd, of North Stonington, Connecticut, was given the following citation:

"The Naval Undersea Warfare Center is pleased to award Thomas Floyd the Department of the Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award for his achievements as the Undersea Warfare Electromagnetic Systems Department facility manager from August 1999 to August 2018. His efforts in planning and oversight were critical in the completion of a 54,000 square foot, multi-story building that houses a periscope repair center, a maintenance depot, and satellite communication programs. He has been instrumental in the planning of the 5,000 square foot future home of the Submarine Electromagnetic Maneuver Warfare program. This will allow the co-location of Exterior Communication and Electronic Warfare systems, resulting in a system capable of sharing apertures and operating in a coordinated manner. Floyd has ensured that required office and laboratory spaces meet the needs of a department whose size has increased by more than 80 percent in the past 12 years. Floyd's exceptional professionalism, personal initiative, and total commitment to duty have provided unprecedented benefit to Division Newport, the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, the Naval Sea Systems Command, the U.S. Navy, and the nation."

Division Newport employees win Naval Sea Systems Command Warfare Center Awards

Also at the ceremony, Forty-four Division Newport employees were honored for winning the prestigious Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Warfare Center (WC) Awards for calendar year 2017. This year, the WC Board of Directors recognized excellence in the areas of talent management, collaboration, innovation, knowledge sharing, and technical support services which have contributed to effective teaming, innovation, and improvement in the areas of product quality and technical capabilities.

NUWC Newport earned high marks in the collaboration category with representatives on five of the 12 winning teams.

In the collaboration category, the Warfare Center United States Marine Corps Collaboration Team collaborated across all 10 NAVSEA WCs, NAVSEA and the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command in the development of a long-term strategy to determine resources, processes, and needs for the Marine Corps' strategic assessment. The team identified $3 million in cost savings to the program by avoiding duplication of effort in the generation of electronic drawings for the Amphibious Assault Vehicle and the U.S. Navy platform well deck. NUWC Newport's Dr. Aileen Sansone from the Undersea Warfare Weapons, Vehicles, and Defensive Systems Department contributed to the team's success.

Also in the collaboration category, the Urban 5th Generation (U5G) Marine Advanced Naval Technology Exercise Planning Team won for its substantial contributions to the U5G Marine Task Force's Advanced Naval Technology Exercise planning in recognition of the high level of collaboration between the NAVSEA WCs at Carderock, Crane, Corona, Dahlgren, Indian Head, Newport and Panama City Divisions. The team's technical and operational assessments will influence future acquisition decisions for the next generation Marine. NUWC Newport winners include, Dr. Peter Hardro, Lauren Konrath and Dr. Aileen Sansone from the Undersea Warfare Weapons, Vehicles, and Defensive Systems Department; and Christopher Carbone, Thomas Hansen and Dr. William Weiss from the Sensors and Sonar Systems Department.

A third winning team in the collaboration category was the Advanced Naval Technology Exercise 2017 Core Team, which was recognized for its pier-side collaboration between technology developers from industry, academia, Navy operators, program offices, and NUWC Newport and Panama City Division. The team created a high velocity learning environment critical to supporting rapid prototyping and emerging technologies. NUWC Newport winners include Karen Bernier, Joseph Murphy, Tracy Correll, Jeffrey Prater and John Trifero from the Corporate Operations Department; Thomas Fulton from the Undersea Warfare Weapons, Vehicles, and Defensive Systems Department; Jessica Shaffer and John Hughes from the Ranges, Engineering and Analysis Department; and Travis McCune from the Undersea Warfare Mission Engineering and Analysis Department.

The next team of collaborators, the Forward Deployed Energy and Communications Outposts Team, was also in the collaboration category. The team won for its significant contributions in fabricating, testing and demonstrating an innovative undersea infrastructure system for unmanned vehicle docking, communications, wireless power transfer, and power and energy management. NUWC Newport collaborated with Carderock and Philadelphia Divisions and worked closely with Navy and industry partners on this project. NUWC Newport team members include, Alexander Batrakov, Thomas Fawcett, Nicholas Frade, Jordan Kirby, Meghan Linskey, Peter Nickerson, Stephen Prashaw, Gilbert Resto, David Rubenstein, Scott Veitch and Peter Whicker from the Undersea Warfare Weapons, Vehicles, and Defensive Systems Department; Laureano Costa from the Platform and Payload Integration Department; and William Craig from the Undersea Warfare Electromagnetic Systems Department.

The final cross-warfare team in the collaboration category was the Towed Communications Buoy Team, which won based on its noteworthy collaborative work with the Carderock and Philadelphia Divisions, and Program Executive Office Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence Program Manager Warfare 770. The team's effort resulted in an improved Submarine Towed Communications Buoy at a reduced cost. The NUWC Newport team members include, Gabriel Alvandian, John Casey, Michael Duarte, Elizabeth Foster, Edward Gelsomino and Isaac Wheeler from the Undersea Warfare Electromagnetic Systems Department.

In the innovation category, the Virginia Payload Team-Virtual Reality Team won for applying innovative principles in the development of a proof of concept Virtual Reality Training capability for the new Virginia Payload Tube. This cutting-edge project has improved existing capabilities and Fleet training at reduced costs. David Giroux, from the Platform and Payload Integration Department, contributed to this winning team.

The NUWC Newport Electronic Cost Reporting and Financial Tracking (eCRAFT) Enterprise (E2) Team scored high marks, winning in the advancing knowledge sharing category. The team developed and implemented this tool simultaneously to all 10 WCs as a single solution for post-award contract management, surveillance and performance monitoring. The E2 Team trained over 1,000 contract personnel across the NAVSEA Enterprise, which featured in-depth classroom sessions with subject matter experts on hand to answer questions. Division Newport team members include John de Ciutiis, William Gross, George Viveiros and Karl Von Winkle from the Corporate Operations Department; Lauren Ogren and Kimberly Vitiello from the Undersea Warfare Combat Systems Department; Laura DiPaola and John Keddy from the Sensors and Sonar Systems Department; and Christopher Kenney from the Contracts Department.

NUWC Division Newport, part of the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), is one of two divisions of the Naval Undersea Warfare Center. NUWC Division Newport's mission is to provide research, development, test and evaluation, engineering and fleet support for submarines, autonomous underwater systems, undersea offensive and defensive weapons systems, and countermeasures. NUWC's other division is located in Keyport, Wash.

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