NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, PATUXENT RIVER, Md. – Thirteen logistics management specialists graduated from the Navy Acquisition Development Program (NADP) and the Engineer Scientist Developmental Program (ESDP) in a ceremony at Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River, Maryland, Nov. 9, marking the conclusion of their internships.

Roy Harris, Aviation Readiness and Resource Analysis (Air 6.8) director, asked the graduates to continue to pass along the guidance and mentorship they received while in the program. “You’ve all had challenging rotations,” he said. “NAVAIR (Naval Air Systems Command) will benefit as you go from students to leaders. Advise others who are still trying to figure out their career paths.”

Assistant Commander for Logistics and Industrial Operations (Air 6.0), Brig. Gen. Masiello, also encouraged graduates to serve as a resource to NAVAIR’s workforce. “A lot of people invested in you and you have invested in yourself,” he said. “Tell others about the opportunities and experiences you’ve had as a result of being in the program. Help us grow the team.”

During the ceremony, Harris asked the graduates to share a list of what they learned from their time in NADP or ESDP. Collaboration and continuous learning were common themes.

“Teamwork is the key to get the job done,” said NADP graduate Pedro Aguayo. “Manpower and personnel are important to the acquisition process. We have to help each other succeed in bringing capabilities to the warfighter.”

“Take advantage of all the opportunities the internship provides,” said NADP graduate Meghan Wagner. “Not just through your homeroom, but through the [Naval Acquisition Career Center] that offers [Aviation Maintenance Officer] School, carrier tours, Fleet Readiness Centers tours and other organizations as well.”

For ESDP graduate Daniel Piper, mentorship was the determining factor to the full experience of NADP.  “It set up key rotations for me that enabled me to network beyond my current position,” he said.

One of those rotations served to frame his perspective on readiness. “Being the [deputy assistant program manager for Logistics in H-60 Multi Missions Helicopter Program Office (PMA-299)] made it clear to me how decisions made in the acquisition phase impacts everything in an aircraft’s sustainment phase.”

NADP graduate Mark Harris said interns must be willing to push themselves beyond the familiar and to take on challenges outside of their swim lane.  “Always keep your ears open,” he said. “You learn so much by observing, connecting and applying seemingly unrelated data.”

Emmanuel Parial, the only graduate recruited through the Wounded Warrior Program, said although he learned attention to detail while serving with the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, working as a deputy assistant program manager for logistics in the AV-8B Weapon Systems Program Office  (PMA-257) honed that skill.  “The fleet depends on us getting technical directives right the first time every time,” he said.

Parial said confidence in one’s ability is also important. “Even though we are interns, we bring a fresh perspective to the team.  We may be the individual that catches a small discrepancy or makes a suggestion to help solve a problem,” he said.  “When I was on rotation, I was part of a team fielding a new capability for the [AV-8B] Harrier and we ran into a roadblock. Through research, I found out the Army was the central controlling agency for the component we were working on. I reached out to a few of my contacts in the Army and we reconciled the discrepancy.  Eliminating that barrier was as simple as picking up the phone.”

While working with NAVAIR’s Additive Manufacturing team, Sandra Conde, one of two ESDP graduates, learned that challenges faced by logisticians and engineers are not necessarily technical. “While we may have the resources to introduce advanced technologies, great ideas are not going to benefit the fleet if we don’t have a way of proving and integrating it into the system.  I now have an appreciation of the big picture when it comes to working in a complex organization like NAVAIR.”

Several graduates achieved notable distinctions during their rotations. For instance, Conde recommended changes to the Ground Electronics Maintenance for more optimal use.  It has the potential to be used by Triton for in-service repairs and damage evaluations of bonded and bolted joints.  During her rotation in the Air Vehicle Engineering Department’s (Air 4.3) Nondestructive Inspection Branch, she also discovered the potential to optimize the placement of 3D printed parts on the build plate.  Piper authored an article for the NAVAIR Journal for Scientists and Engineers,titled “Autonomy Definitions Applied to NAVAIR Unmanned Air Systems.” NADP graduate Charrelle Johnson maintained a leadership role on the African-American Pipeline Advisory Team. Wagner established the Women’s Advisory Group Breaking Through Barriers Team during her internship.

Masiello commended the graduates for completing the program and asked them continuously challenge themselves. “I am an advocate of lifelong learning,” he said. “Look to where you are headed.   Many in NAVAIR’s senior executive service were where you are today. Interning is a good start to later successes in your career.”

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...