News Release, NAVAIR News

“I wanted to be here today to say congratulations and point you in the direction I think you need to go,” NAVAIR Commander Vice Adm. Dean Peters told the 138 graduates of the Journey Leadership Development Program and NAVAIR Leadership Development Program at a ceremony in Patuxent River, Md., March 28. Both programs help prepare employees to learn and master leadership skills more effectively.

NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, PATUXENT RIVER, Md.–NAVAIR Commander Vice Adm. Dean Peters recently honored 70 employees from the Journey Leadership Development Program (JLDP) and 68 from the NAVAIR Leadership Development Program (NLDP) at a command-wide graduation ceremony held here March 28.

“I need you to help your teammates and employees adapt and embrace the opportunities before us,” Peters told the graduates. “I’m counting on every one of you to help us transform NAVAIR. You’ve already taken the first step, by investing in your professional development.”

Peters also gave the graduates some pointers from the book “Humility is the New Smart” by Edward Hess and Katherine Ludwig, such as:

  • Quiet your ego.
  • Be a good listener. Be open to other ideas.
  • Manage your thoughts.
  • Elicit help from others.

Steve Cricchi, assistant commander for Corporate Operations and Total Force, urged the graduates to give back and thank everyone who has helped them on their leadership journey.

“Mentor others. Give your people opportunities,” he advised. “Infuse a sense of urgency in the people you lead – because the threats are real, and time is short.”

NAVAIR Leadership Development Program graduates from Patuxent River, Md.

Both JLDP and NLDP help prepare employees to learn and master leadership skills more effectively. Over the course of several years participantstake classroom-based leadership development courses and online training, shadow senior leaders, find a mentor and engage in professional reading, among other things. The classes address topics such as change management, the world of Capitol Hill and global perspectives.

JLDP graduates said the program is life changing.

“I have learned so many communication and leadership skills that have prepared me for the next chapter in my career,” said April Trossbach. “Through networking within this program, I was able to do a non-required rotation, which led me into a career field that I truly love.”

For Terri Gualtieri, JLDP helped her become an active listener, recognize her strengths and weaknesses and become an effective communicator. “In JLDP, not only do you learn a lot about yourself to effectively become a superior leader, but the program will help you anywhere in your life,” she said.

Journey Leadership Development Program graduates from Patuxent River, Md.

All the graduates recommended the program to their co-workers.

“JLDP challenges you to grow and to use this knowledge to empower others to do the same,” said Denise Paone. “I believe the more you learn about yourself and how others think and behave, the more enriching your life will be. Learning is a lifelong process; it is a priceless gift that never stops giving.”

NLDP graduate Danny Vereen Jr. said he always speaks highly of the program to his co-workers. “I’m always telling my co-workers that NLDP is great for anyone who wants to enhance their abilities in the area of public speaking, critical thinking, networking skills and creativity,” he said. “Combined, these will help you become a better leader.”

NLDP graduates appreciated the variety of topics covered in their courses.

Christie Agamaite, who was accepted into the program in 2014, said she benefited from the Emergenetics profile, which is based on the concept that who you are today is the emergence of your behavior, genetic makeup and life experiences.

“I have learned how to be a more effective leader,” she said. “I look at situations, personal and professional, through different lenses and make decisions accordingly.”

Angela Bell said she has also begun to look at her job through a different lens.

“NLDP allowed me to see the bigger picture within the Naval Aviation Enterprise, understand the strategic vision, as well as the various elements of the organization that must work together to execute that vision,” she said. “It’s changed the way I approach my work as I understand the larger workings of our team.”

For Raymond DiMonda, experiencing each site firsthand and learning about different employees’ perspectives and challenges was invaluable.

“Each phase, we learned so much about the site and local area we visited for the training, the guest speakers that we listened to and learned from, and the other people in the class from all over the world who work for NAVAIR,” he said. “If I had to cap off what it meant to me, it was building relationships with people.”

Some of those people included the authors of the books DiMonda read as part of the program, whom he called “American heroes.” He reflected on the chance to meet the authors, ask questions and even eat lunch with them.

“It opens you up to another level of learning that you cannot come close to getting out of a book,” he said. “With that lesson, I learned we need to get out and understand our customers and see things from their perspective. It will change the way I approach situations and think of impacts not only to our facility and programs, but also from our customer’s stance.”

Peters reminded the graduates they all have a common goal.

“We have a compelling mission. You all are civilian Sailors. You have careers that matter,” he said. “Thank you for what you have already done and what you will do in the months to come.”

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...