DAHLGREN, Va. – Hattie Webb is known for her exemplary leadership in helping to mentor young scientists within her group and for her tremendous community outreach through her church.
Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) announced on Aug. 26 that Webb was awarded the 2020 Women of Color (WOC) Technology All-Stars Award for her lasting impact across the Tomahawk Program, NSWCDD, and the local community.
“This was a welcomed surprise and I hope it inspires and encourages younger generations to pursue a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) career,” said Webb.
The Technology All-Star award honors accomplished women of color from mid-level to advanced stages of their careers who demonstrated excellence within both their workplace and community. Awardees are recognized at a special event during the WOC STEM Awards Conference. This recognition will also appear in the WOC Magazine Conference edition.
“I would like to thank members of the Tomahawk team, especially my System Engineering and Verification Branch supervisor, for nominating me for this award. Also, I am thankful to my highly capable coworkers and peers for their unwavering support and hard work,” said Webb. “In addition, a heartfelt thank you is extended to my husband, Bruce, and my two sons, Bernard and Bryce, for always supporting me in the good and bad times. Finally, I am so grateful to the WOC Technology award committee for selecting me.”
A graduate from Spelman College, Webb served in various roles as an engineer throughout her career, performing her duties with distinction over the past 37 years. Her accomplishments for the Navy encompass college recruiting; engineering development whitepapers; serving as the program certification lead for the CVN 77 Aircraft Carrier program (now the USS George H.W. Bush); performance of validation testing for the Tomahawk Weapons Control System; and her work on the Advanced Tomahawk Weapon Control System 1.7.2 build. Her leadership and contributions were vital to the build’s successful deployment into the fleet. She currently serves as the senior systems engineer for the Tomahawk Missile Program in the Strike Weapons Systems Division. A majority of Webb’s career has been with the Tomahawk Missile program. Under this program, she was able to earn her Master of Science in systems engineering from George Mason University in 2002.
“NSWCDD is the only place I have worked since graduating from Spelman. During this time, I have had the pleasure of working with some exceptionally talented people. They keep me grounded and enthusiastic about my job,” said Webb.
When Webb first arrived in the Fredericksburg and Dahlgren area she was not quite sure of what direction to take, but she kept her faith. “My career at NSWCDD has been more than I have ever hoped for in my lifetime. It has opened many doors for me and I am eternally grateful.” said Webb. “My mom always told me that the Lord does not put no more on you than you can bare. She was right. Here I am 37 years later being honored with the Women of Color Technology All Star Award. I could not have written a better story. I owe all my many blessings to the Lord above.”
For the past 20 years, Webb provided exemplary leadership, guidance and mentoring to each of her group members as the group leader. Her group often consists of young engineers and scientists, most directly out of college. Webb takes a proactive hands-on approach with each to guide, encourage and empower them. This mentorship has enabled members to become increasingly effective in their technical performance.
One instance of Webb’s approach is when she realized that a young engineer’s ability to perform technically and culturally was negatively affected due to English being his second language. Webb found the appropriate language training for him, and tutored him personally on the technical aspects of his job. This enhanced the engineer’s confidence, which resulted in the improvement of his technical performance while he adapted to a new culture.
“I look forward to coming to work every day to mentor and guide others,” said Webb, “We work as a team to provide quality products to the fleet.”
Webb is also an active member of Shiloh Baptist Church (old site) in Fredericksburg, Va., where she has served for the past 31 years. She is the assistant treasurer for the church’s Sunday school and serves in various ministries. These include being a minister to the Woodmont Center Nursing Home residents in Stafford, Va.; a member of the Young Ladies League; participating yearly in the Thanksgiving baskets for families in need, contributing to the Christmas Angel Tree for families in need; and volunteering at the Thurman Brisben Homeless Shelter.
Among her congregation and in the community, Webb is known for her community spirit and generosity. An example of this is her work in support of their local community holiday giving program. Every Christmas, Webb and her family sponsor multiple families by providing food and presents for both children and adults.
Webb credits her inspiration for her group leadership role and volunteer work, from how she was raised. She grew up in a very small town in southwest Georgia where poverty was, and still is, a way of life. “If I had the opportunity to help someone in need or lessen his or her financial stress, I would not hesitate to do so,” said Webb.
“I enjoy my job and get pleasure in helping others. I am from a very large family raised by a single parent who earned an extremely low income so I am well aware of what it means to get a little help every now and then. I am forever thankful for what I have accomplished professionally and personally,” said Webb, “I owe it all to the Lord. He is the center of my life and without Him nothing that I have done, currently doing, or will do in the future is possible.”
NSWCDD’s mission is to provide research, development, test and evaluation, analysis, systems engineering, integration and certification of complex naval warfare systems related to surface warfare, strategic systems, combat and weapons systems associated with surface warfare. The command also provides system integration and certification for weapons, combat systems and warfare systems and fulfills other responsibilities assigned by the NSWC commander.