HEADQUARTERS, NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, PATUXENT RIVER, Md.– Two Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) employees received recognition for being modern-day technology leaders at the annual Black Engineer of the Year Awards (BEYA) Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Global Competitiveness Conference, which took place both virtually and in-person in Washington, D.C., Feb. 17-19.

Both Lead Systems Engineer (LSE) Eric Bagho, Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division (NAWCTSD), and Computer Scientist Olivia Briscoe, Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) Webster Outlying Field (WOLF), received 2022 Modern Day Technology Leader awards.

Bagho, a NAVAIR employee for nearly seven years, is currently the LSE for the Multi-Engine Training System (METS) program at NAWCTSD’s General Training Branch, in Orlando, Fla. During the ceremony, he acknowledged his mentor, Lead Engineer Greg Travassos “for believing in me and allowing me to make difficult calls,” he said.

He also thanked his former supervisor, Branch Head Hoang Doan, for his guidance and leadership. “He always pushed us to do better and to excel in our careers,” Bagho said. It was Doan who nominated Bagho for the award.

Doan nominated Bagho because he “demonstrated extraordinary leadership abilities and technical achievements as the LSE for three separate and highly complex aviation training systems while assigned to the Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division (NAWCTSD).”

Bagho was the LSE for the F-5 aircraft adversary trainers for Navy Reserve Forces Command at Naval Air Station (NAS) Key West, Fla., and NAS Fallon, Nev.; and the LSE for the Chief of Naval Air Training (CNATRA) T-45C Meridian Operational Flight Trainer (OFT) Obsolescence Effort (MOOE), and the LSE for the CNATRA Multi-Crew Simulator (MCS).

“Eric delivered the F-5 training systems and T-45C OFTs despite the significant schedule, capability, and logistics challenges experienced at each site,” Hoang said. “As the lead engineer on these major efforts, Eric has far exceeded our expectations in delivering trainers to the schoolhouses on time, within budget, and with the latest aircraft data — as well as initiating a new start program. His work has directly ensured that Naval Aviation Training had the critical simulator assets needed to meet their student throughput demands.”

Like Bagho, Briscoe has also been at NAVAIR for seven years. Nominated by Director James B. Taylor, Integrated C2 and Intelligence Division, who describes her as the go-to person for New Equipment Training (NET) and User Acceptance Testing (UAT).

“Working in an ‘always on’ technological environment, Olivia has been able to leverage new software and innovative digital media for the National Guard Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and high-yield Explosive (CBRNE) Information Management System (CIMS),” he said.

According to Taylor, “Olivia was able to create virtual training modules and testing plans to demonstrate the new capabilities incorporated into the platforms, including installation, equipment features, configuration, operating, removing, and basic troubleshooting,” he wrote.  “The impact of her efforts has been the creation of virtual training modules and comprehensive testing procedures required for the fielding of complex National Guard CIMS equipment.”

Taylor also acknowledged Briscoe’s support of the NAWCAD WOLF Professional Developmental Committee (PDC) both as a council representative and as the mentoring committee vice-chair.

“Developing the committee into a bigger sub-organization that allowed for more participation from WOLF young professionals is one of my biggest achievements,” Briscoe said.

Both Bagho and Briscoe were grateful for the recognition as modern-day technology leaders. “It means a lot to me,” said Bagho. “I enjoy doing my job and it is a blessing to be recognized.”

“It means that I am moving in the right direction by developing the skills to inspire those around me, to become the type of leader that I want to become, and to keep going down the path that I am going,” Briscoe said.

The STEM Global Competitiveness Conference also featured Fleet Readiness Center Aviation Support Equipment Director Adrienne Somerville. She hosted the podcast, “Job Readiness Certification: Interpersonal Skills: Creating and Building Productive Connections Course Discussion ” and led a workshop designed to help participants become charismatic and unforgettable person that stands out in a crowd by providing communication skills, tips on making an impact, and advice on networking and starting conversations.

Somerville also participated on the panel, “Purpose-Driven Mentoring: How to Find, Pick, and Create Powerful Mentor Relationships,” that offered tips on engaging in, finding, and benefiting from mentoring programs.

NAVAIR’s participation in BEYA spans more than 15 years. The command offers support for a variety of programs, including mentoring, recruiting, workshops, and career development initiatives.

BEYA, founded in 1986, aims to honor the achievements of underrepresented demographics in STEM fields. The event itself, with a theme this year of “365 Engineering: Our New Stem World. Engage. Learn. Evolve. Advance. Thrive.” allows students, teachers, and various professionals to network and share resources through workshops, presentations, and more.

The full list of BEYA winners can be found online.

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