Former astronaut Leland Melvin (left), with Michael Sears, the Patuxent River, Md. winner of NAVAIR's Mentor of the Year award. Sears was recognized at the annual Mentoring Month event on January 31, 2019.

Sears named NAVAIR Mentor of the Year for NAWCAD Patuxent River

Described as a visionary and leader who is highly resourceful and flexible, Michael Sears, Director of International Programs (AIR-1.4), was recently recognized for his generosity as he was named Naval Air Systems Command’s (NAVAIR) Mentor of the Year for Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) Patuxent River at the National Mentoring Month event on January 31, 2019 at the River's Edge Catering and Conference Center, Patuxent River, Md.

In keeping with the Secretary of the Navy’s guidance, NAVAIR recognizes that our military and civilian workforce is the Navy’s greatest resource. NAVAIR’s mentoring program was established in 2007 to invest in that resource, our future leaders. “Participation in a mentor-mentee relationship is a voluntary investment of time and resources for both parties, and so when a mentor exceeds expectations, we thank you for your investment in both your own future and our organization” said Mr. Gary Kurtz, Assistant Commander for Acquisition, (AIR-1.0).  Michael Sears consistently goes above and beyond by investing his time in his mentees.

The NAVAIR mentoring program provides employees senior-level guidance on career paths and a framework to learn from others’ experiences, and is available to the entire workforce from entry-level employees to mid-career professionals. Mentors can help mentees develop their goals and objectives by sharing their experiences, offering job shadowing, or helping them participate in developmental assignments. The program offers other experiences and resources such as speed mentoring, group mentoring, panel discussions, and an internet-based iMentor tool.

The NAVAIR Mentor of the Year Award was created to recognize a member of the NAVAIR workforce at each site who best exemplifies the ideal qualities and character of a mentor, an individual who has established a record of consistent outreach to others within the NAVAIR workforce. A good mentor not only provides career planning guidance, but also opportunities for increased organizational awareness, advice and opportunities for professional development, and participates in mentoring activities outside of those with their formal mentees.

"Throughout his over 28-year-career in the International Programs community, Sears has exemplified what it means to be a dedicated mentor by devoting his time and using his organizational knowledge and leadership expertise to develop the careers of others,” said Mr. Gary Kurtz, Assistant Commander for Acquisition, (AIR-1.0). “He is truly deserving of this award and I thank him for fostering a culture of knowledge-sharing here at NAWCAD Patuxent River."

Sears, a native of Enfield, Connecticut, and former Marine, currently oversees a workforce of over 700 Government and Contractor support worldwide with a portfolio of International programs exceeding $60 Billion dollars as of January 2019.

For Sears, it’s really about building future leaders. Because throughout his career mentors “invested their knowledge and experience” in him, and because his own leadership and organization places such a high value on mentorship, he’s now able to do the same for his mentees.

“I enjoy sharing my time and contributing to the growth and development of future leaders,” he said. “I’m eager to share the knowledge and experience I have, and help future leaders on their paths to success within the organization” said Sears.

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