Apr 21, 2014
NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, PATUXENT RIVER, Md. — One of Naval Air System’s Command’s (NAVAIR) newest Senior Executive Service (SES) members is leading the charge in all things Propulsion and Power.
Antonio Miguelez leads nearly 600 naval scientists and engineers and has responsibility for full life-cycle support of NAVAIR’s air-breathing propulsion and power systems for U.S. Navy and Marine Corps aircraft. He directly manages and substantially influences annual budgets totaling more than $1.8 billion.
Director of the Propulsion and Power Engineering Department (AIR-4.4), Miguelez was promoted to NAVAIR’s SES ranks in January, but his roots in that professional community go back more than 30 years. He began his career in 1980 as a Co-op student, testing jet-engine components at the Naval Air Propulsion Center in Trenton, N.J. He then transferred to Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., in 1996 as the Navy realigned and closed several bases. Coincident to these base realignments, NAVAIR transitioned to a competency-aligned organization and AIR-4.4 was established. From 1996 through April 2009, Miguelez held several supervisory and leadership positions within the department, each of increasing responsibility.
When Miguelez accepted a position in the Pentagon in Dec. 2010, he was Director, Research and Engineering Group for the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD).
Three years later, the new SES is settling into his latest role. Miguelez shared his views on leadership and the progress of a vital upcoming project, the Naval Power, Avionics and Thermal (NPATH) Initiative.
What are your thoughts on being the leader of your department?
I’m proud and honored to have been selected for the position, and extremely excited. The work done here encompasses many engineering and science disciplines focused on propelling and powering aircraft. Propulsion and Power includes air-breathing engines of many types, drive systems, electrical-power generation and distribution, aviation fuels and lubricants and engineering specialties, such as structural integrity, performance modelling, reliability analysis and testing of propulsion and power components and systems. First and most fundamentally, we work to ensure our systems are safe. Some of the hardware we are responsible for includes rotating life-limited parts. Our job is to make sure that the limits we put on those parts have the proper safety margins. Exceeding the limit is unsafe and retiring parts below their limits is expensive, so getting the analysis right is critical. Leading the talent that makes it all happen is just amazing and a great feeling.
What is your goal for your department in the coming year?
My goal is to lead the Propulsion and Power Department in a manner that allows us to define our future and raises the level of support to our customers, primarily the fleet. This will require taking a high-performing organization to a higher level in a challenging resource environment. Unrealistic? I prefer challenging, exciting, motivating and empowering. The toughest times can provide the ripest opportunities for change because the alternative is no longer sustainable. My goal is ambitious because I believe in everyone on my team.
What can you tell us about your upcoming NPATH project?
This project is a cross-departmental effort combining skills to deliver test and analysis capability of an integrated weapon system. Aircraft components that produce and use power combined with thermal systems that regulate heat loads are being brought together in a laboratory environment where detailed measurements can be made and design changes can be evaluated. This is an exciting new test and evaluation capability for naval aviation with far-reaching future warfighting capability and readiness benefits. The project also provides a demonstration of integrating competency expertise to better support the warfighter.
BIOBOX: ANTONIO MIGUELEZ
Title: Director, Propulsion and Power Engineering Department
Born and raised: Langhorne, Pa.
Education: Bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and master’s in business administration, both from Drexel University; NAVAIR Senior Executive Management Development Program; Advanced Program Management Course from Defense Systems Management College; Leadership for a Democratic Society from the Federal Executive Institute; Navy Corporate Business Course from Naval Postgraduate School; and Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Training from George Group.
Career: Started in 1980 as a Co-op student testing jet-engine components at the Naval Air Propulsion Center in Trenton, N.J., before transitioning to Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., in 1996; from 1996 through April 2009, held several supervisory and leadership positions within the department; from April 2009 to December 2010, served as Director, Research and Engineering Group for the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD); from December 2010 to January 2014, Miguelez took assignments in the Pentagon with the Naval Warfare Integration Group and Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Air Programs.
Major accomplishments: Associate fellow at NAVAIR Research and Engineering Fellows Program 2001; Department of the Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award 2001, 2005; Corporate Achievement Award, Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers 2010; Department of the Navy Hispanic Achievement Leadership Award 2011.
Advice for young professionals: “In today’s environment, don’t ever consider your development and training ‘done.’ Second and third degrees are great, but it doesn’t have to be all that; just keep learning. Stay current in your profession, so you remain relevant. Be a problem solver, always pushing to improve the processes you use and the products/services you deliver. Focus on the customer and take care of yourself.”
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