NAWCWD Innovation Awards highlight thinking differently
Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division recognized four individuals and two teams for their innovative spirit and outstanding contributions to the command and warfighting efforts with 2022 NAWCWD Innovation Awards during a ceremony Aug. 10, 2023 in China Lake, California.
Rear Adm. Keith Hash, NAWCWD commander, gave opening remarks, highlighting the need to innovate in order to get real about our nation’s warfighting challenges and get better at meeting them in a world of great power competition and conflict.
“We must self-assess, self-correct, and just think differently about the world around us, and then ingrain that learning into our everyday lives,” he said. It forces us to think differently” about how we deliver on cost, schedule, and performance, and that’s the name of the innovation game.
“We need to innovate in all areas – collaboration and partnerships, business, technology – if we’re going to stay ahead. If we keep doing things the way we’ve always done them, we’re going to deliver amazing capabilities – whenever they come. We don’t have the time to wait.”
Dan Carreño, NAWCWD’s executive director, challenged the teams to “continue to find the excitement, the enthusiasm, and the shining moments in your work each and every day” as they continue to find innovative warfighting solutions.
“We’ve got the best people. I say that all the time,” he added. “This work can get mundane in the day-to-day. All work can. But what you do here every day is important. It’s what’s going to continue to bring rapid capability advancement to the fleet. It’s not always flashy, but it is always important.”
Honorees were recognized in five innovation categories: Leadership, Catalyst, Technology, Business, and Inception.
The Innovation Leadership Award recognizes NAWCWD leaders who inspire innovation within their organization or team by creating an environment that fosters innovation, removes unnecessary barriers, empowers others, embraces appropriate risk and demonstrates a commitment to ongoing innovation. David Turner, release manager for software configuration set H16 for the F/A-18 and EA-18G Integrated Product Team, is the 2022 recipient.
NAWCWD Innovation Catalyst Award winners make a significant impact to an organization by inspiring others to innovate or by directly supporting the innovative work of others. The 2022 recipient is Brian Hays, who demonstrated “outstanding capability to integrate legacy and emerging technologies into useful real-world applications that bring enhanced lethality to the warfighter.”
The Innovation in Technology Award recognizes achievements in the development of new or enhanced materials, hardware, software, or tools that demonstrate an ability to deliver new capabilities that make U.S. naval forces more lethal. The 2022 honors went to one team and one individual.
The Maritime Lethality Analysis Toolset Development Team, comprised of Thomas Hatch-Aguilar, James Purkiss, Mohamed Rayyan, Bharg Shah, and Danny Florido, significantly advanced NAWCWD’s ability to support warfighter readiness, filling a gap in maritime lethality assessment and evaluation capabilities through physics-based modules that describe weapon damage effects and target damage responses.
The individual winner was Christian Robless, who was recognized for pioneering an analysis methodology for characterizing the complex stress state of pressurized filament-wound composite motor cases in support of missile failure investigations.
Winners of the Innovation in Business Award use new approaches to improve performance, support decision making, provide meaningful insight to existing processes or change how NAWCWD is conducting business. This year’s winner was Rose Clark, who managed the command’s change from triannual to annual asset inventories.
The Innovation Inception Award recognizes individual or team contributions that are cross-functional and potentially game changing because of a unique concept design. The Technical Data Package Life Cycle Management Team earned the 2022 award. The citation lauds the team’s unrivaled “originality; superior skills; steadfast dedication to quality, efficiency, and improvement; and commitment” to their customers. Team members are Logan Hunter, Annalyn Edulag, Kevin Evans, Megan Henderson, In Kyu Kim, Brian McGuire, Patrick Olcott, and Kerolos Shenouda.