Spring 2019 ESDP Point Mugu Graduates

Graduates of the Engineer and Scientist Development Program pose for a photo with Tom Dowd, NAVAIR Ranges director, left, NAWCWD Vice Commander Capt. Matt Sniffin, third left, and Dr. Ronald Smiley, director of the NAVAIR Avionics, Sensors and E*Warfare Department after a ceremony May 28 in Point Mugu, California. (U.S. Navy photo by Rob Grabendike)

NAWCWD leadership program adds 12 graduates at Point Mugu

What do quiet walks on the beach, milk-drinking contests, nationally touring musicians, and an ultra-competitive sports fanatic have in common?

The Engineer and Scientist Development Program’s spring 2019 graduating class at Point Mugu.

Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division celebrated 12 new ESDP graduates in a ceremony May 28 in Point Mugu. The class included graduates from the East, West, Midwest and South with degrees in a wide variety of engineering fields – and a wide variety of interests.

The Point Mugu ceremony brought the total number of graduates to 751; a ceremony later that day in China Lake would bring the number to 798 since the program’s inception in 2003. ESDPs complete three to five years of rotational tours, mentoring and a minimum of 300 hours of training in addition to training toward receiving their Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act level 2 certification in order to complete the program.

“I’d like for you to think about ESDP graduation not as a destination,” said Dr. Ron Smiley, national director of the Naval Air Systems Command’s Avionics, Sensors and E*Warfare Department,” but as a milestone in your journey. Just because you’re graduating doesn’t mean your learning and experience has to be static.”

Smiley also tasked graduates with finding a mentor. Capt. Matt Sniffin, NAWCWD’s vice commander, echoed Smiley’s sentiment. With NAWCWD’s changing demographic – more than half the workforce has 10 years or less under their belts – those who consider themselves junior now, will soon find themselves as one of the more senior members of the team, Sniffin added.

“Get a mentor, but also be a mentor,” he said. “You’ve had five years to observe from the people that have led you and trained you. You’ve learned what your idea is of an excellent leader and an excellent mentor. Take those lessons and apply them to these new folks that are coming in.”

The potential to make a real difference is there for the taking, Smiley added. You just have to keep moving and growing.

“Drive hard, work hard,” he said. “And as my grandfather used to tell me, never walk up the stairs. Run up the stairs.”

Point Mugu’s spring 2019 ESDP graduates are Gina Benigno, Min Chen, Yeu Cheng, Darcy Dewar, Anthony Lin, Joshua McDonald, Joseph Palomba, Steve Rhee, James Robinson, Daniel Roper, Christopher Sanchez, and Jean Paul Santos.



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