Participants from the NAVAIR Leadership Development Program 2020 cohort shown in the MV-22 Osprey hanger at Fleet Readiness Center Southwest, Naval Air Station North Island

Participants from the NAVAIR Leadership Development Program 2020 cohort briefed on the MV-22 Osprey program at Fleet Readiness Center Southwest, Naval Air Station North Island

NLDP participants witness diverse work at North Island, China Lake

Eleven NAVAIR Leadership Development Program (NLDP) 2020 cohort participants recently enjoyed two site visits to Naval Air Station North Island and Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD) China Lake.

On, Aug. 8, NLDP 2020 cohort participants visited Naval Air Station North Island to receive tours and briefs from Fleet Readiness Center Southwest (FRCSW), Naval Air Technical Data and Engineering and Commander, Fleet Readiness Centers (COMFRC). Roy Harris, COMFRC executive director, welcomed the group before they were briefed on the manufacturing program, and the F/A-18, MV-22 and H-60 programs.

According to Harris, the 2020 NLDP cohort could not gather in-person for the leadership development courses due to the COVID pandemic. “All interactions were in a virtual environment, which diminished a key ingredient of the program – the ability to form lasting bonds and networks with their classmates,” he said. 

Harris continued, “I am extremely pleased we were able to correct this by having the cohort visit multiple command locations this year. Giving them the opportunity to spend time together as a class and learn how the FRCSW team delivers capability to the warfighter is a ‘win-win’ for NAVAIR and the naval aviation enterprise.”

Participant Carly Mowle, NAVAIR deputy commander’s action officer, was thankful for the hospitality of each of the installations for opening their arms to the 2020 cohort.

“We have had an enormous amount of adversity through the pandemic trying to complete course work and network, so being together and seeing the vastness of NAVAIR was an incredible opportunity,” said Mowle. “Seeing up close how our organic depot at North Island fixes the fleet’s planes and how their work is evolving with Get Real Get Better principles was fascinating. Sometimes we forget how close we are to the flight line and how much impact our jobs have on the warfighter. Being that close to the planes in the repair facilities really brought that home again for me.”

The participants visited NAWCWD China Lake on Aug. 11, and were welcomed by Dan Carreno, executive director. The group toured the McLean, Lauritsen and Air Wing Integration Interoperability Laboratories, and witnessed a live flight demonstration.

“I was excited to see the group taking advantage of the site visit and learning more about what NAWCWD does at China Lake,” said Carreno. “I hope their biggest takeaway was the wide variety of exciting work we do out here in the remote desert to support the warfighter and the diverse workforce that makes it all happen.”

Mowle recognized that visiting China Lake was an incredible opportunity.

“Our Cohort is the first NLDP cohort to get to see China Lake in-person,” she said. “Seeing how large our test facilities are, touring the earthquake recovery, learning some of the history of China Lake and seeing the resiliency of our workforce was an opportunity like no other.”

Participant Yehisson (Jason) Tibana, Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) Lakehurst, appreciated both site visits.

“The North Island site visit was exciting,” said Tibana. “As a mechanical engineer, touring the F-18 and H-60 depot was the highlight of the visit. China Lake was one of my favorite NLDP site visits. I felt as if we were visiting Area 51. It was a surreal feeling. The work they do is groundbreaking and essential for naval warfare.”

Tiibana’s biggest takeaway was seeing the diverse type of work accomplished across NAVAIR.

“From aircraft overhauls in North Island to technological breakthroughs in missile warfare in China Lake,” Tibana said. “Everyone’s work is a building block that when put together it creates the most powerful Navy in the world.”

NLDP is a maximum three-year program that provides training and educational opportunities to promote personal and professional growth for mid- to senior-level civilians, Sailors and Marines who have demonstrated leadership ability. The program includes required courses and seminars, shadowing opportunities and developmental assignments, which are six month-long rotations.

“The NLDP program remains one of the best tools for our growing leaders to not only learn of the broad challenges and opportunities across NAVAIR, but also for building relationships with fellow colleagues from all over the command,” said Carreno.

NLDP Program Administrator Julie Guy said the NLDP goals are fully aligned with the commander’s intent to provide employees with as many tools possible to help them lead, mentor, educate, grow and inspire others to perform at the highest levels while also achieving their professional and personal goals.

“We encourage participants to apply what they learn the very next day in their jobs,” said Guy.

Tibana felt the NLDP program allowed him to learn and enhanced his leadership skills.

“It also gave me a taste of the bigger picture that our work matters,” he said. “The networking and knowledge gain during the courses are essential for future leaders. The site visits put our work into perspective.”

Mowle recommends anyone who wants to advance their careers and learn more about NAVAIR to apply to NLDP.

“I was worried it would be too much for me to take on, but it has really flown by and has been a defining opportunity in my career,” she said. “The people I have met and the opportunities the program has created for me are life changing.”

Participants from the NAVAIR Leadership Development Program 2020 cohort shown atop the newly constructed China Lake Air Traffic Control Tower.

Participants from the NAVAIR Leadership Development Program 2020 cohort atop the newly constructed China Lake Air Traffic Control Tower.

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