NAVAIR’s 2015 Developmental Training Event — “Meet the Fleet” participants partake in a friendly competition event named “Battleship Breakout” to design and build the best price to performance ratio tinfoil ships.

California, MD  – NAVAIR’s Professional Development Council (PDC) hosted their second annual developmental training event at the Southern Maryland Higher Education Center on June 18, 2015. The event, themed “Meet the Fleet,” gathered a collection of NAVAIR’s leadership and entry level employees to gain insight into the daily happenings of fleet operations for Navy and Marine Corps pilots, maintainers, and personnel.

“Participants were able to connect face-to-face with Sailors, Marines, and NAVAIR leadership to better understand common challenges and areas for process improvement,” said Stephanie Gleason, Engineer Scientist & Development Program (ESDP) manager. “The event further aimed to improve communication and understanding between NAVAIR developmental employees and the fleet.”

Throughout the day, young scientists and engineers had the opportunity to attend topic focused sessions that opened dialogues between naval aircraft pilots, fleet maintainers, NAVAIR leadership and mentors to describe their responsibilities and experiences.

“It’s an all hands effort to get capabilities to the fleet,” Vice Adm. David Dunaway, NAVAIR commander said. “We need to work together to deliver new systems with greater agility and extract latent capabilities from existing systems.”

Dunaway also encouraged participants to learn from senior engineers while challenging existing paradigms to remain adaptable for industrial advances.

Participants were also able to partake in an event called “Battleship Breakout.” The team building activity was a friendly competition designed to challenge teams to design and build tinfoil ships with the best cost to performance ratio.

During the Innovation Challenge session, Tony Cifone, NAVAIR Research and Engineering deputy assistant commander, challenged the ESDPs to find creative solutions to support the warfighter needs. “Personally, I feel there are some tremendous ideas out there that our young folks have,” he said. “Don’t feel constrained, get out there, launch some questions and do your homework to help solve problems.”

The Innovation Challenge is a NAVAIR initiative for developmental employees in the Naval Acquisition Development Program (NADP), Rising Journey Program (RJP), and/or ESDP to be able to participate in a six-month rotation, allowing them to explore ideas that will benefit the Navy. 

“We want to solve problems for the Navy and the command and foster an environment of innovation,” said Gleason. “We are looking for innovation and how it aligns to both the Navy’s and the command’s mission because we want to enable problem solving to advance Navy platforms.