Nearly 160 New Professionals (NPs) from across Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center (SSC) Atlantic gathered for an all hands meeting in Charleston, South Carolina, April 24-25, to receive immersive, hands-on training.
The NP All Hands themed “We Are Future Leaders,” brought NPs from different geographic locations together for a unique opportunity to network, learn about NP opportunities and explore Joint Base Charleston.
New Professional Coordinator Allie Delaney commenced the all hands by announcing the command’s plan to hire 100 more NPs this summer.
SSC Atlantic Executive Officer Cmdr. Lane Askew addressed NPs, stressing the importance of using available resources, getting involved in person and online, mentoring and encouraging the incoming workforce through Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (STEM) outreach.
“I’m in perpetual motion of being a New Professional,” said Askew. “So I know what it’s like in your shoes. I’ve been a New Professional my whole career.”
After a short video called “Harsh Chirps,” in which New Professional Council Atlantic (NPCA) members read past complaints by NPs in the form of jokes, NPCA members Leah Tuten and Matt Csernica discussed how the command is integral to the Navy’s vision.
Delaney and command trainer Sherri Anderson led NPs in an exercise to test their writing skills and understanding of the NP program and SSC Atlantic’s mission. Attendees split into competing groups to write two mission statements: one for the New Professional program and one for command leadership. The winning New Professional program mission statement was, “To develop leadership qualities and engage with all available resources to innovate and improve warfighter capabilities.”
Cyber Program Manager Staci Pelland led the crowd in an alignment exercise designed to explore strengths and weaknesses. NPs listed their passions, dislikes, strengths and weaknesses, and finally, a “superpower”: a flaw they have turned into a personal strength.
NPs were trained on rotational opportunities by SSC Atlantic employees with varying areas of expertise. NPs must complete a 160-hour-long rotation with a different competency or project, an opportunity that helps shape them into more well-rounded employees.
Fellow NPs Lucas Powell, Zlatka Popova and Philippe Reed shared their stories, described their current roles at SSC Atlantic and gave NPs their advice for making the most out of the program. David Parker and George Campbell then spoke on how to be a better leader by working with unknowns.
NPs concluded the first day with tours of the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle facility, Corporate Production Building and Carrier Command, Control, Communication, Computers and Intelligence (C41) Suites.
The second day kicked off with Executive Deputy Director Bill Deligne addressing NPs on leadership and getting involved.
“At some point,” said Deligne, “when you stay in your career for this long, it starts becoming more about the people coming in behind you.”
Scientist George Campbell gave practical tips on getting involved throughout the command and Scientist Holly Leonard reviewed SSC Atlantic communities of interest—groups of employees that share a common interest. Ashore Systems Engineering Tier 3 Competency Lead Paul Walter wrapped up the “Getting Involved” portion of training with a presentation on how to approach internal and lateral promotion opportunities.
Industrial Engineer David Parker and Financial Analyst Lani Vandepoel looked ahead with a presentation on the future of the NP Program and NPCA goals, which included efforts like community engagement and communication. After reviewing the strategic plan, Parker announced new Council members George Campbell, Lucas Powell, Bryan Haines, Jeremy Lister, Seth Cavera and James Meyers.
Executive Coach and Talent Management Lead Dr. Scott Dreyer led NPs in a presentation and activity on the Gallup Strengths Assessment, a personality assessment designed to help the test-taker discover his or her strengths. NPs took the assessment before the all hands so they could use their results in Dr. Dreyer’s hands-on activities.
“You can have knowledge and skills,” said Dr. Dreyer, “but without the talent, it will take much more effort to be great than if it’s an area of innate talent.” Dreyer used research to prove that cultivating strengths, rather than focusing on weaknesses, is an effective way to excel. “Strength-building is what leads to success,” Dreyer said.
“I enjoyed listening to Dr. Dreyer present insights about our personalized strengths,” said Nathan Smith, operations research analyst at SSC Atlantic’s Hampton Roads location. “I plan on using the techniques I learned to become more productive and efficient.”
Dreyer’s presentation also revealed some insights about what personality traits make up the NP workforce. Most NPs have traits under the executing and strategic thinking categories, which include qualities like analytical, restorative, learner, responsibility and achiever.
Anderson wrapped up the activities with a final elimination round of team-building games involving word puzzles, paper airplanes and hula hoops. Computer Engineer Nathan Douthit closed the event by revealing insights about the NP workforce as a whole, collected from a survey NPs took before the all hands. Douthit discussed results to questions about job satisfaction and career longevity with the command.
“Leadership starts now,” Anderson said, reiterating the theme “We Are Future Leaders.” Through the NP program, SCC Atlantic works towards its goals of taking care of its people, building a technically proficient workforce, and recruiting and retaining the workforce of the future.
SSC Atlantic provides systems engineering and acquisition to deliver information warfare capabilities to the naval, joint and national warfighter through the acquisition, development, integration, production, test, deployment, and sustainment of interoperable command, control, communication, computers, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (C4ISR), cyber and information technology (IT) capabilities.