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Electrical engineer "pays back" community

19 January 2021
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam recently named Ming Truong, an electrical engineer with Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC) Atlantic to a seat on the Guardian and Conservator Advisory Board serving the Commonwealth.
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam recently named Ming Truong, an electrical engineer with Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC) Atlantic to a seat on the Guardian and Conservator Advisory Board serving the Commonwealth.

Truong will serve in this role in his personal capacity, not as a NAVFAC representative. During his four-year term, Truong will work with the Commissioner of the Department for the Aging and Rehabilitative Services, finding ways to help the Commonwealth’s growing senior citizen population. This board advises the Commissioner to align policy and public programs, which promote human dignity, improve self-sufficiency, as well as the quality of life for incapacitated individuals.

The board is currently updating the Public Guardian and Conservator Advisory Board bylaws and conducting a periodic review of regulations. Truong expects his experience with the engineering design process—which has taught him to find a solution to a subject by defining the amended needs, brainstorming solutions, drafting and building the context, reviewing all revisions, and improving it—will help him meet the challenge.

With more than three decades of government service, Truong believes the appointment provides him an additional way to serve his community.
“This is a very fortunate opportunity for me,” says Truong. “I will get to learn new things, but you don’t just take, you have to pay it back.”

“Paying back” is a mantra he takes seriously. With the fall of Saigon in 1975, Truong and his family were forced to flee South Vietnam. Truong, as well as his brother and sister eventually emigrated to the U.S. in 1979, arriving in Greenville, South Carolina. Four years later, his parents were finally able to join them. In those early years, he benefitted from the support of his community, going on to earn a degree in electrical and computer engineering at North Carolina State University.

“Americans are very generous,” he says. “When I came here, I had empty hands.”

No longer empty, Truong’s hands are now full of work - something he relishes. A certified energy manager with NAVFAC Atlantic, Truong has been an active volunteer for 20 years throughout the Hampton Roads, Virginia region, serving both children and senior citizens. According to Truong, both groups need special care in what he calls the era of the global village.

“As the result of the propagation of media technologies throughout the world, our children need to be encouraged in an educational away to understand cultural differences and diversity, need to be inspired and motivated with creative thought, and to be ready for the competitive world,” says Truong. “And our seniors contributed their young life to build what we have and enjoy today. Now it is our responsibility to find new ways to improve their lives, to help them live with choice and dignity in their communities.”

Much of his early work involved celebrating and educating the community about Asian Pacific culture, and working with children. In addition to working annual events with the Newport News World Arts Celebration and the International Children’s Festival in Hampton, Truong served for six years as the principal of the Tidewater Chinese School, a cultural and language studies program in Norfolk. To further aid children in their studies, he is working to establish his own foundation which will provide annual scholarships to high school graduates.

Based on his success as a principal and as a member of the Asian Pacific American Heritage Organization, Truong was asked to host a monthly lunch for the elderly, working with the Senior Services of Southeastern Virginia. Each month he meets with seniors–who make up more than a quarter of the city’s population–making sure they have an opportunity to not only socialize and enjoy a good meal, but also have access to all the resources to continue living independently. It’s the success of this program as the Senior Services Director with the Chinese Community Association of Hampton Roads that led to Truong’s nomination by Governor Northam.

Yet as passionate he is about community service, Truong is fervent in his work for the fleet, serving as the NAVFAC Atlantic representative for the Energy Mission Integration Group (EMIG) and Installation Energy Program Summary (IEPS). In all, he has 31 years of government service, coming to NAVFAC Atlantic in 2001, helping the fleet to make the most of its commitment to energy resiliency, reliability, and efficiency.

To that end, Truong serves on the technical working group (TWG), responsible for reviewing the courses of actions (COA) for each energy security gap, developing a ranking and recommendation for the EMIG Board. To date, this resulted in 25 prioritized energy security gaps and the development of 73 COAs. These COAs will be programmed across the Fiscal Year23-28 FYDP for Energy Resiliency and Conservation Investment Program (ERCIP) and other financed acquisition mechanisms.

Additionally, Truong’s effort on the TWG contributes significantly to the improvement of the EMIG process. He works to address roadblocks, refine processes, and provide guidance to the field to improve EMIG and the larger program.

His engineering leadership experience with NAVFAC—overseeing the integrated collaboration of multiple groups focused on the communal goal of delivering superior products and services to the fleet—will serve him well as he works through an agenda to better serve the need of seniors with other board members, which include the state bar and circuit court of, as well as the Commonwealth’s departments of health and social services.

“We’re delighted to see Ming involved on this board,” says Rear Adm. Dean VanderLey, Commander NAVFAC Atlantic and Fleet Civil Engineer, U.S. Fleet Forces Command. “To know he’s taking that same dedication and eye on stewardship he applies in his day job to better the lives of seniors makes me very proud.”
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