Telecommunications expert Charles Bolt, P.E., was recently named Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC) Atlantic (LANT) 2021 Engineer of the Year, noting his two decades of service delivering crucial projects to the fleet while seeking to further strengthen the technical expertise of his team.
“One of the things I think is so special about Chuck is that he is so passionate about helping the entire electrical engineering community of practice,” says Solveigh Keene, NAVFAC LANTS' electrical engineering branch manager. “He really takes to heart NAVFAC’s commitment to strengthening our systems command team, sharing what he knows today, but is also constantly reaching out to industry, making sure the Navy is getting the latest and best so we can meet our commitment to the warfighter.”
Bolt is no stranger to professional accolades, having previously received awards for high visibility projects to include the new Master Clock at the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C. as well as the construction of the Take Charge and Move Out (TACAMO) aircraft hangar at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma. According to Bolt, the complicated nature of designing such facilities–important to the Navy’s mission and the warfighters who execute it– involves extraordinary detail and teamwork to see a project to fruition.
“The hangar at Tinker Air Force Base serves our warfighters, by establishing the main operating point for the airborne portion of TACAMO enabling emergency communications for command and control of our nuclear arsenal,” says Bolt. “The Master Time Clock project at the Naval Observatory is so very important to the U.S. military as it determines exactly the position of the Earth, moon, and stars and allows celestial objects like satellites to operate and keep precision time. This allows command and control of many of the warfighter's assets used to accomplish their complex mission.”
To his colleagues, Bolt deftly combines years of experience with a hunger to learn more.
“As a senior electrical engineer, Chuck consistently leverages his depth of design experience to ensure our nation’s warfighters receive quality (and) specialized facilities to perform their mission,” says Rick Stephens, a professional engineer and design director who has worked with Bolt most of his civil service career. “As NAVFAC LANT’s telecommunications expert, Chuck adeptly manages ever-changing project requirements with utmost professionalism, and his expertise is regularly sought from across the NAVFAC enterprise.”
Based in Norfolk, Virginia, much of Bolt's work is targeted on installations overseas. In the last two years alone, he focused his energy in the successful design of highly complex, critical communications facilities in Spain, Italy, and Greece to provide, sustain, and protect telecommunications and network connectivity to Navy air, ashore and afloat assets. These facilities modernize the Navy’s telecommunication infrastructure providing vital support to the warfighter with real-time communication and mission synchronization essential for success in the modern battlefield.
“Given the state of our current connected world, updating the Navy's infrastructure to provide state-of-the-art telecommunications to our warfighters and supporting personnel is of utmost importance,” says Bolt.
A valued mentor, known to be resourceful and flexible, Bolt seeks opportunities to improve the quality of work produced by the command, even in the face of a global pandemic. Throughout the COVID-19 distributed workforce environment, he focused on actively mentoring junior engineers while maintaining his own extremely heavy workload, adapting new virtual work models, and holding internal training classes to ensure junior engineers were progressing their skills in the telework model.
“I have attempted to share my accumulated knowledge and experience with younger members of the branch by sharing lessons learned from previous projects that include how to interact with other design disciplines, best practices for calculations and design criteria basis, and navigating the complex system of codes, criteria, and specifications that we here at NAVFAC base our design,” says Bolt.
Bolt is passionate about NAVFAC’s commitment to workforce development, adding “I have seen throughout my career that young engineers flourish exponentially more when mentored and guided by more experienced colleagues than left to their own to navigate a highly complex profession.”
Those engineers agree.
“Chuck is generous with his time,” says Gabby Bauman, an electrical engineer with the command. “He always takes the opportunity to teach and share his knowledge with others. With his experience he has become an essential part of the electrical design team at NAVFAC and he has been an incredible mentor."
This coming December marks 20 years working projects for the fleet as a NAVFAC employee, three of which were spent overseas in Italy working as the lead Del Din Army Base project, which was a $300 million NAVFAC design and construction project for the U.S. Army. Bolt now moves on to compete at the enterprise level for honors as the NAVFAC Engineer of the Year.