By Jeffrey C. Doepp, Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Mid-Atlantic Public Affairs
NORFOLK (NNS) -- Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Mid-Atlantic conducted a three-day Junior Officer (JO) Symposium May 14-16, at the Vista Point Conference Center, onboard Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia.
The overall goal of the symposium, is to provide NAVFAC Mid-Atlantic junior officers from throughout the Mid-Atlantic area of responsibility, useful tools that will benefit them both professionally and personally, according to the symposium’s program Welcome statement. NAVFAC Mid-Atlantic Marine Corps Assistant Operations Officer Cmdr. Lakeeva Gunderson expanded on that statement.
“The symposium intent is to allow our JOs the opportunity to get together, share ideas, talk to those experts and senior leaders they normally don't get to see or hear from at their Public Works Departments, and gain a different perspective or insight to the ‘why’ of our business,” said Gunderson, who organized the symposium with help from her Administrative Support Assistant Lacy Hinton. “Hopefully, now they will feel comfortable reaching out to their peers in different AOs (areas of operation) as well as those leaders here in the command to get the support they are desiring.”
Command and guest senior leaders and experts who spoke during the symposium included, Commander Navy Region Mid-Atlantic Rear Adm. Charles Rock; NAVFAC Atlantic Rear Adm. Darius Banaji, Business Director Rick Roth and Executive Assistant to the Commander Lt. Cmdr. Elise Chapdelaine; NAVFAC Mid-Atlantic Commanding Officer Capt. Rich Hayes, Executive Officer Capt. Jeff Lengkeek, Prospective Executive Officer Capt. Bill Siemer, Operations Officer Capt. Tom McLemore and Business Director Tom Barstow.
Topics included NAVFAC Vision, Navy Region Mid-Atlantic, Leadership and Inclusion, NAVFAC Atlantic, OPS Arena, Executive Officer Expectations, Suicide Awareness and Emotional Intelligence.
“The resounding two focus areas out of the National Defense Strategy and our Strategic Design 2.0 are the two “Ds” – Delivery and Develop – delivery of products and services and develop our team, develop the NAVFAC team,” said Hayes while discussing the NAVFAC Vision topic. “That’s why you are all here. This is a professional development opportunity. Those are the thrust of the major takeaways of all the initiatives – is how we are getting better in delivering our products and services and how we are getting better at developing and strengthening the NAVFAC team.”
Hayes also talked about the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Leadership Development Framework 3.0 that discusses the three lanes of developing a leader, focusing on the connections lane because it is in the NAVFAC Strategic Design 2.0 and the CNO Design for Maritime Superiority.
“Increasing our partnership with industry through a professional organization that can give you an avenue to partner with and network with industry, will help to achieve the common goal of supporting the Navy building the infrastructure,” he said.
On the topic of Emotional Intelligence (EI), Chapdelaine discussed what it is and why it is so important for Civil Engineering Corps officers to consciously develop their own EI.
“EI is the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one's emotions, and to successfully navigate interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically,” Chapdelaine said. “The five key elements to it are: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills.”
Chapdelaine shared personal practices she used to develop her own EI and stories about when she had been both successful and unsuccessful in work situations.
“We discussed some of their experiences as well as ways to further cement the applicability in their current professional – and personal – lives,” she said. “I highlighted that this is a soft skill that can help them build a team that is both highly effective, with each person performing their best, and has high morale.”
A Wrap Up session closed out the symposium and according to Gunderson, feedback from the junior officers were great and ranged from how they loved the interaction with the senior leaders and civilians of the organization to wishing there had been more operational discussions.
“All constructive and much needed to ensure the next one is even better,” Gunderson added.
NAVFAC Mid-Atlantic provides facilities engineering, public works and environmental products and services across an area of responsibility that spans from Georgia to Maine and as far west as Indiana. As an integral member of the Commander Navy Region Mid-Atlantic team, NAVFAC Mid-Atlantic provides leadership through the Regional Engineer organization to ensure the region's facilities and infrastructure are managed efficiently and effectively.