Robert Walker, Deputy Technical Director for Technical Excellence at the Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division (NSWC PCD), begins writing the next chapter of his life. After 35 years of dedicated service to the federal government, he bids farewell to his friends and team at NSWC PCD.
When asked what he liked most about the NSWC PCD, he answered hands down, folks.
“I have been blessed beyond measure to work with great people throughout my career in command. From my first day on the job to my last, it’s people who make the difference,” Walker said. “Of course, I enjoyed the challenge of the job and the satisfaction of serving our country and the military who protect the freedom we all enjoy; but people are the “secret sauce” that makes it all possible. »
Walker, a native of Ozark, Alabama, received his Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering from Auburn University. He began his professional career in 1987 at the Naval Coastal System Center in Panama City, Florida as a computer engineer and software developer. Early assignments included real-time software design and development, modeling and simulation, and hardware integration.
Walker’s career has provided him with many high points over the years, starting with Countermeasures Evaluator (CME) and then in the Expeditionary Warfare mission domain where he was Senior Software Developer, Systems Engineer principal, branch manager, project manager and ultimately the program manager. responsible for all aspects of the Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) program at NSWC PCD.
Walker said the most memorable part of his career was working directly with fleet personnel. Walker was part of the LCAC program for 11 years.
“Throughout these years, I have regularly interacted, on a personal level, with many Fleet personnel across the country and around the world. Whether it is elucidating their needs for a new system, working hand-in-hand on user interface design, doing ongoing training for navigators, or teaching maintenance personnel how to fix their systems; it was all very rewarding,” Walker said. “This direct interaction with our fighters puts what we do as engineers at the center of our concerns. What we do is not just a job; it really is a calling, a calling that will always be the part most memorable of my career.
Additionally, during his mission and combat service duties, Walker completed eight years of service in leadership positions within the mine warfare mission area, completing assignments as chief of division and deputy head of department. He then served as Chief Engineer of NSWC PCD (CHENG) where he led the command’s quest for engineering excellence.
“I really enjoyed every role I had, but I have to say that the years I served in command of CHENG were my favorite role,” Walker said. “While I really enjoyed a wide range of roles in my career, CHENG’s role required me to focus my efforts on things that affected all technical efforts performed across the command.”
Walker said his primary focus in CHENG’s role was to ensure the NSWC PCD implemented sufficient technical rigor through repeatable processes to enable the delivery of consistent quality products and services to support the warfighter.
“The intention here was never perfection, but rather regular evaluation of our performance followed by deliberate action to improve incrementally each time,” Walker said. “Technical excellence is fundamental to the future of NSWC PCD and it is what each of us should strive for in everything we do.”
His advice to others hoping to achieve similar success: Be true to yourself and don’t let someone else decide your future or be limited by others.
Among a long list of pearls of wisdom he’s gleaned throughout his career, Walker advocates growth, perseverance, discipline, and a healthy work-life balance.
“I encourage everyone to establish a North Star and continually adjust course because you will be bowled over. Invest in good mentors and be a good mentor to another – iron sharpens iron,” Walker said. I learned the importance of maintaining discipline in life throughout my career. Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is crucial. Don’t put success at work ahead of success at home.
In February 2020, Walker was temporarily named Acting Technical Director of NSWC PCD. Prior to this, in June 2017, he was selected for the position of Senior Scientific Technical Director (SSTM) as NSWC PCD Deputy Technical Director for Technical Excellence, a position he held until his retirement.
Walker expressed his gratitude to the NSWC PCD team and his appreciation for serving.
“Thank you for what each of you do. Your service to our country is a high calling that few live up to. I appreciate the opportunity to work alongside such a wonderful group of dedicated people over the past 35 years” “It has truly been an honor. You have great leadership and your future is bright. Embrace it and keep charging! – May each of you have fair winds and following seas.”