Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division Leads Way in Bridging Public, Private Sectors

As lunch began during the 2017 MEDA Fall Conference, closing keynote speaker Leslie Taylor, Deputy Assistant Commander for Test and Evaluation, and Executive Director of Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD), spoke on the importance of partnering with industry and academia to assist in the commercialization of NAWCAD inventions for use in the private sector and the importance of educational partnerships for workforce development.

The core functions of the base are innovation, mission systems, air traffic control ship/shore/air operations, surface to air capability, and radar technologies. The base receives 300,000 visitors annually and has more take off and landings than anywhere else. Beyond this, NAWCAD is involved in the creation of a variety of high tech jobs and developed biofuel on the base for the “Green Hornet” Jet.

NAWCAD is also instrumental in contributing to the economy by building businesses in and around the base. One way this is done was by opening an incubator in the community—in partnership with the University of Maryland—which can accommodate up to 10 businesses. There is an Innovation Hub on base that will be linked to the one outside of the base, creating a stronger link between the public and private sectors.

Ultimately, Taylor said that the goal of NAWCAD is to retain employees and attract more to the workforce. In order to achieve this goal, we must give potential employees something interesting right away to get them hooked; train them; spend the time developing their skillsets; give them opportunities to make friends; provide NAVAIR University training for everyone in their fields; develop on-boarding techniques to integrate them into the organization; and focus on treating employees like humans, rather than a number.

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