Nelepovitz earns civilian service award

Nelepovitz earns civilian service awardBy STACIE BAILEY, NAWCWD Public Affairs

James Nelepovitz found himself the center of attention as Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division leadership and colleagues gathered to honor him with a Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award during a surprise ceremony on April 18 at China Lake.

The award recognized his contributions to weapons systems engineering across many systems and areas of technical expertise.

After graduating from San Diego State University with a degree in electrical engineering, Nelepovitz began his career at NAWCWD as a junior professional. He went on to support the Radio Frequency Guidance Branch working on algorithms for the AIM-7 Sparrow missile.

During his 33 years at China Lake, he’s been instrumental in programs such as the Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile Block II, Long Range Anti-Ship Missile and the Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile.

“That’s just a smidgen of all the phenomenal work that you’ve done both as a technical leader and a leader of people,” said Joan Johnson, NAWCWD executive director. “On behalf of Rear Adm. Brian Corey, and all of your teammates here, we just want to say thank you and congratulations for an exceptional job well done.”

As noted in his nomination, Nelepovitz has an “ability to lead multidisciplinary teams in the execution of complex engineering tasks” and is “an exceptional communicator” who “has proven to be highly effective in identifying emerging technical talent and then creating opportunities for them to test themselves in challenging environments, further growing their own capabilities and skills.”

Nelepovitz’ work has also earned him a Michelson Award, an L.T.E. Thompson Award, and induction into the Naval Air Systems Command Fellows Program, which represents the top 0.75 percent of NAVAIR’s scientists and engineers.

“It seems like every activity that I’ve ever been involved with where we’re either at another naval facility or at a joint facility, the technical experts from China Lake are the smartest people in the room,” Nelepovitz said.

“It’s just a fantastic opportunity to be able to work in this environment and I love being isolated in the desert; it shakes the weak ones out. We truly do know what we’re doing here at China Lake and I appreciate that.

Pictured: James Nelepovitz, center, is honored with a Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award by Joan Johnson, Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division executive director; and Dan Carreno, head of the Weapons and Energetics Department. -- U.S. Navy photo by Paul Kakert

Story First Published: 2017-05-05