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Gonell Marks Career Milestones at NAVSEA
Lety Gonell was in her last year of college when she received a call from Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA). She was serving as the president of her local Society of Women Engineers (SWE) student chapter. NAVSEA wanted to partner with SWE at a career development event.
“That was the first time I heard about NAVSEA, one of the U.S. Navy’s largest commands, and I learned about the civilian engineering career opportunities available in the Navy,” states Gonell, deputy ship design manager-LHA(R), Flight 0, NAVSEA.
“I knew immediately that I wanted to be part of something as significant as the design, construction, maintenance and support of U.S. Navy ships and systems.”
Gonell started her engineering career at NAVSEA 10 years ago, after earning a bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering from Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico, and a Master of Engineering in systems engineering from University of Virginia.
After her first job serving as the lead engineer for shipboard environmental protection systems, she had the chance to complete several detail assignments inside and outside the organization, including engineering support roles at ship construction and maintenance facilities.
“That was quite a journey of discovery for me,” details Gonell, who’s also working on a master’s of arts degree in national security and strategic studies at the U.S. Naval War College.
“Given my engineering background and the technical experience gained from my assignments, I decided to pursue a career in ship design and systems engineering. I was able to land a naval architect position within NAVSEA where I became responsible for performing ship design integration work for surface ship platforms.”
Gonell relates that her greatest inspiration remains her parents, who encouraged her to never limit herself and to always strive for excellence. As immigrants to the U.S., they also instilled a deep gratitude toward this nation.
“For that reason I always wanted to pursue a purposeful career as a public servant, and I found it in the Navy,” explains Gonell. “My parents are most proud of who I am and what I’ve achieved as a Navy engineer. It makes them very proud to know that with my service, I help protect the men and women that defend our country.”
What does she enjoy the most about her career? “I learn something new every day,” answers Gonell. “I get to ride the ships during at-sea trials, which is a very remarkable experience. I get to work with engineers and scientists from a broad range of technical disciplines on a daily basis to solve highly complex engineering problems.”
But she does have many challenges - the coordination of major technical efforts across an organization as large as NAVSEA is but one.
“However, it makes me realize how complex the design, and the development of safe and efficient ship systems, can be,” states Gonell. “Ultimately, it’s another great opportunity to further develop myself as a professional.”
In her current position Gonell shares some of her experiences and her greatest career achievement to date; for instance, delivering the Navy’s newest large deck amphibious assault ship, USS AMERICA (LHA 6), as the deputy ship design manager for the ship class.
“The completion of the ship construction, followed by successful trials and the delivery of the ship to the Navy marked a significant milestone in my career,” details Gonell. “I’m looking forward to my next big milestone, the delivery of the next ship of the Class, USS TRIPOLI (LHA 7).”
NAVSEA is the largest of the U.S. Navy’s five system commands, headquartered in Washington, DC. It supports national sea power and national security with its primary goal being the sailor’s safety, quality of life and ability to perform his or her mission in today’s Navy and Marine Corps ships, aircraft, weapon systems and computer systems.
NAVSEA continuously employs many engineers, information technology specialists and computer scientists. Navigate www.navsea.navy.mil/Careers/NAVSEA-Careers for more information about careers within NAVSEA. Connect on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Linked In.
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