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President’s Point of View
Memorial Day Journey
On Memorial Day weekend my wife and I took our three children on a journey. We didn’t go very far but the most important part of this journey was the lessons we hoped our children would take away.
On Sunday, we ventured into Washington D.C., first we saw riders taking part in the Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Rally “Ride for Freedom”. 6,000 motorcycles rumbling around the national mall is an exhilarating thing for children young and old. While my 5 year old twin sons were pointing at cool bikes and telling us which one was their new favorite, my 8 year old daughter was inquiring as to why they riders were riding and furthermore, why they had patriotic symbols such as military flags hanging off the backs of their bikes. I explained to her that these people were honoring those that never returned from war…the Missing in Action. I continued to tell her that many believe that we should have a separate federal holiday just to honor those Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen that were never recovered after going away to war. She shared her agreement with this concept and I have no reason to suspect that she’s just trying to get another 3 day weekend out of the deal.
As the bikes passed my wife handed out snacks and when they were through we crossed over to the National Mall. We were about dead center between the Capitol building and the Washington Monument. We snapped some pics of the kids posing together. An ironic and funny side note…Before we left the house my wife told my boys to grab hats. They recently outgrew their favorite New York Yankees caps and instead grabbed their “Canada” hats we got on our trip last July to Niagara Falls and Toronto. We didn’t realize it until we got out of the car and they put their hats on. So we have all of these pictures with my two boys wearing these hats as we walked around D.C.. I wondered comically what onlookers must have thought. “Oh look honey there are some people from Canada” HA!
As we stood there in the Mall I explained that there was an intentional design that put the Capitol building positioned higher than the White House to represent the fact that we are a citizen government not ruled by one leader but instead by democratic values. Of course they were too busy marveling at the Washington Monument to be bothered with the lesson I was trying to teach them about our free nation. Frankly, I admit, it’s probably a bit over their heads. As we continued on and progressed towards the monument and they were more and more amazed by the sheer size of the obelisk and the closer we came to it the wider their eyes became.
Following the Washington Monument we visited different memorials. The World War I & II Memorials were first. Then on our way to the Lincoln Memorial we stopped at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial which is flanked by both the Vietnam Women’s Memorial and the Three Soldiers both of which are stand alone bronze statues. As we looked at the wall we explained the sacrifice made by the soldiers who died in Vietnam, many of whom were drafted into service. We then continued on to the Lincoln Memorial where the children were awestruck by not only the statue itself but by the whole affair. The columns, the inscription of the Gettysburg Address and most of all the view from the top of the stairs that overlooks the reflecting pool. The lessons we tried to convey throughout the day attempted to help them understand that the servicemen and women who died in defense of our country deserved our solemn respect and that we should be thankful for their courage.
The next day was the actual Memorial Day holiday and our journey continued. Again we didn’t go far, we drove to BWI Airport to volunteer for “Operation Welcome Home”. This effort is aimed at providing a warm welcome to military members returning home from overseas. The kids made signs, we packed welcome home bags with water and treats, and as the returning heroes came through the doors we clapped and welcomed them home in a proper manner. The kids all lined up and stuck out their hands giving high fives to them as they passed and frankly after about an hour of clapping I didn’t even know I was doing it anymore. It’s a very emotional event and you get swept up in it. You could tell that some of them didn’t know what they were in for and were extremely touched by the gesture. There are typically over 200 people there as they come into the terminal and I can only imagine the pride these military members felt by seeing so many people waiting for them to express gratitude for their service. Many will readily correct those that honor our living veterans on Memorial Day. But the lesson we were teaching our children is that while these men and women were returning home safely they deserve our thanks nonetheless. They deserve it always, but especially on a day where many of them could be reminded of brothers and sisters in arms who died right next to them during war.
Many can lose sight of Memorial Day weekend and often think it to be another excuse for a party or BBQ. While they have their right to that and I’m not judging them, we try to make it a meaningful time, especially for our children. As time goes on I hope they can take away these lessons in earnest and continue to show true love and respect for the fallen who have made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our great nation.
A long time ago I read a Memorial Day quote and it’s always been my favorite. It’s from Francis A. Walker, a union officer during the Civil War and later President of MIT from 1881-1897.
“We come, not to mourn our dead soldiers, but to praise them.”
Next month I’ll have more to discuss regarding the Chapter but be sure to visit our website at www.incose-cc.org. We have great lectures, tutorials, and workshop coming up over the next few months. Please be sure to come out and take part.
Our lecture on June 18th should be a real treat. We have Dr. Michael Ryschkewitsch, formerly Chief Engineer, NASA and currently leads the Space Sector at the Johns Hopkins APL. He’ll be discussing the implementation of “soft skills” in pursuit of leading technical teams.
You can register for this lecture here.
I’m always interested to hear from our membership so please feel free to contact me by email firstname.lastname@example.org
18 June, 2014: (6:00 PM – 8:00 PM) Leading Technical Teams
Presentation: When we talk about systems engineering, we mostly talk about the science of systems engineering as captured in books, policies and courses. We rarely talk about the art of systems engineering and even less often about what it takes to lead a team through a complicated systems engineering problem and delivering a product that meets the customers needs and balances those needs with all of the constraints. This talk will focus on the “other” attributes and work that has been done in the NASA Office of the Chief Engineer to establish an objective basis for developing the “soft” skills.
Bio: Dr. Michael Ryschkewitsch, formerly chief engineer at NASA, currently leads the Space Sector at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md. As Chief Engineer Ryschkewitsch, was responsible for the technical readiness of all NASA programs. He previously served as the Deputy Director for NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and Director of Goddard’s Applied Engineering and Technology Directorate. Ryschkewitsch began his career at NASA working on the Cosmic Background Explorer and subsequently led and contributed to many other science missions, including the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP), the Swift Gamma-Ray Burst Mission, the Terra satellite, and the Corrective Optics Space Telescope Axial Replacement (COSTAR) for the first Hubble Space Telescope servicing mission.
Go to www.incose-cc.org/registration/ to register
Presentation: Systems Architecting generally comprises the technical activities associated with problem selection, concept formation (integrated technical and programmatic), and validation. As such it is deeply linked to organizational strategy and decision making. This tutorial will present, through a series of case studies, analytical and heuristic approaches to understanding how to formulate problems in a strategic context, identify large scale technical and programmatic decisions, formulate decision criteria, and synthesize solutions in multiple views. It will clarify approaches to architecting through separating decisions and descriptions and identifying approaches to formulating architecturally relevant decisions even in situations of high complexity and ambiguity. Case studies will be drawn from a wide range of systems.
Bio: Dr. Mark W. Maier is an author and practitioner of systems architecting, the art and science of creating complex systems. He is co-author, with Dr. Eberhardt Rechtin, of The Art of Systems Architecting, Third Edition, CRC Press, the mostly widely used textbook on systems architecting. He has also authored more than 50 papers on systems engineering, architecting, and sensor analysis. Since 1998 he has been employed by The Aerospace Corporation, a non-profit corporation that operates a Federally Funded Research and Development Center with oversight responsibility for the U.S. National Security Space Program, where he holds the position of Distinguished Engineer.
Go to www.incose-cc.org/registration/ to register
Presentation: Aerospace & Defense systems require solutions that have been developed with System Operational Effectiveness (SOE) in mind. In order for them to achieve SOE goals, systems must be well designed, well built, well supported, and affordable for the duration of their respective lifecycles. The Department of Defense has recently re-emphasized that Performance Based Logistics (PBL) is its preferred, and sometimes mandated, lifecycle product support strategy. In its Better Buying Power Initiative (BBPi 2.0), inclusion of PBL in the Defense Acquisition University training for Systems Engineers is being required and is being implemented. This presentation will highlight the importance of PBL to the Systems Engineering process.
Bio: Mr. Michael Gourley is a Principal Project Engineer for Lockheed Martin Corporate Engineering, Technology, and Operations (CETO) in Fairfax, Virginia. He provides Logistics and Sustainment performance support across all Lockheed Martin business units and serves as the Logistics and Sustainment Training Council Chairman. He was initially a part of its Center for Performance Excellence as a Logistics Engineering Principal. He holds an MBA in Industrial Management, is a member of the Council of Logistics Engineering Professionals (CLEP), has received the Demonstrated Master Logistician (DML) designation from the International Society of Logistics (SOLE), is DAWIA certified in Logistics and Program Management, earned the Supply Chain Management Executive Certificate from Michigan State University, and is a member of the DoD Acquisition Corps.
Go to www.incose-cc.org/registration/ to register
5th Annual Maryland SEP Gala, 27 Aug 2014, Wednesday
All Maryland SEPs and a guest are invited to celebrate their accomplishments and to honor new ESEPs at The Engineers Club, Baltimore MD. Last year’s 4th Annual Gala was a great success. Save the date: August 27th
This is the monthly newsletter for INCOSE Chesapeake, a local chapter of INCOSE International. We are a not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing a forum for professionals practicing the art and science of Systems Engineering in the Northern & Central Maryland & Southern Pennsylvania area.
The Chesapeake Chapter is always looking for volunteers to speak at our upcoming meetings! Please contact our 2014 Programs Director, Dr. Alex Pavlak, if you would like the opportunity to speak or can recommend someone.
The Chesapeake Chapter of INCOSE is proud to recognize the following organizations for sponsoring our endeavors to expanding the understanding and appreciation of Systems Engineering in the local area:
This Newsletter is to serve our members and is open to all for contributions. Do you have an interesting idea for an article? A review of a new book related to engineering? Let us know. We’d love to hear about. It may wind up in a future issue of our Newsletter.
Keep up with the latest news and events. Find out about our new Board of Directors. Explore our extensive library of previous lectures from our Monthly Dinner Meetings. Learn of the Benefits of Joining INCOSE. Check out Systems Engineering education in the local area. All this and more awaits you at our INCOSE Chesapeake Chapter Website.
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