DVIDS – News – Shipyard Spotlight: Mike Westerveld


When the hockey puck goes into the corner of the ice rink, it is the winger’s responsibility to carry the puck out and get a shot on the net. If he doesn’t have a shot, then he should pass it to the other winger or center for them to take their shot. For Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) Code 109.11 Server Administration, IT Specialist Mike Westerveld, his time on the ice both as a player and a coach, has taught him what teamwork is all about.

“A team player isn’t one who always scores the goal. A team player also sets up another player for them to score the goal,” said Westerveld. “That’s how it is here at shipyard. It is my responsibility to pass the puck, in form of an IT solution, to those on the waterfront to score the winning goal, in form of the ship or boat being returned to the Fleet on time and under budget.”

Westerveld grew up in Wyckoff, New Jersey. After high school, he attended Western New England University, Springfield, Mass. with a major of criminal justice. Realizing early on that college wasn’t for him, he decided to drop out to both time and money.

“When I dropped out of college, my father told me that it was now time to get a big boy’s job,” said Westerveld. “A longtime family friend had made a career out of the Navy and suggested that I should join the Navy. So I did.”

After spending more than a year in Pensacola, Fla. attending schools to become a cryptologic technician maintenance person, who are known to be great problem solvers, he was stationed at Navy Information Operations Command (NIOC), Norfolk. During his time there, he augmented the crew onboard the USS Ramage (DDG 61) for a ten month Mediterranean deployment. He also spent a few months at NIOC Bahrain helping install a new system.

“After my four years of service, I decided to get out and move into the civilian sector,” said Westerveld. “After a few years, friends of mine who work here at the shipyard encouraged me to go to a job fair that the shipyard was having. That was four years ago.”

Westerveld is the Code 109 representative for NNSY’s innovation lab. He helps to come up with and implement solutions through the shipyard pertaining to the IT side of the house. As a member of the Naval Sustainment System – Shipyards team, he is the lead IT in the Digital Manufacturing Environment (DME) project.

“Up until recently, designers from Shop 31, Inside Shop, had to physically take their completed drawings of parts and whatnot to the machinist who in turn would made any changes necessary. Then the machinist would have to physically take it back to the engineer to ensure the changes passed quality control checks,” said Westerveld. “With the DME installed, the engineer and machinist can send the drawings back and forth to each other electronically, saving time. Eventually, when the DME pilot is successful it is my hope that it will not only give NNSY the ability to expand its capabilities and uses across multiple shops here but also integrate it with the three other public shipyards to allow enterprise wide data sharing.”

Westerveld achieves great satisfaction with his job, especially when he accomplishes something. He likes to start and see a project through its end because in the end it will make someone’s job easier.

“My way of serving our country is to do what I can to help the Sailors get back to the Fleet and do what they volunteered to do. No one wants to spend time in the yards. They want to be out to sea, serving our country and keeping us safe,” said Westerveld. “In hockey I am one member of the team and I can’t win the game alone. It takes each and every player on the team to be successful. In hockey that translates to winning a championship, here at the shipyard our championship is getting ships out on time and under budget every time. To me there is nothing more fun and rewarding then working hard with your teammates to win that championship. That’s what makes us America’s Shipyard.”

Date Tasks: 08.15.2022
Date Posted: 08.15.2022 12:19
Story ID: 427265
Location: PORTSMOUTH, VA, US

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