News: Norco's Navy Base appoints three honorary leaders
NORCO, Calif. – Three prominent Inland Empire community leaders are now official “shipmates” at Naval Surface Warfare Center, Corona Division on Norco’s Navy base.
Capt. Eric Ver Hage and Dr. Bill Luebke, the warfare center’s commanding officer and technical director, respectively, announced the names of the honorary leaders Feb. 18 as part of a new program designed to strengthen the relationship between community leaders and the Inland Empire’s naval base.
Since its designation as a federal laboratory, the center has been forging new partnerships in technology and education throughout Southern California. This program furthers that effort, according to Ver Hage.
Yolanda Carrillo, executive director of the Corona-Norco Family YMCA since 1998, has been named Honorary Commanding Officer, and will be invited to join the warfare center’s commanding officer at various command and community events.
Dr. Paul Parnell, president of Norco College, has been named Honorary Technical Director. He shares his title with Dr. Luebke, the warfare center’s senior executive who works with universities and the scientific community as the warfare center’s top civilian.
Gordon Bourns, CEO at Riverside-based Bourns, Inc., and an accredited electrical engineer, has been named Honorary Chief Technology Officer. Arman Hovakemian, a longtime engineer and department head, is the warfare center’s chief technology officer. He spearheads the command’s strategic initiatives to promote technology-sharing across the Navy and among civilian enterprises .
The center’s honorary leader program is patterned after a similar program in the Air Force in which community leaders are named honorary commanders for wings, squadrons and groups. The Norco program will enable the trio of honorary leaders to participate in command events, while providing valuable community insight to their warfare center counterparts.
Since coming to Corona’s YMCA from Redlands’ YMCA organization, Carrillo has been active in numerous community organizations. Currently, she is a board member on the Riverside-Corona Navy League Council that heads a number of efforts on behalf of active and retired Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard personnel. The Navy League also helps administer the Sea Cadets youth programs, including the Paul Revere Division at the Norco base. Carrillo obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Services, and two Masters of Science degrees, all from Springfield College, Ill.
Founded in 1974, the non-profit YMCA has served Corona, Norco, Eastvale, Jurupa Valley and Mira Loma through programs for adults and young people.
Norco College’s Dr. Parnell was named the school’s second president in July 2012 after coming to the area from Whittier, where he was vice president of Rio Hondo College. He has extensive experience in management and teaching, and earned a doctorate in education, psychology and community college studies from Oregon State University in Corvallis, Ore. He is an Air Force Academy graduate who retired in 1993 from the Air Force as a lieutenant colonel.
Norco College occupies 141 acres of former Navy property, which Riverside Community College District purchased in the mid-1980s for one dollar. Opening in 1991, the campus now serves about 10,000 students who can be a source for new members of the warfare center’s workforce.
Bourns joined the family business in 1973 and was elected board chairman at Bourns, Inc., in December 1988. He was elected president in 1990. The corporation is an international electronics firm manufacturing more than 3,000 different products at 12 domestic and international facilities, employing more than 4,000.
Bourns focuses much of his time on strategic planning for his company and serves on various community boards and committees. He is chairman of the Board of Advisors for the Marian and Rosemary Bourns College of Engineering at the University of California, Riverside, and also is active at California Baptist University and Woodcrest Christian School system. He is an Eagle Scout and remains active in scouting. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from the University of California, Irvine, and a Master of Business Administration from UCLA.
All three community leaders represent institutions that are key enablers of the warfare center’s mission. With nearly 1,500 local military personnel, Navy civilians, and support contractors, the high-tech installation serves as the Navy’s independent assessment center, training range systems engineering and instrumentation lead, as well as the Navy’s technical agent for calibration and measurement science.