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    Heinsma named NAVAIR Mentor of the Year at NAWCWD China Lake

    Dwayne Heinsma named Mentor of the Year for China Lake

    Photo By Paul Kakert | Dwayne Heinsma, Naval Air Systems Command’s Mentor of the Year at Naval Air Warfare...... read more read more



    Story by Stacie Lawrence 

    Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division

    Out of the 75 nominees up for Naval Air Systems Command’s 2018 Mentors of the Year, Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division’s Dwayne Heinsma received that honor at China Lake during a Jan. 31 NAVAIRwide ceremony. Dominic Priestly was recognized as the Mentor of the Year at NAWCWD Point Mugu.

    Heinsma, who currently serves as the director of Acquisition, has been supporting NAWCWD for nearly 30 years. In that time, according to his nomination by Sandy Scharn-Stevens, deputy director for Contracts, Heinsma has mentored more than 50 employees in the areas of professional development, increased organizational awareness and career planning.

    “By passing on lessons learned through his leadership experience, such as the necessity of a healthy work-life balance and focused career goals,” Scharn-Stevens said, “he has encouraged employees to be cognizant of their role as a good steward of the whole of NAVAIR and motivated the request and approval for many initiatives that improved competency effectiveness and work environment.”

    Heinsma mentors a variety of employees including members of the Engineer and Scientist Development Program, senior scientists as well as competency leadership. For him, it’s the enjoyment of helping those who want to learn and, specifically, guiding them on the courses of action to take or options to consider in their career development. His favorite questions for his mentees are, “What are you passionate about? What attributes of a dream job really set your hair on fire?”

    Heinsma said he has found value in having mentors, and has used what he learned from them in his roles at NAWCWD including head of the Software Simulation Division of Weapons and Tactics Analysis Center, externally-directed team lead for the Y2K Solutions Team, Integrated Product Team lead for AV-8B, director for the Unmanned Systems Activity, and associate director for Software and Mission Systems Integration Department. He also credited his mentors with helping him “go where the team needs him” and motivating him to find a better work-life balance.

    “The things I’m passionate about transcend the positions I’m assigned and that energy goes wherever I go,” Heinsma said. “Linda Andrews was my mentor when I took the WEPTAC and Y2K positions and she had a tremendous impact on me about 10 years into my career at WD. She taught me that leaders are positive and optimistic about the future. It gives people hope, and hope during adversity and challenging times helps keep a team moving forward.”

    When it comes to facing adversity, Scharn-Stevens noted that Heinsma regularly mentors new and seasoned supervisors on how to resolve contentious situations and other workplace challenges by improving their communication delivery.

    “He motivates supervisors to initiate and maintain open lines of employee communication, increasing mutual respect and team cohesiveness,” she said. “He continuously provides just-in-time mentoring to senior Contracts Competency leadership, often regarding how to script difficult or high-risk communications with employees.”

    For those looking to build mentor/mentee relationships, Heinsma believes NAVAIR’s iMentor tool is a great place to start.

    “I highly recommend any mentee consider both informal as well as formal mentoring relationships and, more importantly, to have multiple mentors,” he said. “There’s no substitute for the rich learning opportunity that comes from a diverse set of personal and professional lifetime experiences.”



    Date Taken: 01.31.2019
    Date Posted: 02.06.2019 12:46
    Story ID: 309698
    Location: CHINA LAKE, CA, US 

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