STEM Professional of the week

Carmela A. Keeney      

Ms. Carmela Keeney has spent three decades shaping technological superiority for the Department of Defense. As the Executive Director and the senior civilian leader of the Navy’s preeminent warfare center, she leads an organization chartered to achieve information dominance for naval, joint, national and coalition war-fighters. Carmela’s teams maintain the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) Pacific Division as the lead agent in our nation’s efforts to dominate cyberspace, robotics, command and control, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. These efforts result in advanced, accurate and reliable information control that spans the globe - from the White House situation room to the boots on the ground in any theater of operation.

Ms. Keeney is the daughter of immigrant parents, who later became naturalized U.S. citizens. Though neither her Italian father nor her Mexican mother completed high school, they instilled in her the value of education, a belief in the importance of volunteer activities, and a strong work ethic. Her father, a commercial fisherman, also inspired a love of the ocean and marine life. So while attending college at the University of California, Santa Barbara, she decided to combine her passions and studied Mechanical Engineering with an emphasis in Oceanic Engineering.

Her civilian career with the Navy began shortly after graduation when she became a principal investigator in marine technology and undersea systems at the Naval Civil Engineering Laboratory’s Ocean Systems Division. While working at the lab, Ms. Keeney returned to UC Santa Barbara and completed her Master’s Degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering.

Throughout her tenure with the Navy, Ms. Keeney has led a variety of technical projects in maritime surveillance, bionic sonar, and shallow water surveillance systems. She has worked extensively in the areas of Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) having a role as the head of the ISR department within SPAWAR Systems Center (SSC) San Diego prior to her current position.

The only female director across all U.S. Department of Defense labs, Ms. Kenny manages a $2.5 billion annual budget and leads a team of over 4300 military and civilian personnel with more than 6000 industry partners across several geographic areas, including California, Virginia, Hawaii, Guam and Japan. She has also been designated SPAWAR Deputy Chief Engineer Pacific under the Assistant Secretary of the Navy’s Competency Aligned Organization (CAO).

Although her technical vision has driven the development of new technologies, she further demonstrates her passion by personally initiating numerous successful outreach activities with universities, community colleges and K-12 schools in Southern California with an emphasis on students from underrepresented communities. She engages in hands-on mentoring of her workforce and encourages diversity champions among SSC Pacific’s leadership chartered with aggressively engaging in community education efforts.

Carmela Kenney is an asset to our great nation. Her technical and personal leadership has solidified her role as an architect of our country’s Information Dominance technology and an advocate for the education of our future technical leaders.

Ms. Kenney received a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering and a Master of Science degree in electrical and computer engineering from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is the recipient of the 2012 HENAAC Executive Excellence – Military award.

© TECHNiCA Magazine

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