Carderock Mentor Offers Life Lessons at First Cafe Brown Bag

Story Number: NNS150414-17Release Date: 4/14/2015 1:52:00 PM
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By Suzanna Brugler, Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock Public Affairs

WEST BETHESDA, Md. (NNS) -- Dan Dozier, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division's (NSWCCD) first-ever Volunteer Emeritus Corps (VEC) mentor gave the first-ever Cafe Brown Bag discussion in the Maritime Technology Information Center (MTIC) cafeteria April 8.

The theme was "A Conversation: Taking Value from Your Worst Day." Dozier recounted 10 life lessons he had learned throughout his 32-year career.

"Your value system, your personal experiences, are more defined by your worst days, your hardest days or the biggest challenges that you have - more so than the 99.9 per cent of the days that go easy or according to plan," Dozier said. "You really are shaped by your challenges."

The VEC is a new program available to employees retiring or separating from NSWCCD that allows them to retain a presence, giving them the means to continue to provide their expertise on programs or projects of great importance to the Navy. There are currently three former employees participating.

A corner section of the MTIC cafeteria was roped-off especially for this first Cafe Brown Bag. Before he started the discussion, Dozier passed-out a list of his 10 "Dozierisms" to the full house of attendees.

Dozier began by telling a story of how, during his final year of employment at Carderock, he had regularly mentored a group of four employees. They would all meet in Dozier's office once every week toward the end of the work day to discuss work, technical problems and also how to successfully navigate group and team dynamics.

When it came time for his retirement he lamented to the group that, unlike many of his colleagues who had retired before him, he did not have his own list of parting "words of wisdom," so to speak, to give them before he left.

His group of mentees disagreed with him and subsequently penned the list of 10 "Dozierisms" that they presented him at his retirement. Dozier elaborated on the list throughout the brown bag.

"The list of 10 'Dozierisms' is a very special list because it means my mentees were actually listening to me," Dozier said.

Advice such as "learn your trade" and "live simply within your means" are in the top half of the list.

Upon recounting the story of how the list of 10 "Dozierisms" came into existence, Dozier immediately set the stage for a back-and-forth, question-and-answer type of dialogue that sustained throughout the 45-minute talk.

Three of Dozier's mentees - Charlotte George, Emilia Kawashima and Jennifer Kelso - were in the audience. Mayer Nelson, the fourth of the group, was away for the week and could not attend.

When asked about having Dozier as a mentor, Kawashima, a new Carderock employee of just over one year, responded, "He made my time more enjoyable. I feel much better about what I'm doing and where I am. Without Dan, I wouldn't be here."

"I appreciate your participation as the first speaker of the technical director's inaugural Cafe Brown Bag," said Dr. Tim Arcano, NSWCCD's technical director. In the 1980s, Dozier had been employed at Carderock for seven years before Arcano first reported aboard for a previous stint here, and Dozier had left a lasting impression on Arcano.

"Dan, I've got to say, you have a special place in my heart, and I miss you not being here since your retirement - you really showed me the ropes when I first got here," Arcano said at the close of the presentation.

The full list of "Dozierisms":

Learn your trade
Feed the monster
Neutral to positive
Live simply within your means
Learn from your mistakes
You don't have to poke him in the eye, but win the fight
Make them listen
Pull the card
Cheap, fast or good: choose any two
Seek to understand

NSWC Carderock, a field activity of the Naval Sea Systems Command, leads the Navy in hull, mechanical and electrical engineering. Headquartered in West Bethesda, Md., NSWC Carderock employs approximately 3,600 scientists, engineers, technicians and support personnel and includes the Ship Systems Engineering Station located in Philadelphia as well as detachments in Norfolk, Va., Cape Canaveral, Fla., Andros Island, Bahamas, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Memphis, Tenn., Bangor, Wash., Ketchikan, Alaska and Bayview, Idaho.

For more news from Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock, visit

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