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NSWC Dahlgren Division engineer awarded for impact on remote and unmanned naval warfare technology

A Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) software engineer won the Dr. James E. Colvard Award.   Annette Helm was recognized for successfully leading a highly skilled group of engineers to integrate key software components and technology and for solidifying the U.S. Navy’s goals to pursue remote and unmanned Naval Warfare technology.

“Unmanned and remote technologies allow force projection into areas that we would normally not go without putting sailors’ lives at risk,” said Helm. “When sponsors or program managers describe a technical goal, I employ my knowledge to identify a potential solution to their need.” Colvard Awardees must be accomplished in science, engineering, program management, or line management with technical excellence, strong leadership, and integrity.

Award winners must have furthered NSWC Dahlgren Division’s reputation as a technical institute through quantifiable means. The Colvard Award is named for Dr. James “Jim” Colvard, NSWCDD Technical Director from 1973-1980. Colvard passed away in March 2020. “I am very humbled to be the recipient of this award,” said Helm. “Many years ago, I had a leader I will never forget who told me, ‘Annette, I will never have your back, as that would mean I could be a coward and hide behind you. I will always walk beside you and if something were to go astray, I will stand in front of you.’ I have tried diligently to lead my team in the same manner. I firmly believe I am nothing without my team.”

In addition to leading the software portion of the Marlin project, Helm is also chief software engineer for her NSWCDD branch. “I am very thankful for my line and technical mangers, who afford me the opportunity to perform the technical work I love,” said Helm. “I am eternally grateful to my teammates, who walk beside me every day making our efforts a success.” Helm is one of 90 individuals and 39 teams honored with various awards and featured in a special NSWCDD Honor Awards video program to be released this month.

The NSWCDD Honorary Awards video program to be published on the command’s YouTube page will feature congratulatory remarks to awardees and their families by NSWCDD Commanding Officer Capt. Casey Plew, NSWCDD Technical Director John Fiore, and U.S. Rep. Rob Wittman.

Check the NSWCDD website for updates:

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