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News | Jan. 5, 2021

FRCSW Selects its 2020 Mentor of the Year

By Jim Markle

"Mentoring happens to be one of my passions here at Fleet Readiness Center Southwest (FRCSW). I've probably been mentoring professionals for about 20 years or so," said Ron Pangilinan.

Pangilinan, the Material Engineering Department Head for the FRCSW Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) Engineering Group, was recently selected the command's 2020 Mentor of the Year.

From teammates assigned to North Island and Lemoore Calif., Jacksonville Fla., and Patuxent River, Md., Pangilinan mentored approximately 20 individuals throughout the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) engineering community last year.  

Although most are materials engineers, his mentees included individuals from administration support and the comptrollers, as well.

"Many were mentored on an as-needed basis; but about 15 individuals that I've mentored this year were on a consistent and scheduled basis of either every two weeks or every month," he said.

Pangilinan joined FRCSW 27 years ago and has held a number of engineering positions within the F/A-18 community including legacy and Super Hornet aerospace structures Fleet Support Team (FST) engineer, and Super Hornet, EA-18G Growler Structures FST Team Leader/Section Head.

Temporary and rotational engineering assignments took him to Naval Air Station (NAS) Lemoore, Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, and NAS Patuxent River.

His career path eventually led him to his present position where he oversees the six branches of the Materials Engineering Department (Metals, Chemical Processes, Analytical Chemistry, Non-Destructive Inspection, Composites and Corrosion) that support the aircraft programs of FRCSW, the FST, PMAs and the fleet.

Pangilinan began mentoring because of the influence from those who mentored him; particularly, his first boss, Bert del Mar.

"He was an amazing leader who possessed a lot of wisdom. He was always eager to share it and offer professional advice, and took every opportunity to further develop people," Pangilinan said. "I will always be grateful for what he did as it helped me to approach many of the leadership challenges faced today. I owe it to him and others, and I need to pass it forward."

As a mentor, Pangilinan targets 40 to 50 issues in the areas of leadership, management, team building and interpersonal skills. Overall, he said he stresses five takeaways:

  • "Always question the why in everything we do. It develops a deeper insight, perspective and wisdom to tackle any issue."
  • "Ownership must fall squarely on the person that has the issue. They have control to help guide and steer the actions toward solution."
  • "As a mentor, my job is to help the individuals think through the problem or issue and arrive to the solution on their own that results in the best outcomes. By sharing some of my experience, it helps the mentees to use that experience and see if that applies to their issues. Gain the mutual trust and respect with everyone you interact. If it doesn't exist, its part of the problem that needs to be resolved first."
  • "Learn from failure. Don't be afraid to fail. It helps to improve oneself professionally and personally."
  • "Never stop learning from others. Listen and observe others in action to learn from them."

"Most mentees don't know this, but I truly believe that I learn more from them during our mentoring sessions than they learn from me, especially the young professionals. They see things from a different perspective and we can learn a lot from them. They always have great ideas and the mentoring I do helps to bring that out."

When choosing a mentor, Pangilinan recommended that mentees choose one whose leadership methods reflect similar principles and values.

"I know that I've made many leadership mistakes throughout my career," he said. "We, of course, learn from them but we need to also share them with others to help empower them to become better than they are. All I know is that when people are empowered, their ability to support their customers tremendously improves. It is our NAVAIR and FRCSW mission and we need to be the best at it."

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FRCSW Navy’s Sole Maintainer of Rotodome Radar

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