University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of EngineeringOnline: Autumn 2010
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Nebraska engineers apply Husker Power in leadership roles with U.S. Navy

Many University of Nebraska-Lincoln alumni go on to become leaders in their fields – how many, however, could be considered leaders in their fleet?

Naval Station Newport is known as the U.S. Navy’s Center of Excellence for Officer Training and Education. The man at the helm of this institution, which resembles more of a town than a campus, is Captain Joe Voboril, USN: a 1986 graduate of UNL’s Industrial and Management Systems Engineering program.

Voboril, a native of Dwight, was commissioned through the NROTC program at UNL. He commanded two Navy ships prior to arriving in Newport in September 2009. The Navy made the most of his UNL education by assigning him to such positions as the commissioning Engineer Officer for the USS Gladiator (MCM 11) built in Sturgeon Bay, Wis., and the commissioning Executive Officer for the USS Winston Churchill (DDG 81) constructed in Bath, Maine.

In his current position as commanding officer for Naval Station Newport, Voboril has been involved in the execution of over $100 million worth of construction projects. The installation has been undergoing extensive renovation, construction and demolition projects since 2005 when it became the beneficiary of growth due to the Base Realignment and Closure Recommendations directed by Congress that year

"The Naval Station is seeing its largest renovation and infrastructure improvement since World War II," said Voboril.

Assisting in all of this construction is another UNL alumnus, Ensign John Parizek, CEC, USN. Parizek, a native of Lincoln who graduated in 2009 with a bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering, is currently serving as the assistant public works officer for Naval Facilities Engineering Command Mid-Atlantic Region, Public Works Department Newport. Some of Parizek’s duties include space management, traffic safety issues, managing small construction projects and serving as a member of the anti-terrorism team. Unlike Captain Voboril, Parizek earned his Navy commission through Officer Candidate School and went on to attend the Navy’s Civil Engineer Corps (CEC) Officer School in Port Hueneme, Calif.

Navy photo

While a student at UNL, Parizek participated in the Mid-America Transportation Center (MATC) Summer Internship Program.

"I really had an excellent undergraduate experience at UNL and found that I was encouraged to learn in the classroom, as an involved student on campus, and through my MATC internship at Olsson Associates," said Parizek. "The internship and the experiences I had at UNL have enabled me to adapt and embrace leadership opportunities in the Navy Civil Engineer Corps."

Ensign Parizek described his Navy experience as, "already very rewarding. I look forward to the many challenges and opportunities the Navy will provide as I navigate my career."

Reviewing his Navy career, Voboril said he is thankful for the strong technical foundation he received while studying in his home state.

"Whether using vector logic to understand relative motion and enable my ship to capture 13 tons of cocaine while conducting counternarcotics operations, or using thermodynamics to understand heat transfer while serving as chief engineer, my education as a Nebraska engineer was the basis I fell back on," he said. "Although today’s military needs officers with language and public affairs skills, understanding how things work, particularly on a ship, is VERY important."

- by Naval Station Newport Public Affairs



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