NSWC Dahlgren Engineer Honored for Leading Church Building and Decades of Community Service> Naval Sea Systems Command> Recorded News Module

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FREDERICKSBURG, Virginia – Leaders at Fairview Baptist Church knew they needed someone special to lead and manage the construction of a building that eventually became the home of a new congregation.

After church leaders decided to build a new facility on land donated by a local developer, a steering committee met and, surprisingly – but in prayer – selected a civil engineer from the community. marine with no previous experience in construction management.

Victor ‘Russell’ Wiss – a senior sensor systems propagation engineer at the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) – turned out to be the perfect choice as the program director responsible for the construction of a 39 000 square feet.

Wiss accepted the challenge, willingly directing all aspects of the design and construction of the church – working approximately 20 hours a week for over four years – until the church was launched, opening its doors to faithful and visitors in 2008.

Originally called Fairview at River Club, the “ church planting ” sponsored by Fairview Baptist is known today as the River Club Church, and an average of 500 people attend Sunday morning worship services described as contemporary style.

The NSWCDD leadership honored Wiss at its annual Honors Awards ceremony with a Distinguished Community Service Award for his church and lay community service over the past 20 years. He has been recognized for his myriad of ministry and leadership contributions positively impacting his church and community. To name a few, the nomination cited his work with youth group mission projects, his role as a college science fair judge, his efforts to distribute food to families. with children in local elementary schools and service as a technical lead for sound reinforcement at Fredericksburg area wake-up services.

The award nomination also detailed how Wiss successfully led and managed the River Club Church project while working full time at NSWCDD where he led the sensor and environmental analysis efforts of the Water Analysis Group. propagation measures, which include research, development, testing and evaluation.

Additionally, the award nomination underscored that his experience at NSWCDD as an engineer, coupled with skills acquired in the country music industry, were critical to his success in building the River Club Church.

“Mr. Wiss effectively led his church to the successful construction of a multi-purpose building using the engineering skills he developed during his official duties at Dahlgren, and also using the skills he learned. during a previous job (1970-80) at the Grand Ole Opry and Nashville. Network TV studio where he studied practical audio and video engineering, “said the award nomination.” His interest in architecture and the board were influenced by his great uncle who taught architecture at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in the 1960s to 1990s ”.

The NSWCDD engineer attributed his construction accomplishments to the project management team he led at River Club Church. “It wasn’t a one-person job,” said Wiss, who oversaw a $ 5 million budget as well as the project’s legal and information requirements. “It took a team of people, but I had the opportunity to use the skills I had in almost every area required.”

Wiss also thanked his colleagues and the opportunities at NSWCDD where he learned a systems engineering approach to project management in addition to training, skills and experience related to mechanical engineering and manufacturing. which he acquired while working on the technical programs of the Navy.

“I had the opportunity to be exposed to an excellent mechanical engineer, Charles Traylor, as we worked on various projects during my career at Dahlgren,” said Wiss, Bachelor of Engineering Electric from Tennessee Tech. “My exposure to other engineering disciplines and gaining this knowledge while working with a team has been extremely important. My work with mechanical engineers has given me the essential experience and understanding of various types of materials. I saw how the components are made in the machine shop. Exposure to other electrical engineers gave me the knowledge, skills and experience in power distribution and RF engineering. The experience of solving problems by employing or developing component subsystems – using components in concert with each other to solve problems by developing systems – was crucial to the building of the church.

Wiss – pointing out that he puts God first in his life, followed by family, then career, and “all the rest of life” – credits divine providence for his ability to be successful in ministry and efforts of community service, including the construction project.

“God blessed me and prepared me to do this job,” said Wiss, recounting how he learned architecture while growing up and considered pursuing a degree in architecture. “I was fortunate enough to use all the architectural studies I had done – not formal studies but informal studies based on what my uncle had taught me and my own interests.

Wiss believes that the choices and priorities that anyone – including himself – makes in his career and personal life affect his ability to be successful in various endeavors.

“Every day brings its own challenge, but it also brings its own experience and I think it’s very important to consume those experiences and grow from the experiences that you have,” he said. “It is important to put yourself in situations where these experiences can occur and through participation you will grow.”

He reflected on the many opportunities in life and the importance of taking advantage of those opportunities – to participate and get involved, even when it is not necessary.

“I didn’t necessarily have to visit the machine shop or pay attention to what the mechanical engineers were doing since they were given these assignments,” Wiss said. “However, I had an interest in knowing what they were doing and I was trying to learn from it. These varied interests have allowed me to be broad enough to serve in a role like this (construction management) and that’s what I think is very important – to be broad in the life you lead and that will help you. will effectively serve those you enter. contact with. “

The nomination and citation for the Distinguished Community Service award makes it clear that Wiss is following her own advice. For example, the quote indicates that he worked with a local association of churches to make worship opportunities accessible to the public.

“In order to be an effective Christian after making this commitment – service is a great way to serve others and that’s why I do it,” Wiss said.

Additionally, the citation praised his participation in activities that meet the needs of the community, including his efforts to educate and mentor students involved in science, technology, engineering, and math programs. “He values ​​good citizenship and works to mentor others at work and in the community,” he concluded.



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