I was reminded today of how thankful I am to be associated such fine people who appreciate my efforts and lend me their support. When I was installed as President of the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE), I broke with tradition and hopefully started a new tradition. Instead given small gifts to everyone at my installation, my state engineering society, the Mississippi Engineering Society (MES), agreed to make donations to two charities of my choosing that have special meaning to me. I selected the Steinman Council (for education) with NSPE and the United States Naval institute (USNI).

Today I received a very nice thank you note from the USNI. Vice Admiral Peter Daly thanked me for my support to USNI (22 year member and Life Member) and for the donation. After a brief message exchange on LinkedIn with Vice Admiral Jim Stavridis, I asked that my contribution go towards the USNI's essay contests. Writing has always been important to me and the debates which take place within the publications of the USNI have furthered the mission of the Navy and enhanced the security of the nation.

I feel honored with the contribution and support from MES and pleased that the contribution will continue to make a difference in the world.

Thank you MES and thank you USNI. Both have contributed to my being who I am today.

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Destroyer Captain: Lessons of a First Command by Adm. James Stavridis, USN. Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, MD. 2008. ISBN: 978-1-59114-849-4.

You should never judge a book by its cover...or its title. Destroyer Captain: Lessons of a First Command by Admiral James Stavridis is a relatively quick, easy read about the lessons he learned while in command of the USS Barry when he was a Commander. Although the Barry was a destroyer, the book is about leadership and very little, if any, is specific to those leading a destroyer. Admiral Stavridis details the joys, problems, pains, rewards, and challenges of being a commanding officer at sea in the US Navy.

Command in the Navy is a wonderful thing. Whether it is of a ship, a squadron, a unit, or even a reserve command, provides tremendous rewards but also entails risks. Admiral Stavridis discusses both of these facets of command. He expresses his concerns when some inspections and exercises do not seem to be going well only to then detail the out brief in which his ship broke records for excellence. He brings home the point that his success as a commanding officer, as a leader, was truly in the hands of his subordinates. He could not personally ensure his ship pass every inspection or perform well during each exercise--he had to rely on his crew, their training, and their motivation.

One of the most interesting leadership characteristics I found on the book was the humility and humanity exhibited by then Commander Stavridis. He was faced with some difficult decisions and he could have strictly followed the book in meting out punishment but he didn't. He gave each case the attention it deserved, took into account all of the circumstances, was ready to give second chances, exhibited sympathy, took into account the good of the Navy, and yet still maintained standards.

There are lessons for all leaders in this book and his methods obviously work. Then Commander Stavridis recently retired as a three star Admiral and is now Dean at the Fletcher School. My only regret is that I did not read this book earlier.

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