In the News

Bravo Zulu! Executive Program Class of ’23 Goes Behind the Scenes at NAS Pax River

LEONARDTOWN, Md. – Nov. 10, 2022 – The Leadership Southern Maryland (LSM) Executive Program Class of 2023 strengthened their leadership wings Nov. 3 when they went behind the scenes at Naval Air Station Patuxent River (NAS Pax River). The class was allowed on base for a rare in-person tour to learn about the vital roles that Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) and the Naval Surface Warfare Center Indian Head Division (NSWC IHD) play in
our nation’s military defense and Southern Maryland’s economy and culture.

NAS Pax River Commanding Officer Capt. Derrick Kingsley LSM ’21 welcomed the executives with a morning brief about the base, along with Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD) Executive Director Stephen Cricchi and NSWC IHD Technology Transfer Program Manager Dr. Cristopher Wilhelm LSM ’22.

A guided windshield tour showcased the people, processes and partnerships that make up Pax River’s research, development, test and evaluation cycle. LSM participants climbed the air traffic control tower, visited the Aircraft Prototype Systems Division and Atlantic Test Range, and took
to the sky on manned flight simulators. U.S. Naval Test Pilot School (TPS) Commanding Officer Cmdr. Jeremy “Silas” DeBons shared a bit of life inside the elite “schoolhouse” and took the class on a tour of the TPS flight line.

“I’ve supported NAVAIR for over 20 years and this was my first opportunity to tour the air traffic control tower and Test Pilot School,” said Yu-Hsuan Chen, vice president and co-founder of Integrated Program Solutions, Inc. “The aerial view of the naval base certainly provided a unique and insightful perspective on both the overall base and how it fits within the Southern Maryland region.”

The executives also got chances to “take the controls,” of explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) robotics from NSWC IHD and of NAS Pax River’s manned flight simulators. 

“I learned that so much more happens at Pax River than what I thought,” said SMECO Energy and Technology Programs Manager Jennifer Raley, a lifelong resident of St. Mary’s County. “I almost wish I had chosen that career path, as I felt like I missed out on some exciting stuff happening right here in St. Mary’s County that I want to be part of!”

Participants discovered that they can be part of the Southern Maryland defense community by getting involved in programs of The Patuxent Partnership, the Southern Maryland Navy Alliance, and the U.S. Navy League, critical advocacy groups that champion Southern Maryland’s military bases, enlisted and civilian personnel, and their families.

“Connecting the dots among Southern Maryland’s industries, support organizations, ourselves, and the wider world is a key element of the LSM experience,” said LSM Executive Director Dr. Sybol Anderson. “Seeing the importance of Pax River and Indian Head to our national defense,
and the interdependence of the Southern Maryland and naval base communities, helps us appreciate the significance of Southern Maryland to the world.”



Leadership Southern Maryland’s flagship Executive Program is an interactive and life-enriching nine-month, tuition-based “behind-the-scenes” experience designed to enhance the collaborative abilities of our region’s top senior professionals. LSM welcomes mid- to senior-level executives representing diverse geographic locations, industries, professions, ethnicities, genders, and other backgrounds who are committed to addressing the community needs of Calvert, Charles, and St. Mary’s counties.


Leadership Southern Maryland is a 501(c)(3) organization by the Internal Revenue Service
(EIN#26-2989381). Contributions are deductible as charitable contributions to the extent
permitted by law.
For more information, please contact Dr. Sybol Anderson, Executive Director, Leadership
Southern Maryland, at 301-862-SOMD, via email at, or

LSM participant Denise Kopel tries to score a ride in a Blackhawk helicopter with CMDR Jeremy DeBons, Commanding Officer of the United States Naval Test Pilot School, NAS Patuxent River.