PEO C3T leader retires leaving lasting memories
January 24, 2013
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, MD. (January 23, 2013) -- Soon after Hurricane Sandy hit the New Jersey shoreline, wiping out power, destroying landmarks and damaging homes, Bill Sverapa could be found cooking sausage for relief crews -- even though his own home was one of those damaged.
Taking care of others and building morale comes second nature to Sverapa, the Deputy Program Executive Officer for Command, Control and Communications-Tactical (PEO C3T), and characterized his 33-year United States Army career.
That career came to a close on Jan. 23 at a retirement ceremony at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., held in honor of his dedication and service.
"His work ethic sets an example and sets the tone for the rest of our organization," said Maj. Gen. N. Lee S. Price, Program Executive Officer for C3T. "He is a leader who leaves his door open to the workforce and encourages employees to step up with common-sense changes -- so we don't 'make something easy, hard.'"
In retiring, Sverapa said what he'll miss the most is the people he worked with -- each individual had something to contribute and something to teach.
"I've never seen a work ethic like you have here at PEO C3T," said Sverapa. "The level of commitment is inspiring."
As deputy of PEO C3T, Sverapa oversaw a workforce of 1,600 who provided Soldiers with the integrated networks, radios, computers, servers and other hardware and software they require for their missions.
Sverapa began his government career in 1979 as a mechanical engineer at Picatinny Arsenal, N.J. In 1989 he started work with the Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) community as a systems engineer for PEO C3T's then- Project Manager (PM) Mobile Subscriber Equipment.
Much of his experience at PEO C3T centered on developing the Army's tactical network backbone, now known as Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T). The importance of that work was clear in 2003 when operations in Iraq required the Army to increase its range and flexibility of tactical communications. Soon after the war began, an Operational Needs Statement detailed a significant shortfall in beyond line-of-sight and on-the-move communications.
As Deputy Project Manager for WIN-T, Sverapa led PEO C3T in working with industry partners to design a satellite communications capability using 85 percent commercial, off-the-shelf technology.
"The tactical network is the Army's number one modernization priority and the WIN-T program provides that network," said Sverapa. "What could make you more proud than that?"
Today, WIN-T Increment 1, which enables high-speed, high-capacity communications down to battalion level at-the-quick-halt, has been fully fielded. WIN-T Increment 2, which recently began fielding will support operations while on-the-move and push network connectivity to the company level. Development and testing continues on WIN-T Increment 3, which will add an air tier to the WIN-T architecture.
Sverapa also established and staffed the first WIN-T integration facility at Fort Monmouth, N.J., and oversaw the transformation of the new state-of-the-art facility now housed at APG. He led the rapid fielding of the U.S. component of the Afghan Mission Network, which enabled coalition partners to effectively communicate, share information and operate on a common security enclave -- pointed to as a critical capability in winning the war in Afghanistan. He also guided the 2008 waveform study that helped pave the way for fielding software-defined radios to the current and future forces.
As the economy forced the Army to change the way it does business, Sverapa embraced these challenges for PEO C3T and the initiatives that resulted.
Today C3T is a leader in working through the Network Integration Evaluations, which streamlines the way the Army develops, buys and fields the Army's tactical communications network by establishing semi-annual, Soldier-driven evaluations. PEO C3T also established Unit Set Fielding, a synchronized, system of systems approach to fielding complex C4ISR capabilities. And PEO C3T is also involved in development as the Army evolves its Common Operating Environment, a commercially-based set of computing technologies and standards that will result in a more efficient "plug and play" experience for Soldiers.
"His ability to bring stakeholders together was critical," added Price. "While he's not in it for the recognition, Bill's contributions have earned him great respect at the highest levels of the Army and Department of Defense (DoD)."
Most recently, in 2012, Sverapa was awarded the DoD Distinguished Civilian Service Award, the highest honor given by the Secretary of Defense to a DoD career civilian.
During his time with the Army, Sverapa said it was optimism that he always cherished as a force multiplier. At PEO C3T, he was known for his sharp sense of humor, his enthusiasm for office potlucks and his attention to detail in employees' career progression and personal well-being.
"I've gone through my whole life with optimism," he said. "Every person I've met has influenced me in some way. I have always tried to look at the good you can learn from each person."
A father of three grown sons, Sverapa said after retirement the first thing he'll do is wake up and share a cup of coffee with his wife. After that, it's on to try new things.
"I love my job, I love what I do, I love coming to work every day and I still feel like I'm making a difference," said Sverapa. "So people ask me why I'm retiring: It's time to try something different."