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To the outside world the face of any organization is its chief executives.
At the Naval Surface Warfare Center, those executives are the commander and the technical director. When senior officials visit NSWC or official meetings are held there, those executives have high public visibility.
Behind those highly visible people are sets of invisible hands that make them effective in their roles. The invisible hands are the secretaries and executive assistants who make sure that official visitors are treated with courtesy and efficiency and that meetings go on time, data is available when needed and is accurate. They make the system work.
One of those people who made the system work for several technical directors, including me, and even more commanders, just recently died.
Leola Dennison was a consummate professional who unobtrusively behind the scenes made things work. She was one of the most effective and long-serving set of invisible hands who ever worked at Dahlgren.
It was not just what she did, but who she was. In addition to being a consummate professional, she was a kind and decent person whom everyone respected and loved.
I was honored to be one of the technical directors who benefited from her professional support and enjoyed being her friend. Her contributions to NSWC, the Navy and our country--while not highly publicly visible--were considerable and extremely positive.