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Mr. James Covert

Award: Claud A. Jones Award (Fleet Engineer)
Year: 2022
Recipient: Mr. James Covert
Reason:for his significant contribution to naval engineering as set forth in the following  


Mr. James Covert is an industry-leading Senior Control and Systems Engineer, whose outstanding technical prowess, leadership, program management, problem-solving skills, and dedication to meet USCG and U.S. Navy mission goals have led to a long and highly successful career at the Naval Ship Systems Engineering Station in Philadelphia, PA, now known as the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Philadelphia Division (NSWCPD).

After graduating from the University of Michigan in 1986 with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering, Mr. Covert began his career as a Lead Calibration Engineer and oversaw the Calibration Requirements List (CRL) and system calibration procedures for several ship classes. In 1997, he joined a team tasked with replacing the machinery control system aboard the mine countermeasures Avenger class hulls, and his team's solution became the first PLC-based supervisory control system installed on a machinery plant in the United States Navy. From 2008 to 2016, he served as the Lead System Engineer for the USCG Famous class (WMEC 901) replacement machinery control system, which was successfully completed on time and under budget.

Throughout his career, Mr. Covert has designed and developed numerous machinery control systems for the Navy and Coast Guard, including the Smartcarrier MCS and the Main Propulsion Control and Monitoring System (MPCMS), which was completed for all 13 cutters and the associated class maintenance training center in Yorktown, VA.

Since 2017, Mr. Covert has been the Lead Systems Engineer and Technical Program Manager for the USCGC Polar Star CGMCS upgrade. Originally a class of two heavy ice breakers, the USCGC Polar Star is now the only asset the United States government possesses that can perform the essential ice breaking to create and clear a transit channel to McMurdo Research Station in Antarctica, a yearly mission of the highest priority of the United States Coast Guard. In 2019, Mr. Covert began assembling, managing, and leading his Polar Star CGMCS team of over 15 engineers, computer scientists, cyber security experts, and technicians, tasked with replacing the existing machinery control system aboard the Polar Star. The largest challenge of the project was the narrow timeframe from April 8 to August 12, 2022, to rip out the existing legacy control system, followed by installation and verification of CGMCS. The replacement of such a large control system in a four-month time frame had never been accomplished before.

His leadership, professionalism, and diligence allowed for complete system rip-out, installation, and testing in the allotted four-month time frame. The CGMCS software was initially installed on July 5, 2022. All 1000 shipboard hardwired sensors and the interface to the Micronet gas turbine controllers were thoroughly verified and tested in support gas turbine live operation by August 2, a truly remarkable task. Thanks to Mr. Covert, the USCG has a dependable, thoroughly documented, and completely tested machinery control system that it can confidently rely on for years to come.

The American Society of Naval Engineers is honored to recognize Mr. James Covert as the recipient of the 2022 Claud A. Jones award for fleet engineering