Jonathan Holbert graduated in 2014 and 2015 with an undergraduate and a master’s degree from the NAME Department. Growing up in southwest Michigan, Jonathan greatly enjoyed sailing and fishing on Lake Michigan. This interest, paired with the pursuit of an engineering degree, promptly led him to investigate the NAME department upon arrival in Ann Arbor. He was ready to declare NAME as his major soon after meeting with Undergraduate Advisor, Warren Noone. Coming from a small town, Jonathan was happy to have found the tight-knit and supportive community that is the NAME department. As a student, Jonathan worked to contribute to the community through service as the Quarterdeck Society Commodore and as a Member of the Graduate Student Advisory Council. He also participated in research projects at the Marine Hydrodynamics Laboratory.
The summer following his sophomore year, Jonathan participated in his first internship at Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division. He worked with a team of three engineers developing concept designs of oceanographic research vessels in the Center for Innovation in Ship Design (CISD). It was during this summer that his interest in national defense and naval engineering was sparked. The next year, he applied for and was awarded the Science, Mathematics, and Research for Transportation (SMART) Scholarship. This scholarship provided funding for the remainder of his schooling and ensured a job upon graduation at NSWC, Carderock Division. Jonathan began his career with the Navy in the summer of 2015 and has had the opportunity to be exposed to a large variety of the work that the US Navy has to offer. He has developed dozens of concept designs, performed inclining experiments, developed ship specifications, conducted structural finite element analysis, and led diverse technical teams. He currently is the Design Integration Manager for the FFG(X) Guided Missile Frigate Program.
Jonathan is recently married to a fellow Michigan graduate. They enjoy traveling, exploring the outdoors, and being on the water. In his free time, Jonathan is also an active member of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers (SNAME) and the American Society of Naval Engineers (ASNE). Several NAME department alumni have been great mentors for Jonathan, and he strongly believes in continuing to pay their impact forward through continuing contribution to the international naval architecture community and the NAME Department family.
FIRST JOB OUT OF UNDERGRAD:
As a part of receiving the SMART Scholarship, I had a guaranteed job upon graduation with the Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock Division. I worked in the Center for Innovation in Ship Design (CISD) for my first two years. In the first six months, I developed conceptual ship designs of small combatants. I then had the opportunity to go on a few rotations. My first rotation was at the Navy Yard in Washington D.C., supporting two Ship Design Managers. I then went on a rotation to participate in the development of unmanned small boats at the Combatant Craft Division in Norfolk, VA. Following this rotation, I spent time in the surface ship structures department at Carderock. Each of these opportunities provided me with exposure to a different technical discipline and naval engineering activity.
MOST MEANINGFUL CAREER PROJECT:
My participation on the FFG(X) program has had the greatest impact on my career thus far. This project has provided me the opportunity to dive deep into a variety of technical disciplines and lead a large and diverse team. The goal of this effort is to bring the Guided Missile Frigate to the future fleet, which will help protect the United States and its interests around the world. I am now the Design Integration Manager for this program and am honored to help lead the development of this important asset for the future of the Navy.
HOW DO YOU USE YOUR DEGREE IN EVERYDAY LIFE?
Outside of work, my NAME degree has given me a strong set of analytical problem-solving skills and a continual desire to learn. These traits show themselves in my hobbies of bowhunting and cooking at home. I often spend weekends learning new techniques, trying out new gear or appliances, and researching. Additionally, NAME has provided me with a close group of friends that I travel with several times a year and catch up with often.
WHY ARE YOU PASSIONATE ABOUT YOUR WORK?
I am very grateful that my job is extremely fulfilling in many ways. Each day I go to work, I have the opportunity to solve a variety of challenging technical problems as a part of a high performing team. One day I could be designing a rudder and steering system and the next day I am performing a damaged stability analysis. I enjoy the ability that I have to evaluate and dig into each part of a ship design. I also am extremely passionate about the fact that what I do as an individual contributes to a greater cause. Every day, I have the opportunity to have a positive impact on the future ships that our sailors will go to sea on to help keep this country safe. I have a lot of pride in that and do my best to make the most of each day.
ADVICE FOR STUDENTS:
The most important advice that I have for students is to use the time that you have left at Michigan to learn as much as you can and focus on building strong relationships with your classmates. Being a student in the NAME Department, you have access to a world-class curriculum and facilities. Take advantage of this opportunity and soak up as much information as you can. Just as important, is building strong bonds within the NAME community. It is a wonderful feeling to know that you and your classmates will one day join the NAME alumni network which spans the globe and consists of many of the top leaders in the industry. Building relationships within this community can not only help advance your career but can, more importantly, provide you with life-long friendships.