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  • Layne Lewis

Quiet Engineering Professionals

As I attend SOFIC in Tampa this year, I am reminded what a privilege it is to work in the Special Operations community. I have supported SOCOM, specifically the U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command as the Science and Technology Advisor for the past nine years, and in those years, I have learned a tremendous amount. I feel so honored to have worked with a number of incredible operators on a myriad of different projects over the years. I am also married to a retired Navy SEAL, which provides additional insight for me.....

Like any professional, I have struggled with work/life balance, and often wonder if I am making a difference. Whether my diligence and perseverance matter. Whether, in the end, I have made the right choices. For me, it comes back to the teams that I support - the Quiet Professionals.

I have never served in the military in any capacity. I have never been deployed. I have however, supported numerous operators to ensure that they are safe and lethal when required and have worked with many vendors, and my own team of engineers, to ensure that the technologies that are being developed meet the operator's needs and meet the appropriate standards of engineering rigor. I use the word "appropriate" here deliberately, insinuating that there are times that more or less rigor may be applied. More on that later.

While working with operators, not unlike any other customer, it is critical that a balance is struck between features, and realism. Imagineering and engineering. In many cases I have told the teams that I am the intersection of the two…..where the real work starts once the Imagineering is done. Engineering. The boring “math with letters” part. The part that takes more time then anyone wants to admit is required. The part where realism and the laws of physics matter. The NOT Hollywood part.

It is through many many cycles of product development, that I have realized that the most successful products are developed when our teams are run as efficiently as possible, doing the most with the least, doing “just enough” rigor. When we work as Quiet Engineering Professionals in support of our SOF Quiet Professionals. It is in this spirit that I am launching this blog – the Quiet Engineering Professional – to provide an outline of what we have learned, and how we have modified some of the tried and true processes to keep up with the “innovate or die” mentality…..especially as it moves to our SOF world.

Follow along with me and let me know what you think. You can find me at:

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