Heidi Buck is a branch head and a project manager (PM) for the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific in San Diego. There, she leads the development of technology that extracts intelligence data from satellite and UAV imagery. “My group has worked extremely hard on this technology,” she says, and “because our software is in use operationally, I know it’s making a difference to the war fighter.” Her team has submitted eight patents and published several papers.
The United States collects enormous amounts of satellite and UAV imagery daily – Heidi’s product detects and recognizes ships in this satellite imagery, allowing analysts more time to focus on anomalies and the implications of those anomalies. Streamlining this process saves time and optimizes the analysis work of the DON.
Heidi knows that her work contributes to the success of the DON because the Fleet often communicates the many benefits of the product. She enjoys working closely with her customers, interpreting their mission’s requirements and determining how her team can support those needs. “I get tremendous gratification from hearing what the customer’s needs are and translating them into software development tasks,” she says. “Every day is a new challenge.”
In addition to her software development work, Ms. Buck has also mentored younger employees, students and interns. She sets an example for those she meets: “It’s gratifying to interact with children and young adults to show them the importance of science. I especially like working with young girls who are just starting to get interested in science. It’s fun to show them that it’s cool to be a girl who excels in math and science and also works for the Navy!”
Her work has taken her across the world, from Chile to Singapore to Germany. Heidi advises DON employees to take advantage of everything that their position offers them. “Travel to interesting places, work on a variety of projects, and seek out opportunities for diverse training.”