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2005 Engineer of the Year: Donald D. Dalessandro

Mr. Donald D. Dalessandro was born in Abington, PA.. An Aerospace Engineering graduate of Penn State University, Mr. Dalessandro has dedicated his career to the Research & Development of Survivable Automation & Damage Control Systems. He is a nationally recognized expert in developing survivable automation systems for the Navy. He has conducted groundbreaking research in survivable sensors, advanced device level automated controls, control networks and control algorithms which he has evolved into fire suppression and damage control systems that have transformed our Navy’s damage control philosophy. Mr. Dalessandro has also fielded the first distributed, intelligent, device-level automation control system for the YP-679 Navy Patrol boat. This ONR-sponsored Survivable Network Architectures Demonstration Project was developed toward improving the robustness of component level intelligent control systems on a Navy platform through the notion of network fragment healing (NFH). Mr. Dalessandro’s current projects include developing the technology to design and assess reliable and survivable network architectures for machinery control, and to develop a fully integrated survivable automation system that simultaneously manages casualty to the fluid, communication and electrical systems of a ship. His survivable automation and controls concepts are directly applicable to ALL shipboard systems, renowned in the DD(X) community, and are truly revolutionizing the future of damage control in the Navy.

Mr. Dalessandro’s most recent innovative contribution that advances engineering technology is the design, development, and successful transition to the Navy Fleet of an Autonomic Fire Suppression System (AFSS) based on his Smart Valve technology. AFSS demonstrates advanced fluid system technologies that enable automated identification and isolation of ruptures in a piping system to rapidly provide maximum available capability. The prototype AFSS installed aboard the ex-USS Peterson was successfully demonstrated in a live fire test. Despite the severity of the damage induced, the AFSS sensed and isolated all ruptures autonomically in under 2 minutes, successfully containing and suppressing all fires on the ex-Peterson. The results of the technology developed by Mr. Dalessandro and borne out through this test will indeed revolutionize the way fire fighting is conducted, and will enable the DD(X) program and future ship classes to adopt a lower manned damage control organization without compromising the ability of the ship and crew to contain and suppress fire under severe combat casualty conditions. Successful demonstration of this new AFSS technology represents a significant milestone for the U.S. Navy, as well as a culminating event in Mr. Dalessandro’s career, a career that has been devoted to the challenges associated with automating damage control. Says CDR Jim Syring, DD(X) Technical Director, “This will go down as one of the hallmark events in our Program & the Navy. What the team has done & proven will be talked about for years to come & lay the groundwork for a revolution in how we do damage control in the Navy”. Mr. Donald Dalessandro is truly an asset to the Navy, the Shipbuilding Community, and the Delaware Valley.

Mr. Donald D. Dalessandro was born in Abington, PA in 1960. An Aerospace Engineering graduate of Penn State University, Mr. Dalessandro has dedicated his career to the Research & Development of Survivable Automation & Damage Control Systems. He is a nationally recognized expert in developing survivable automation systems for the Navy. He has conducted groundbreaking research in survivable sensors, advanced device level automated controls, control networks and control algorithms which he has evolved into fire suppression and damage control systems that have transformed our Navy’s damage control philosophy. Mr. Dalessandro has also fielded the first distributed, intelligent, device-level automation control system for the YP-679 Navy Patrol boat. This ONR-sponsored Survivable Network Architectures Demonstration Project was developed toward improving the robustness of component level intelligent control systems on a Navy platform through the notion of network fragment healing (NFH). Mr. Dalessandro’s current projects include developing the technology to design and assess reliable and survivable network architectures for machinery control, and to develop a fully integrated survivable automation system that simultaneously manages casualty to the fluid, communication and electrical systems of a ship. His survivable automation and controls concepts are directly applicable to ALL shipboard systems, renowned in the DD(X) community, and are truly revolutionizing the future of damage control in the Navy.

Mr. Dalessandro’s most recent innovative contribution that advances engineering technology is the design, development, and successful transition to the Navy Fleet of an Autonomic Fire Suppression System (AFSS) based on his Smart Valve technology. AFSS demonstrates advanced fluid system technologies that enable automated identification and isolation of ruptures in a piping system to rapidly provide maximum available capability. The prototype AFSS installed aboard the ex-USS Peterson was successfully demonstrated in a live fire test. Despite the severity of the damage induced, the AFSS sensed and isolated all ruptures autonomically in under two minutes, successfully containing and suppressing all fires on the ex-Peterson. The results of the technology developed by Mr. Dalessandro and borne out through this test will indeed revolutionize the way fire fighting is conducted, and will enable the DD(X) program and future ship classes to adopt a lower manned damage control organization without compromising the ability of the ship and crew to contain and suppress fire under severe combat casualty conditions. Successful demonstration of this new AFSS technology represents a significant milestone for the U.S. Navy, as well as a culminating event in Mr. Dalessandro’s career, a career that has been devoted to the challenges associated with automating damage control. Says CDR Jim Syring, DD(X) Technical Director, “This will go down as one of the hallmark events in our Program & the Navy. What the team has done & proven will be talked about for years to come & lay the groundwork for a revolution in how we do damage control in the Navy”. Mr. Donald Dalessandro is truly an asset to the Navy, the Shipbuilding Community, and the Delaware Valley.