• STEM Hero Awards •
After 30 years working his way up through the ranks in the U.S. Navy, Basilio “Del” Bena retired from active duty and has put all of his experience and education to work into leading the largest branch in the Air Dominance Department. Air Dominance provides in-house engineering capabilities for Naval Sea System Command’s Naval Surface Warfare Center in Port Hueneme, California. His responsibilities include everything from design and development, to prototyping and testing.
Mr. Bena leads an integrated team of over forty Combat System Project Engineers, Waterfront Planners, and Alteration Installation Team Managers in Navy Leadership and New Construction Availabilities to support Program Executive Office Integrated Warfare Systems 1.0. Additionally, Mr. Bena manages an annual budget of $19 million, and has trained the Project Engineers to manage $35 million in projects.
During the course of his career in the Navy, Mr. Bena ultimately achieved the rank of Commander and was the recipient of numerous medals including a Defense Meritorious Service Medal, two Navy Meritorious Service Medals, four Navy Commendation Medals, and four Navy Achievement Medals. He also was named a member of the Golden Key Honor Society.
Born in Kelso, Washington, Mr. Bena enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1981 where he completed Basic Electronics and Electricity Schools and was accepted into the Navy’s BOOST Program. He then attended Memphis State University on a NROTC Scholarship where he earned his B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering.
A veteran of both Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm in the Persian Gulf, Mr. Bena went on to earn four separate master’s degrees, including an M.S. in Management from Troy State University, an M.A. in Homeland Security from American Military University, an M.A. in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College, and an M.S. in Unmanned Aircraft Systems Engineering from the Unmanned Vehicle University (UVU) in Arizona.
Currently, Mr. Bena is completing his dissertation for his Ph.D. in Unmanned Aircraft Systems Engineering from UVU. He has been awarded a patent for his work on developing an Autonomous Mesh Enabled Mobile Drone Hive.