• STEM Hero Awards •

Jose E.

Electrical Engineer

Naval Surface Warfare Center

Panama City Division

U.S. Navy

In his 34-year career working as an Electrical Engineer for the U.S. Navy’s Naval Surface Warfare Center, Panama City Division, Mr. Jose E. Fernandez has become recognized as the Navy’s leading expert in the design of Synthetic Aperture Sonars (SAS).  SAS technology is critical to the detection, classification, and identification of underwater mines and unexploded ordinance. As the Senior Sonar Engineer and Synthetic Aperture Sonar Group Leader, he is responsible for developing, evaluating, and demonstrating new sonar technologies for the Navy.

Mr. Fernandez has been crucial to the development of three generations of the Small Synthetic Aperture Minehunter (SSAM) that implement his novel processing techniques and utilize his innovative multi-frequency band design specialized for very shallow water environments and providing unprecedented views of the seafloor. His efforts have established a new benchmark in sonar system technology for the U.S. Navy and have saved countless lives by enabling unmanned systems to conduct time consuming and potentially dangerous mine-sweeping missions.

As the author or co-author of nearly three dozen professional papers in sonar research, he is also the co-inventor of several patent-pending sonar-related technologies. Among his numerous work-related performance recognitions and awards are the Mr. David Skinner Award for Outstanding Scientific and Engineering Achievement, the Mr. Delores M. Etter Top Scientists and Engineering of the Year Award in 2012, and the NSWC PCD Commander/Technical Director Performance Excellence Award.

After earning his Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez in 1984, Mr. Fernandez began his professional career as an electronics engineer at the Naval Coastal Systems Center in Panama City, Florida. He further advanced his career by studying during his spare time for his Master of Science degree from Florida State University, which he completed in 1993.

Throughout his career, Mr. Fernandez has mentored numerous scientists, researchers, and engineers in the design, development, and fielding of advanced sensors, many of whom have gone on to become distinguished subject matter experts.