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Shoot for the Stars

Women in Science and Engineering Symposium

CAPT, United States Navy (Retired)

Patricia Sudol

CAPT Pat Sudol was one of the first women to enter the Naval Academy in 1976, graduating in 1980 with a degree in Oceanography.  As women were not permitted to serve on combatant ships at that time, she was assigned to USS HOLLAND (AS 32), a Submarine Repair Ship, where she served as their first female Repair Department Division Officer, the Engineering Department Electrical Officer, and as the Operations Department Head during the ship’s circumnavigation of the globe.  She qualified as a Surface Warfare Officer, and was selected to go to Department Head School to prepare for potential future duty as a ship’s Engineering Officer.  She certified DAWIA Level III in Program Management in 1994 based on experience alone, an unusual achievement.  After earning her Master’s Degree at the Naval Postgraduate School in Engineering Acoustics (a multidisciplinary degree across the electrical engineering, physics and computers disciplines), she transitioned from the Surface Warfare community to the Engineering Duty Officer community and became a qualified Engineering Duty Officer in 1986.  Her post-graduate thesis work won the 1987 Naval Undersea Systems Center (NUSC) Award for Excellence in Underwater Technology.   

As the Repair Officer at the Ships Intermediate Maintenance Activity, she led roughly 1800 personnel in 78 production/production support shops in maintaining the ships and submarines of the Pacific Fleet.  She stood up a new Nuclear Submarine Maintenance Division, which achieved an unprecedented Submarine Safety (SUBSAFE) certification on the first inspection.

 During her career which also included two Supervisor of Shipbuilding, Conversion and Repair and two Program Office tours, she procured or maintained small boats and afloat targets, Oceanographic Research Ships, Guided Missile Frigates, Oilers, Guided Missile Cruisers, Destroyers, Battleships, Amphibious Ships, Cargo Ships, Repair Ships, Conventional and Nuclear Submarines and Nuclear Aircraft Carriers across their lifecycles.  Captain Sudol oversaw planning and systems engineering efforts, budgeting, risk management, contract management, configuration management, ship construction, research and development, system integration, testing and delivery, operations and maintenance, ship conversion, decommissioning.  

 As a Major Program Manager for Ships, she successfully managed more Acquisition Category 1D Programs simultaneously than any other Navy ship acquisition Major Program Manager, in addition to a Foreign Military Sales programs with 24 countries and a huge contract portfolio for unique ships, smaller vessels and related products.  She also managed more types of funding than any other Major Program Manager due to the extreme variety of products being procured.   Overall, she expertly managed programs valued at roughly $18 Billion dollars across the FYDP.

 After retiring from the military with over 27 years of service, and in recognition of her extraordinary breadth of experience, CAPT Sudol was asked to develop and teach a ship acquisition focused curriculum.   Her curriculum was so well received that the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research Development and Acquisition stated in Congressional testimony the Navy's intent to transition her training to the Defense Acquisition University.  With her help, the course was transitioned accordingly!

 CAPT Sudol continued to work as a consultant and acquisition analyst providing support when requested to the US Coast Guard, Missile Defense Agency (Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense), and the Navy   She concurrently worked as an Intermittent Professor of Program Management for the Defense Acquisition University. 

 As of 2020, CAPT Sudol is fully retired and living in the wilds of Pennsylvania!