April 29, 2013 --
By Carden Hedelt, MCSC Corporate Communications
At the age of 24, Marine Corps Systems Command engineering intern Dennis Hollich has already traveled far and wide for his job, doing things other engineers his age would only dream of doing.
He spent a few months in Panama City, Fl. He visited Hawaii, Thailand and The Philippines on one rotation, and Yuma, Ariz., on another.
He has had these opportunities through the Navy internship program, now the Recent Graduates Program, at MCSC. Candidates spend two to two and a half years as paid interns and, upon meeting certain requirements, enter the workforce.
The aim of the program is to bring on the best and brightest young technical minds straight out of college and set them on the path to be the experienced engineers the Marine Corps needs in the future. So far, Hollich has proved to be that kind of mind.
On his travels, far and near, he has had the chance to do things like get behind the wheel of a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected All-Terrain Vehicle and test flame-resistant clothing with a flame so big and bright it could have damaged his vision without protective glasses.
As he put it, working at MCSC is a unique opportunity.
“I’ve been able to do so many new things that I never would have dreamed of doing,” Hollich said. “Every day is a challenge and every day is different and exciting.”
Hollich first came to MCSC as a summer hire between his sophomore and junior years at Virginia Tech, then again between his junior and senior years. He started his summer hire work with Infantry Combat Equipment, where he said he was thrown right into the fire.
“That second summer I was at N.C. State doing tests on flame-resistant clothing, and that was a very interesting experience,” Hollich said. “The way we cool down the space after a test is pulling air from outside. Since it was summer, we would test at 4 a.m. so that we could get the cooler air from outside.”
Hollich decided to continue on as an intern after graduating from Virginia Tech in the summer of 2010 because he was already familiar with his place of work, he said. He knew the battle rhythm at MCSC and which questions to ask, and he had some idea what to expect in his new job.
Hollich came to Program Manager Ground Transportation Engineering Systems where he said he never turned down an opportunity to learn something or try something different.
He remembers a trip to Norfolk, Virginia, where he got to look aboard ships to see the difference a few inches would make. The smallest fraction of an inch over the specification could mean the difference between getting more gear on a ship and even getting certain gear on board at all.
“A steel bulkhead is not very forgiving,” Hollich said. “So when they say the max height or width is a certain number, they mean it.”
Now Hollich works in Marine Air-Ground Task Force Command, Control and Communications—MC3 for short—where he serves as lead engineer for three systems, including Marine Corps Civil Information Management System, or MARCIMS.
His supervisor, Basil Moncrief, said having a 24-year-old lead engineer isn’t typical, but his trust in Hollich is firmly founded.
“I couldn’t live without him,” said Moncrief, technology transition office lead in MC3. “He’s very smart, very aggressive and he’s a self starter.”
Moncrief also said that Hollich conceptualized the approach the MARCIMS team used for information assurance, data storage and retrieval. The MARCIMS program creates databases of shared information and gives Marines readily available access to information gathered by other users during civil operations.
Moncrief said Hollich displayed the traits of a more seasoned engineer in his work on MARCIMS.
“It’s remarkable to me how he has jumped in and started functioning like a very experienced engineer,” Moncrief said. “He looks around corners—he tries to figure out future problems and checks out other projects to see if he can borrow from them.”