Southern Maryland Navy Alliance:
A legend of entrepreneurism
A dedicated, grassroots group of community leaders formed the Southern Maryland Navy Alliance. The group included such great citizens and advocates as the former State Senator J. Frank Raley, Jack Daugherty, and Jack Lynch. Based on Jack Lynch’s prior position as the then Naval Air Test Center Technical Director and most senior civilian at NAS Patuxent River, Jack was instrumental in base workforce development, community relations, and the foundation of the Navy Alliance.
J. Frank Raley, the first SMNA President, took the reins in 1992. With the support of the base leadership, elected federal and state, and community leaders, the SMNA was established. A non-profit 501(c)4 organization, chartered in Maryland, SMNA was comprised of community business owners, defense contractors, and retired Navy and civil servants. They grew to be the preeminent advocate for the Southern Maryland community to support the Navy at Patuxent River to help ensure national security and promote the economic health of the state of Maryland and Southern Maryland region. During this period, the SMNA provided support to the Patuxent River Naval Air Museum leadership, RADM Lowell “Gus” Eggert, in its efforts to preserve the history of Research, Development, Test & Evaluation at NAS Patuxent River.
The second SMNA president, Jack Lynch, played a primary role in promoting the infrastructure of NAS Patuxent River through the support of elected leaders. Congressman Steny Hoyer, of Maryland’s 5th congressional district, was a strong supporter of the base and instrumental in acquiring resources for the anechoic chamber and many other facilities critical to the base’s mission of Research, Development, Test and Evaluation, and also ensuring the base was better prepared for the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC).
In 1995, the Base Realignment and Closure Act fostered a major consolidation of Naval Aviation RDT&E organizations and functions to NAS Patuxent River that included the Research and Development function previously carried out in such areas Warminster, PA, Trenton NJ, and Lakehurst NJ. The Patuxent River Naval Air Station had become a world famous Research, Development, Test and Evaluation facility with a unique mission.
As the primary Navy supporter at NAS Patuxent River and the emerging Webster Outlying Field at St. Inigoes, the SMNA quickly became a major positive force helping to enhance the mission of the Navy at Pax River and economic development in the Southern Maryland region.
Later in 1996 at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, Senator Barbara Mikulski recognized a new nonprofit evolved from the SMNA, to support government, industry, and academia. This new organization came to be known as The Patuxent Partnership or TPP. TPP took on the much needed mission to promote education and work force development in all areas of technology and STEM to help meet the current and anticipated needs of the Navy and Industry at Pax River.
In August 1999, Brigadier General (BG) (ret) Michael Hayes, USMC, led the State of Maryland’s Office of Military and Federal Affairs as its first Director. Under his leadership, he oversaw the Maryland Military Installation Council (MMIC) to promote regional development and economic growth, in support of, the Southern Maryland Navy Alliance for NAS Patuxent River. In collaboration with Congressman Steny Hoyer, BG Hayes, and Maryland Delegate John Bohanan, Southern Maryland installations at Patuxent River, Webster Field, and Indian Head grew to serve our national defense, and brought jobs and opportunities the region.
Over the years, the SMNA has continued to grow and support the Navy through its strong membership and outreach to the community. SMNA continues a strong partnership with NAVAIR and NAS Patuxent River in assisting in infrastructure needs and procuring resources for aviation needs to support the fleet. SMNA is constantly working to help enhance the base’s capabilities in achieving its vital national security mission to make our Navy and our Country stronger and safer.
- Foster strong relationships between NAVAIR and NAS Patuxent River leadership
- Support the workforce development of technical and engineering jobs in Research, Development, Acquisition Test & Evaluation, fleet life cycle support, and defense-related opportunities in the Southern Maryland region
- Provide vital support and assistance for the policies and budgets of Naval Aviation, Federal, and Department of Defense Joint Activities and initiatives
- Promote the importance of the economic and cultural benefits of a strong military presence and the importance of supporting its infrastructure
- Provide leadership to facilitate coordination and build consensus on key projects with various organizations, groups, clubs, governments, and individuals who have similar interests in maintaining a healthy and stable NAS Patuxent River
- Serve as a catalyst for Tech Transfer and TechBridge to assist other government and private organizations with marketing the science and technology assets at NAS Patuxent River
- Gary Kessler, President
- Tom Garrison, Vice President
- Christine Wray, Secretary
- Robert Russell, Treasurer
- Tim Heely, Immediate Past President
- Brett Darcey
- Thomas Dennison
- Tom Evans
- Tom Garrison
- Pete Green
- Barbara Ives
- Glen Ives
- Chris Kaselemis
- Tommy Luginbill
- Maureen Montgomery
- Alan Parris
- Matt Scassero
- Kevin Switick
- Dottie Simeona
- Pete Williams
- Keith Fairfax
- BGEN (ret) Mike Hayes USMC
- J. Frank Raley
- Jack Lynch
- Butch Long
- Keith Fairfax
- Todd Morgan
- Ed Sierra
- Glen Ives
- Ken Farquhar
- Brian Norris
- Tim Heely