Alumni Spotlight: John C. Hootman ’01

Twelve years ago when I was leaving Webb, I would have laughed if someone had told me I would be anything other than a naval ship concept designer for my career. Well, life has happened — as it does — and fantastic options have presented themselves. My course first diverged when I went into new construction ship design management by working on the LPD 17 Class.  It was an honor to work on the 9/11 ships (USS New York, USS Arlington, and USS Somerset) and to participate in full-scale shock trials.  We dealt with some tough technical issues directly impacting ships in the fleet and in construction.

Now I’ve really dived into the deep end and am working on building the Navy’s budget.   I am currently the deputy branch head for the program planning and development branch of the staff of the chief of naval operations (OPNAV).  Our team is central to the annual development of the Navy’s budget.  It is an honor and a challenge to be directing a talented team of military, civilian, and contractor personnel performing analyses of programmatic issues of interest to the OPNAV staff and combatant or fleet commanders.  The scope of our office covers all aspects of the Navy’s budget: research, development and acquisition, manpower, benefits, training, medical, and quality of life, as well as operations, maintenance and military construction. Every day I learn something new as we navigate these challenging financial times.

I manage to keep myself sane by balancing work with being a volunteer firefighter and EMT in Fairfax County, VA.  My primary role is to be a fire engine driver, but I also spend a lot of time teaching our recruit firefighter course.  It’s very rewarding to be able to help people out by helping to resolve their problem (usually for the best) and seeing the results in real time. 

The fundamentals and work ethic we learned at Webb have served me well and continue to help me on a daily basis.  If you are ever passing through northern Virginia, drop me a line!