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RCC gains Electronics and Engineering program head

As of the current academic year, Rappahannock Community College has engaged a new department head for its engineering and electronics program. Johnny Cornett comes to the college from a successful career as an industrial design engineer and program manager; he has also taught part time at Piedmont Virginia Community College. His stated aim at RCC is to “prepare and motivate students for a future in electronics and engineering by providing academic and practical instruction; also, to emphasize the importance of continual learning and of taking advantage of opportunities as they occur.”

Cornett holds the degrees of bachelor of science in electrical engineering from North Carolina State University, and master of electrical engineering from the University of Virginia. He has over 30 years of experience in the design of technical systems, management of technical programs, and education, and has been awarded four patents for his original designs. He cites “customer satisfaction on programs I managed” as one of his most rewarding job experiences. His accomplishments include work on two joint projects between Sperry Marine and the Tokyo Keiki Company of Japan, the first of which improved marine safety by the design and development of a Collision Avoidance System for ocean-going vessels. Later, a related effort involved embedding an automatic radar plotting aid in ships’ radar displays.

A highlight of Cornett’s career has been helping to define and install an integrated bridge navigation system on the Healy, a United States Coast Guard polar icebreaker representing the most advanced technology currently available: “Healy substantially enhances the United States Arctic research capability,” says the Coast Guard website. Also, Cornett was involved with an airborne radar program for the Lockheed C-130, the main tactical airlifter for many military forces worldwide.

Cornett was born and raised in the mountains of North Carolina, and in the past has been an avid rock climber, white-water paddler, caver, camper, and hiker, as well as coaching youth baseball, football, and soccer teams. “I never had a losing record on a team where I was head coach,” he notes. He and his wife, Ann, have two grown children.

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