Scott Pawlowski, Chief of Cultural and Natural Resources, WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument
(Scott Pawlowski on right of picture)
Autodesk University (AU) is a place to network and meet fellow peers and new people who work in the Autodesk world. I had the chance to meet Scott Pawlowski at the AutoCAD Blogger Social at AU2015 this year. The Autodesk Special Projects Team, which includes Pete Kelsey and Shaan Hurley worked with Scott to develop a full 3D digital model of the USS Arizona, one of the first ships to be sunk in Pearl Harbor on the island of Hawaii in WWII. We were privileged to see an amazing 3D print of the USS Arizona at the Blogger Social. The USS Arizona is an official WWII war grave and many technical, social and cultural considerations had to be taken in to account when the 3D surveying work was done by the team, which was mainly conducted under the surface of the waters of Pearl Harbor itself.
- What is your name and what role do you perform?
My name is Scott Pawlowski and I am Chief of Cultural and Natural Resources in the WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument (VALR). That is a polite title which describes that I look after cultural heritage and scientific research at VALR for the National Park Service.
- What is a typical day for you?
Pretty much every day is a new day and I get to work on anything from chewing pencils whilst filling out reports for program managers in the region to leading the park dive team. I also have to maintain my dive qualifications, as well as keep the ship looking good. Any day might include figuring out how to pay for preserving our nation’s cultural heritage in the national monument, or deciding which research focus is most needed for managing effectively. I often meet with donors who give family heirlooms to the national monument museum collection. The other day we were testing ROV equipment to image the ship better and we found that the entire electrics in the dock were not wired properly so we had to troubleshoot the system! It’s a very diverse position.
- Do you feel a sense of pride in all that you do?
Absolutely. In this place it is important to get everything right, rendering honor to those who perished and to those who think about them; families, friends and colleagues. It is great to get feedback, good or bad, when you are dealing with the memory of people who lived and died for their country. It is a great responsibility and knowing that you get it right, by the type of feedback we receive, gives a great sense of pride.
- How do you get to work each day?
Through the traffic, just like everyone else….in the party wagon, my late model Honda Civic, sometimes watching construction of the light rail system here on Hawaii.
- What (if any) Autodesk software do you use?
Almost exclusively, I use Autodesk Infrastructure Design Suite (IDS), but I am learning everything else like 123D Catch and 3ds Max. We also have a contractor using the Unity game engine for modeling and a touch of Autodesk Memento. To test the efficacy of the Autodesk software, we use CloudCompare as a counter point to see how accurate the Autodesk point clouds are.
- Name a project very close to your heart and why do you hold it in such high regard?
The USS Arizona digital check-up project is one of my most professionally enriching projects because of the partnerships with the fifteen project partners including Autodesk, the US Navy and US Coastguard, all helping over 1.7 million visitors understand what the resource is like here today. To herd fifteen different cats for a common goal valuable to our nation is pretty cool.
- Is your role challenging and if so, why?
It is challenging but in a positive way because the work requires both creativity and a lot of humanities, scientific and engineering background to get the day done. It’s nice to be in a profession where you get to think creatively a lot also.
- Name a group of people you have loved working with.
Working in Pearl Harbour for the last nine years has been really rewarding because of the number or really high quality people you get to work with, such as the Mobile Dive Salvage Unit One in Pearl Harbor and the 14th District Coastguard folks as well as other military units. However, Autodesk staff have also been spectacular to work with at the same level as all the other groups. That has been the cherry on the top of the sundae. I recently had the chance to say that to Carl Bass and anyone else who will listen to me.
- Do you have any habits or superstitions that you always stick to?
First thing in the morning, I try to sit down and be introspective about what I am going to do for the day. I also frequently clear my emergency regulator on my dive rig, but that is another necessary habit.
- Where would you like to be in ten year’s time?
Sitting on a beach in the Bahamas, in the Exuma Cays near Georgetown!
I would like to thank Scott for his precious time and patience on a mobile phone call from Hawaii to Glasgow (where I was working in my hotel room) as we went through the interview. The line was sketchy at best but we got through it! I have watched the USS Arizona project with interest from day one, and I have to say that the dedication and the ambition of all involved was incredible. The ship is a national monument to a war that decided our way of life as it is today, and the maintenance of the ship is imperative to ensure that it remains there for many more years for people to see and understand the sacrifice of all who served on her on that fateful day.
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