James Patricola ’07 (center), pictured above with Commander Ken Tachikawa (left), NATEC director, and Rhonda Hunt, NATEC deputy director, received the Mentor of the Year award from the Naval Air Technical Data & Engineering Service Center (NATEC).

James Patricola ’07

School of Business MBA alumnus received the Naval Air Technical Data & Engineering Service Center Mentor of the Year award.

At a University of Redlands Mentoring Mixer in Temecula, James Patricola '07 is in his element. He’s hosting an alumni panel of seven business professionals sharing career advice from various industries. It’s one of several similar U of R events he has participated in.

“Mentoring doesn’t take anything but the desire to help and learn,” says Patricola, who earned an MBA in 2007 from the University’s School of Business, San Diego campus, where he was inducted into the Whitehead Leadership Society. “It doesn’t have to be formal. You just listen and share information.”

Patricola, a retired U.S. Navy chief petty officer and logistics specialist who transitioned to a civilian career 18 years ago, is now an operations division director for Naval Air Systems Command at the Naval Air Technical Data & Engineering Service Center at Coronado. Providing professional and personal guidance has been central to Patricola’s career.

At work, he has created mentorship programs and supported dozens of employees personally with one-on-one counsel along with helping them expand their professional networks. On his own time, he’s currently also mentoring two wounded warrior veterans who are in a U.S. Navy intern program. At Redlands, he’s now also a master mentor, who helps guide new mentors through the process.

One of his current mentees is an active-duty Marine Corps lieutenant colonel earning an MBA from Redlands and transitioning out of service into civilian life. “I’ve met with him near where he works at Camp Pendleton, and I’ve hosted him at my office, where he’s met all the senior leadership, and had an executive lunch to give him informational briefings,” says Patricola.

For this service to others, Patricola recently received the prestigious Naval Air Technical Data & Engineering Service Center Mentor of the Year award, a written commendation from the vice admiral and commander of the Naval Air Systems Command—an honor bestowed on just seven individuals among the 35,000 in the center.

“In both my personal and professional calendars, I schedule 20 to 25 percent of my time toward helping others,” says Patricola. “In this stage of my life, it’s more important to me to give back, and I get a lot of personal satisfaction out of doing that, and I hope my actions will inspire others to pay forward through mentoring and community service.”

—Laurie McLaughlin