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Announcing this year's honored guest speaker: Joanne McCaffrey

This year, we are pleased to be honoring Joanne McCaffrey, who was among the first group of women to graduate from the United States Coast Guard Academy in 1980.

Joanne McCaffrey, reported to the Academy in 1976 after graduating from Wheaton High School in Wheaton Maryland.  While at the Academy, Cadet McCaffrey majored in Ocean Engineering.  She was a member of the first women’s singing groups, The Icebreakers and LORAN Sisters.  She was a cheerleader and a member of the marching band.  She was also a member of the first women’s gymnastics, basketball, softball, and crew teams and later, played volleyball too. Upon graduation, Ensign McCaffrey married an Academy classmate and was assigned as a Deck Watch Officer aboard CGC Gallatin.  She was an Admission Officer at the Academy and then earned a MS in Ocean Engineering from the University of Rhode Island.  She completed varied civil and facility engineering assignments before becoming Commanding Officer of the Facilities Design and Construction Center just before Hurricanes Katrina and Rita destroyed many Gulf Coast facilities.  Requesting and receiving adequate funding to properly rebuild those facilities is an accomplishment of which she is most proud.  She retired as a Captain in 2009.  Her military awards include a Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service, and Commendation and Achievement Medals.

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In a second career as a Federal Project Manager for a worldwide engineering, consulting, and construction firm, Joanne managed the design and construction of new Coast Guard Stations at Cape May, NJ and Houston, TX.


Joanne and her husband, CGA classmate, Frank Albero, have three children, Kimberly Albero, DNP; Michael Albero, PE, a Mechanical Engineer; and Laura Albero, MBA and five grandchildren.

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Master of Ceremony: Joseph C. McGowan, PhD, PE

Dr. McGowan specializes in the analysis of human injury, with particular expertise in the areas of traumatic brain injury, occupant kinematics, and electric shock injury. His experience includes biomechanical analysis of traumatic injuries associated with automotive and other forms of transportation, heavy equipment, machine and device design, plant operations, consumer products including watercraft, and electrical distribution. He has authored more than one hundred publications including studies of brain trauma, brain disorders, electric shock injury, and biomechanics associated with transportation-related injuries. His work in the medical device field includes consulting in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and the performance of MRI compatibility testing for implantable and accessory devices. He has been admitted to testify as an expert witness in federal and state courts. A record of testimony is available upon request.

Dr. McGowan is a member of the Editorial Board of the American Journal of Neuroradiology and an elected Senior Member of the IEEE. He has been licensed as a Professional Engineer in Pennsylvania since 1988, and is currently also licensed in two other states. He serves as a Visiting Research Professor at Drexel University in the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science, and Health Systems. He has held an appointment as Adjunct Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Temple University, and he has been a guest lecturer at Princeton University. Before forming McGowan Associates, he was a Senior Managing Engineer with Exponent, Inc. He served on the faculty of the United States Naval Academy with the rank of Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and prior to that was a Research Assistant Professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, where his responsibilities included membership in the Graduate Group of Bioengineering, within the School of Engineering and Applied Science. He has been principal and co- principal investigator on grants awarded by the National Institutes of Health in the areas of imaging, traumatic brain injury, and brain disorders.

Dr. McGowan served for more than 31 years as an officer in the United States Navy and Naval Reserve, obtaining qualification as engineer of a nuclear powered submarine. He served as a Division Director at the United States Naval Nuclear Power School and as Commanding Officer of the senior Naval Reserve Detachment at the Office of Naval Research. His decorations include three awards of the Meritorious Service Medal and two of the Navy Commendation Medal. He attained military retirement at the rank of Captain (O-6).

As a Senior Engineer with the General Electric Company Dr. McGowan filled key supervisory roles in construction, startup, and test operations at three commercial nuclear power plants, and earned certification by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission as Senior Reactor Operator.


  • President and Principal Engineer, McGowan Associates, Inc., 2011-

  • Senior Managing Engineer, Exponent, Inc, 2006-2011

  • Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Captain, United States Navy, United States Naval Academy, 2000–2006

  • Research Assistant Professor of Radiologic Science, University of Pennsylvania, 1994–2000

  • Senior Engineer, General Electric Nuclear Energy, 1983–1989 Naval Officer, United States Navy, 1976–1983 and 2006; and United States Naval Reserve, 1983–2005


  • PhD, Bioengineering, University of Pennsylvania, 1993

  • MS, Engineering, University of Pennsylvania, 1990

  • BS, Mathematics, United States Naval Academy, 1976 

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