The Deputy Engineering Officer in HMAS Sirius has been awarded the Admiral Nelson Sword of Excellence for displaying qualities of outstanding seagoing leadership.
Lieutenant Commander Matthew Cavedon was presented the esteemed award by Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Tim Barrett - honouring the traditions which continue to influence the Royal Australian Navy.
The country Victorian left his dishwashing job at a local Bright café after seeing a helicopter from 723 Squadron land on his school’s footy field which kick-started his career as an aircraft maintenance sailor more than 17 years ago.
Lieutenant Commander Cavedon said that a leader in the Navy shared the same attributes as successful motivators elsewhere.
“Leadership is about choices and energy, if we make values based ethical decisions and put effort into relationships you will be well on the way to being a constructive leader,” Lieutenant Commander Cavedon said.
“People don’t necessarily care how much you know, but they know how much you care.”
The motto of his ship is ‘To Serve and Provide’, and he said that serving in the underway replenishment ship was underpinned by a team ethos and he was fortunate to be part of a team that embraced every challenge.
“We appreciate five things while in Sirius: we don’t live with defects; we take ownership of the platform; be open, honest and transparent; be professional; and no surprises,” Lieutenant Commander Cavedon said.
“Leadership mentors that have has influenced or challenged me to become my best stem throughout Navy and the Australian Football League.
“I have cherry-picked their skills and behaviours, and seek out their guidance,” he said.
His role as Platform Manager includes overseeing the in-service support contract and defect rectification and engineering sustainment project activities.
“The role has its challenges with a high degree of financial responsibility so the biggest challenge is keeping track and being responsible for a multi-million dollar budget and ensuring value for money,” Lieutenant Commander Cavedon said.
“Leaders continue to study and I have immersed myself into studies, completing three degrees and involved in sporting leadership programs – all helping me to continue to grow and develop.”
When the going gets tough Lieutenant Commander Cavedon manages to pull-through by working hard and making time for sport and fitness as an outlet from the pressures of life.
“I have been fortunate to have balanced a semi-professional AFL football career with Navy,” Lieutenant Commander Cavedon said.
“I have captain-coached the Navy’s national representative side and the Australian Defence Force all-star national representative sides and have been inducted into the Navy Australian Football Association hall of fame.
“Other outlets for me include skiing, snowboarding, motocross and reading engineering journals and postgraduate study material,” he said.
Lieutenant Commander Cavedon lives in Perth with his wife Kate, four year old son Miller and six-month old son Carter.