Patrick O’Connell, an international executive with computer science expertise, is the executive director of the Office of the Chief of Naval Personnel. Dr. O’Connell has lived and worked in a number of different countries, including England, where he was the interim director of program and strategy for High Speed Rail 2 Ltd. (HS2). In this position, Patrick O’Connell helped to transition HS2 into a delivery organization by developing complex strategies and organizational structures that will ultimately lead to the successful and timely completion of the world’s fastest commuter train system. HS2 has taken a multi-tiered, intentional approach to the design of the rail system.
HS2 is an ambitious $85 billion project that will serve as the backbone of Britain’s transportation network. By linking Britain’s largest cities, the country’s economy will be bolstered by the creation of new jobs and increased trade and tourism. HS2 will connect a number of city centers and serve 300,000 passengers per day. With that in mind, the design panel, led by Sadie Morgan and consisting of experts from a wide array of disciplines, is carefully considering every aspect of the design to make sure it meets the projects three core concepts: people, place, and time.
Without question, the HS2 line needs to benefit everyone. The transportation system must work intuitively and effectively, serving and engaging a number of diverse audiences. The design of various elements needs to respect national, regional, and local interests.
In addition, the design of HS2 needs to respect place. New spaces, including stations, terminals, trains, and natural environments will all be created with an overarching goal of improving the quality of life of those that use them. Projects will reflect the local context while also maintaining a cohesive HS2 identity. Well-designed spaces will serve to enhance the public’s national pride.
Finally, the design of HS2 must respect time restraints and be completed on budget without compromising quality. The design team is aware that every aspect of HS2 needs to be built to endure and evolve for future generations.
An experienced public and private sector administrator, Patrick O'Connell has served as the executive director of the office of the chief of naval personnel in Washington, DC, since 2016. Outside of the professional arena, Patrick O'Connell is an avid world traveler. The highlights of his journeys include taking safaris by elephant in both India and Africa, as well as spending the night at the Icehotel in northern Sweden.
Actually a series of structures that are rebuilt on an annual basis in the village of Jukkasjärvi, the Icehotel is composed entirely of snow and ice. This exceptional resort began as a one-off project called ARTic Hall. Essentially a huge igloo, ARTic hall served as a large art gallery but also hosted church services, showed films, and offered refreshments at a wet bar.
Established in the early 1990s, the Icehotel became internationally renowned and has won multiple World Travel Awards. Elegantly designed, both the structure and its furniture are made of 100 percent snow and ice. The Icehotel even uses glasses and dishes made out of ice.
Patrick O'Connell serves as the U.S. Navy’s chief of naval personnel and draws on past leadership experience as interim program and strategy director with High Speed Two (HS2) Ltd. In this position, he set in place an ambitious high speed rail project that is set to be completed in 2033. With nearly two decades of experience living abroad, Patrick O'Connell has made his home in countries such as Japan, France, and Spain, and he seeks out authentic cultural experiences wherever he is.
One of Spain’s most unique traditions is La Tomatina, which is held annually in the village of Bunol in eastern Spain each August and includes “tomato battles.” The roots of this festival are said to extend to 1945, when a food fight broke out involving gigantes y cabezudos (giant-headed parade figures) and young revelers. The next year the animosity repeated itself in another massive tomato confrontation, which law enforcement officers ultimately gave up trying to quell, and it soon after became a signature regional event.
With “fun” the operative word, La Tomatina now centers on a massive tomato fight that brings in 22,000 visitors each year, and requires tickets reserved in advance. With strict rules in place that all tomatoes must be crushed before being thrown to avoid injury, some revelers go so far as to wear a snorkel mask to protect their face as some 150,000 kilograms of tomatoes are flung.
Patrick O'Connell, the current chief of personnel for the US Navy, formerly served as the interim program and strategy director for High Speed Rail 2 (HS2) in the United Kingdom. Aside from his professional success with HS2 and the US Navy, Patrick O’Connell draws personal satisfaction from traveling to far-flung corners of the world.
One of the many places Mr. O’Connell has visited is the Bandhavgarh region of India, which is home to a world-renowned tiger reserve of the same name. Bandhavgarh National Park boasts the highest density of tigers in India. As such, it is considered an essential stop on any tour of the region.
Other than tigers, Bandhavgarh National Park has more than 250 species of birds, 22 species of mammals, and 70 species of butterflies. Other mammals found in the park include leopards, Bengal foxes, striped hyenas, and wild boars.
The chief of naval personnel for the United States Navy, Patrick O’Connell has more than three decades of public and private senior executive experience.