Lockheed Martin Gives Freedom Workforce Analysis

As the world’s largest military contractor, Lockheed Martin knows a thing or two about collaboration.

It shared some of that knowledge with the faculty of Freedom High School during a first-of-its-kind workshop held on Friday, August 17th, at the company’s Herndon location.

Maria Demaree Hutchinson, vice president and general manager for mission solutions, Lockheed Space, worked with Freedom High School Principal Doug Fulton to design the activities with an eye on helping Freedom prepare its students for the workforce of the future.  The agenda began with an overview of Lockheed’s various business interests and keyed in on the space division of the organization. 

The teachers were divided into three teams to play a friendly round of Cyber Safety Jeopardy.  The game was hosted by Darrell Durst, vice president for Advanced Program Development for Mission Solutions.  The game included categories such as “Hackers Gonna Hack” and “Grand Theft Data.”

Two groups of Lockheed Martin employees engaged in panel discussions concerning their positions within the corporate structure.  The first panel was comprised of three mid-career team managers who have the responsibility of supervising new employees.  Melissa Foley, who leads 2D/3D Visualization Services, discussed the importance of teamwork.  She said that she looks for employees who have been on sports teams or involved in extracurricular activities and who have taken on leadership roles. The soft skills learned in those environments translate well to her work team, Foley said.  She also said she liked problem solvers who “help themselves” figure out issues.  Matt Murray, a cyber development manager, noted it is important to discover potential employees who have “been living life right” so that they easily get through the background check and security clearance processes.  In responding to a question about advice for “Generation Z” employees, Murray noted that a career is a symbiotic relationship in which an employee gets out of the experience what he or she puts into it.  He said that young employees must learn how to “digest critical feedback” and realize that “studying and homework don’t stop with the degree.”

The second panel was made up of employees who had been with the company two years or less.  One of the questions directed to this panel was what they wished they had learned before entering the workforce.  A software test team lead named Allison said she wished she had had more experience with presentations and formal writing.  “A lot of engineers don’t have those skills.” Jaclyn Jennings, senior human resource manager for Lockheed Martin, stated that job candidates are now screened more on interaction and communication than on grade point average.  Hutchinson added that grade point averages don’t have to be a 4.4.  She said it was beneficial for students to take diverse classes, not just those that offer “GPA bumps.”

The workshop concluded with a demonstration of Lockheed Martin’s Map of the World software.  This is a customized product for the military to address specific situations that may arise.  It was used during the 2013-2016 Ebola outbreak in west Africa and the 2015 Nepal earthquake.

All the Lockheed Martin employees who took part in the program did so on a volunteer basis, having worked additional hours in order to be available for the activity.  Representatives from Lockheed Martin will continue this partnership with Freedom High School by visiting the school later in the year.