How did you first become interested in aviation?
Before I was born, my father served in the Vietnam War as an infantry soldier. When I was a young boy, he shared pictures of his time there, and we talked about his experiences. One vivid memory is his description of the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II fighters that would fly low overhead as he was out on patrol. I felt the pride in his words as he reflected on that experience. Later in life, when I joined Lockheed Martin, I was drawn to our aircraft business and had the distinct privilege to be part of the F-35 programme team, which will no doubt be one of the greatest highlights of my career.
Tell us about your career?
I began my career with Lockheed Martin in 1996, straight out of University, and have had the privilege of working in many different segments of our business including naval combat systems, training and logistics, C4ISR, and cyber security. I’ve now been with the company for 22 years and have enjoyed every moment. My first true aviation assignment was working on the F-35 programme as the vice president for international programmes. During my tenure with the F-35, we made our first international aircraft delivery – to the UK, commenced production in our Italian final assembly factory, and were selected by Japan to provide their air force with the F-35. Since that time, I have also had the distinct privilege of overseeing development and fielding of all training devices, ground support equipment, and the automated logistics system for the F-35.
What does your current job involve?
As vice-president of C6ISR [command, control, communications, computers, combat systems, cyber, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance], I lead a diverse portfolio and a team of nearly 6,000 employees around the globe. We deliver multi-domain and undersea mission superiority. If you think about the complex nature of the defence mission worldwide, we’re experiencing an exponential increase in the volume and the velocity of information available in the battlespace. The future of battle management depends on our ability to synchronise the systems in each domain – land, air, sea, space and cyberspace—so that we have the best picture of the battlespace. That’s what we do extremely well from space to undersea: turn data into knowledge, and knowledge into decisions and action.
What is a major recent project? How's it been going?
Lockheed Martin continues to grow our workforce in Australia. In my last role, we won the Department of Defence's Project Air 5428 pilot training system contract and the first PC-21 made an appearance at the Avalon air show last year.
In my current role, we’ve recently secured the contract to develop and deliver the combat system for Australia’s future submarine. We are building a large team in Australia to accomplish this exciting task, with our workforce recently having surpassed 100 employees and continuing to grow.
We are also making strategic investments with the intent to support Air 6500 – the Royal Australian Air Force’s major programme to develop a joint battle management system for Plan Jericho. This is a strategic roadmap to maximise the sensor capabilities offered by 5th generation systems, with the F-35 serving as a catalyst for change. Plan Jericho is built around a focus on leveraging all platforms in Australia’s inventory to operate together, to become a more effective 21st century combat force. Lockheed Martin is the prime developer and systems integrator for the two most transformative 5th gen assets on the global scene – the F‐22 and the F‐35. With this experience as our guide, we have proven ability to integrate disparate systems and platforms to enable operational capabilities going beyond the power and resiliency of any individual asset.
What's the most enjoyable part of your job?
The most enjoyable part of my job, by far, is the people. I’ve said on many occasions, people come to work at Lockheed Martin because they want to make a difference. Our employees are driven by the importance of our customers’ mission and have a passion for innovation. I’m inspired every day by our workforce; by the dedication and commitment they demonstrate to serving our customers and to being the world’s greatest provider to our nation’s military and allies around the globe. Our people perform with excellence and take pride in what we do. It’s a great privilege to lead such an extraordinary team.
I love my job because I am passionate about our people, and the work they do. We provide our customers with the tools and training they need so they can do their jobs effectively and return home safely to their families.
What's the most challenging part?
My greatest challenge is time. I lead an exciting business, and it is truly a global enterprise. While having a strong leadership team makes my job easy, there are never enough hours in a day to do everything I would like to do. It’s important that I strike a balance across several areas – namely managing our operations, engaging with employees and customers, and shaping our strategy for the future. It’s a challenge to achieve the right balance every day, but one that I enjoy wholeheartedly.