Meet the inspiring career women at Northrop Grumman

 July 11, 2018

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International Women in Engineering Day provides an important opportunity for Northrop Grumman to celebrate the many talented women engineers in their organization who are driving considerable outcomes.

Whether you’re building a new technology in the lab, improving a process in the office or starting up a new employee resource group, Northrop Grumman has an environment where it can all happen. Meet six talented women working across the Northrop Grumman enterprise who are challenging stereotypes in engineering and manufacturing, and #RaisingtheBar every single day.

Amy Lo at Northrop Grumman

Northrop Grumman Systems Engineer, Amy, helps design and build spacecraft

Meet Amy Lo, James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) Alignment Lead for the Aerospace Systems sector. She's a systems engineer and helps to design and build spacecraft. Her job is to understand the requirements of a spacecraft, perform analyses to show the spacecraft will meet requirements, and plan and execute tests demonstrating that the spacecraft will work the way she and her colleagues designed it. "At Northrop Grumman we deliver critical missions for our government, much of that is in space. JWST, for example, is one of NASA's highest science priorities and the team is proud to be working on it," explains Amy.

Working on global developments is exciting

"Working on anything space related is inherently exciting. It is challenging, difficult, and most of the time, we are solving problems no one has solved before. Take JWST, it's the first deployable space telescope, and it's the largest space telescope ever built. Getting to work on these firsts is a unique opportunity," says Amy.

The challenge of a difficult problem is what Amy enjoys the most. "Believe it or not, there is a lot of creativity that is involved in aerospace engineering, and I don't just mean invention," comments Amy. "Sometimes the most interesting solutions come from when the situation is most constrained. I really enjoy having difficult problems that no one has ever solved before. The flip side is that these challenges can also be wearing, and at times, it's quite a heavy responsibility. You don't get a second chance with something like JWST ... it has to work, the first time, flawlessly, literally a million miles away from Earth. That can be hard to absorb, day after day, especially since these large space mission sometimes take a decade or more to build!"

Working well under pressure and timelines

Amy is a valued team member and has a great strength in being able to understand issues quickly and absorb a lot of information. "On complex systems such as those we work on at Northrop Grumman, being a fast learner is useful. It allows me to see the big picture and the connection between systems. I work well under pressure and timelines, which also helps me deal with inevitable issues that come up. I get called in to help with fields outside of my own, so I suppose I am known for being able to organize problems and drive towards solutions," suggests Amy.

The risk of losing engineering knowledge across industry

When asked about some of the biggest challenges in her industry, Amy says it's going to be challenging to recruit, train and retain the next generation of engineers. "There was a lot of interest in engineering and especially aerospace from the Apollo missions and the human exploration era in the 1980's and 1990's. Now we're facing something of a generation gap where folks are retiring, coupled with a waning interesting in STEM - so we're at risk of losing knowledge. The good news is most of the industry realizes this is an issue, and has active plans in place for knowledge transition. I know that Northrop Grumman has several mentoring programs in place specifically to encourage knowledge transfer. We need to keep focused on training the next generation and developing the right processes to build upwards," reminds Amy.

And when she's not working, Amy likes to read a lot and play video games. Her husband heads up an amateur race car team and so she enjoys going to races in California, and says they spend far too much time fixing the car!

Valerie Loveday ar NorthropGrummang

Valerie guides technical experts to solve complex customer problems

Valerie Loveday, technical lead for utilities privatization for the Technology Services sector, guides groups of technical experts to find the best solution, ensuring Northrop Grumman considers all aspects of complex issues. In her role, Valerie liaises with the government to sell government-owned utility systems to private companies. These lengthy contracts have considerable associated costs, so Valerie and her team consider current and future system requirements, technical solutions, environmental and facility issues, risks, past performance, costs, and legal concerns.

“Northrop Grumman is a company that takes a systematic approach to solving big problems for our customers. Our small group is one example of Northrop Grumman’s problem-solving prowess in action,” comments Valerie.

Saving money for hard-working taxpayers

Valerie loves saving taxpayers’ money by facilitating negotiations between the government and the bidder to achieve accurate, affordable proposals and her biggest measure of success is negotiating the best price for the government customer. To do this, though, Valerie spends a lot of her time translating technical information for non-technical team members and explaining legal requirements to everyone who isn’t a lawyer or doesn’t work on big contracts regularly.

“The work we do is not about me,” says Valerie. “We succeed because we operate as a team, using our different skills and perspectives to solve our customers’ complex problems. Being part of something much larger than the individual while bringing out my best is very rewarding.”

Telecommuting helps Valerie achieve great work-life balance

“There are always a number of work issues that are pressing. There is also always plenty to do at home!” comments Valerie. “I’m fortunate that I can usually find a pretty good balance through telecommuting. As a result, when I find myself at the pediatrician, a school meeting, or a football game instead of at my desk - it’s okay because my work is always done.”

NorthropGrumman - Joleen Doverspike - stem

Joleen helps develop innovative manufacturing technologies

Joleen Doverspike, director of manufacturing engineering for the Mission Systems sector, has a fascinating role at Northrop Grumman. She leads manufacturing operations to ensure synergy in the production, integration, and delivery of systems and products.

Joleen is truly a ‘big picture’ player and is responsible for driving the development of innovative manufacturing technologies, early collaboration, and performance excellence within the Manufacturing Engineering organization. She makes sure Northrop Grumman deliver the highest quality products, at the fastest possible speed and lowest possible cost.

“The work that we do in the aerospace and defense industry is exciting and so important. It’s great to be involved in the design, development, and production of high-tech products that are making our nation and the world a safer place. It’s gratifying to help ensure our security,” says Joleen.

Joleen juggles exciting projects solving complex problems  

Joleen is known for her empowering attitude, sheer determination, enthusiasm, and passion for her work, as well as that of her team.

The hands-on nature of work in manufacturing, and the ability to collaborate and work with personnel at all levels globally is particularly interesting to Joleen. “It really makes working in the Mission Systems manufacturing organization a great place to be.”

And, with so many exciting projects, there are always fascinating technical problems for Joleen to solve. “I work with motivated people,” she adds “Passionate, high performing teams make the workday extremely fulfilling. Every day is different.”

NorthropGrumman GabrielaCoe

Puzzle solver Gabby, helps customers fulfill their missions

Gabby Coe is a triathlete, traveller, and photographer, who loves every minute of her work as a systems engineering manager and technical fellow for Northrop Grumman.

As a Northrop Grumman systems engineer for the Technology Services sector, Gabby’s role is similar to a puzzle solver. She comments, “When you’re solving a puzzle, you have an idea of what the end picture looks like and you have to figure out how the pieces fit together. Each puzzle piece plays an important role in painting the final picture.”

Gabby designs, develops, tests, deploys, operates, and maintains solutions to help customers perform their missions. “Systems engineering allows for a systematic decomposition of the problem, cross-discipline evaluation, and collaboration to consider every aspect of a problem.

Essentially, figuring out the component parts and how they fit together to effectively perform their functions,” explains Gabby.

Gabby thrives on forming relationships at all levels of the organization. “It’s important to me and something I really enjoy. The more you get to know people, the better you understand what motivates and drives them, and how to work together to deliver the solutions our customers need.”

Gabby enjoys mentoring women engineers

One the of most exciting parts of Gabby’s role is being a part of several high profile projects for the Department of Defense and civilian agencies as well as some international projects. One of the most rewarding parts of Gabby’s job, however, is mentoring the next generation of women engineers. “I’m directly involved in our intern program and I look forward to summertime when our interns arrive,” says Gabby. “We plan and prepare for the students for the better part of the year so they have an exciting educational experience and form relationships that will serve them well as they start their careers.”

“I think it’s important for women in senior leadership roles to reach out to and mentor the next generation of women engineers. There’s so much knowledge transfer and experience sharing that can inspire others in many ways.”

Knowledge-sharing and diversity are key to creating better customer solutions. “I believe that if I have a good idea, sharing that idea with others can make it an even better idea because different people bring diverse perspectives and that diversity leads to the best solutions for our customers.”

NorthropGrumman - CandaceGivens - stem

Candace’s career is tied to the mission

Director of product line development, Candace Givens, works within Northrop Grumman's engineering homeroom and focuses on identifying and developing technology building blocks that will serve multiple business areas within the larger enterprise. The product line development organization is a key piece of Northrop Grumman's business strategy to integrate the approach to program execution so every customer can benefit from the Mission Systems sector's capabilities.

Candace’s career has been spent mostly in the space satellite business, and she has been a part of some truly incredible mission solutions. “Having a direct connection to the warfighter and the various mission solutions that keep us safe is incredibly exciting and rewarding,” she says.

Making connections around the world

“My current role is great because it allows me to learn about a wide variety of mission solutions and technologies our company provides to customers around the globe,” says Candace. The product line development organization helps make connections that allow us to leverage the full capabilities of our sector.”

The perspective Candace brings to the role due to her engineering and leadership background is invaluable. She takes the time to understand customer needs and ensures Northrop Grumman solutions will meet those needs.

Candace encourages more women to explore STEM careers

Candace explains that defense companies are facing staffing shortages, and there is tremendous demand for engineers and other technical professionals. Subsequently, she encourages more students to pursue STEM careers.

“I enjoy mentoring emerging talent and working with our employee resource groups to help develop our internal talent. I wouldn’t be where I am today if I didn’t have such a strong support system. It’s very important for me to pay it forward,” adds Candace.

Sharon Meadows - Northbrop Grumman

Sharon is a multi-talented woman

Sharon Meadows is the director of Northrop Grumman’s Communication Systems and Mission Engineering Center. In this role, Sharon leads an organization of 300+ employees who have an incredible technical expertise, ensuring excellence in systems engineering across the Aerospace Systems sector's Centre of Excellence in Space Park, California.

Sharon oversees staffing programs, process and product development and support, employee development, engagement, and recruitment, and program performance. She also influences overall systems engineering strategic initiatives to support employees and enhance sector performance.

Mission challenges keep her role exciting

“One of the most exciting things about working at Northrop Grumman in systems engineering is the diverse set of challenges across all program phases. The efforts we support allow for experiences across a variety of missions and customers,” explains Sharon.

Sharon enjoys working with a great leadership team supporting their exceptional workforce and program community, and she hopes to be viewed as a genuine and committed leader within the organization as she works hard to support employees and their efforts across the enterprise.

Specialized systems engineering skills needed

“A big challenge right now is identifying and retaining top talent to address an increasing business portfolio with a need for specialized systems engineering skills,” says Sharon. Northrop Grumman is keen to attract more women into the company and there are many exciting career options available.

Describing herself as a “patient and logical introvert”, Sharon brings many impressive qualities to her role. Outside of work, her strengths are equally impressive. An avid skier, Sharon enjoys the challenge of this strenuous sport when she can. And in additional downtime, Sharon enjoys traveling and live music.

Join Northrop Grumman for an exciting career!

WORK ON WHAT MATTERS - Northrop Grumman has a wide range of career choices available for talented women. Research the many available career opportunities.


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