Lockheed Martin celebrates African American engineering talent
Lockheed Martin Chairman, President and CEO Marillyn Hewson celebrated the accomplishments of the Black Engineer of the Year Award (BEYA) recipients during the 2015 BEYA STEM Conference Gala held Feb. 7 in Washington, D.C.
The conference was the largest gathering of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) professionals and leaders who are committed to advancing diversity in the technology workforce. During the Gala, Hewson delivered remarks highlighting Lockheed Martin's commitment to diversity and inclusion.
"It's our mission to help our customers solve the world's most pressing challenges," said Hewson. "To achieve this mission we must constantly push the boundaries of innovation, helping to turn today's era of change into an era of opportunity. And we know that breakthrough achievements come when we leverage the diverse perspectives, backgrounds and experiences of our entire team."
During the conference Gala, Ernest Levert of Lockheed Martin's Missiles and Fire Control business in Grand Prairie, Texas, was honored with the BEYA Career Achievement Award for applying his passion for welding and decades of experience to solve advanced manufacturing technical challenges across the Corporation. During his 28-year Lockheed Martin career, Levert pioneered new welding innovations that impacted programs ranging from the ground, to the seas and even to outer space.
In addition to Levert's recognition, dozens of other Lockheed Martin employees received BEYA STEM Awards, including 37 "Modern-Day Technology Leader" awards, 11 "Science Spectrum Trailblazer" awards and two special awards. Special awardees included:
- Jonathan D. Madison, Ph.D., of Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico, who received the Most Promising Scientist Award for his pioneering work on computational materials and data science.
- Karmyn Norwood of Lockheed Martin's Aeronautics business in Meridian, Mississippi, who received a Special Recognition Award for her leadership in executing multi-billion dollar military aircraft programs and for her STEM community outreach efforts.
In addition to hosting the annual BEYA conference, the company recognizes its talent during other key events throughout the year, including the Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards Conference and the Asian American Engineer of the Year event.
Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 112,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation's net sales for 2014 were $45.6 billion.
Billionaire Kumar Birla Champions Regional Supply Chains
As the head of the Aditya Birla Group, a US$46bn firm that operates in 36 countries, Kumar Mangalam Birla is no stranger to splashy strategic moves. Yet his recent announcement that he no longer wants to acquire globally distributed supply chains stood out. While many companies have struggled to cope with shipping backlogs, his firm has chosen to pivot and focus on regional networks. Said Birla: ‘We wouldn’t look at a company or a business where you source in one corner of the world and sell in another’.
He cited protectionism, the pandemic, and the limited movement of products and people around the world as ABG’s primary causes of lost profits. And they aren’t alone. Over the past year, 900 of the U.S. and Europe’s biggest IT, defence, and financial services firms have lost an average of US$184mn apiece.
An Era of Global Disruption
Over the past few decades, low shipping rates and rapid delivery times have lulled multinational firms into a false sense of security. In the early 2000s, companies chose to take on significant global supply chain risks in exchange for increased profits. First, it made sense to manufacture higher-value goods, such as electronics, in low-cost regions throughout Southeast Asia, India, and Africa. Second, first-tier suppliers started to outsource the manufacturing of specific components to second-, third-, and even fourth-tiers—leaving supply chains with extremely limited visibility.
So when COVID-19 disruptions struck certain regions, companies were caught unprepared. Usually, these events come few and far between. But over the past ten years, we’ve seen a number of ‘black swan’ events that have thrown the supply chain industry into chaos. Here’s a quick history of the most significant events in recent years, thanks to the MIT Sloan Management Review:
- 2010. China creates export quotas for rare earth elements.
- 2011. The Tōhoku Earthquake hits East Japan; flooding sweeps throughout Thailand.
- 2016-present. Trade wars between the U.S. and China hurt suppliers.
- 2020-present. COVID-19 pandemic shuts down international shipping ports.
Now, Kumar Birla is one of many who want to re-evaluate how we run our supply chains. Though his company has acquired 40+ companies in the last quarter decade, Birla intends to build up local hubs rather than expand operations.
Why Pursue Regionalisation?
Combine Chinese economic dominance, global supply chain vulnerabilities, and major government policy shifts around the world, and you have a storm brewing on the horizon for big multinational firms. As Brookings noted, ‘the biggest risk for trading opportunities in the developing world is growing protectionism in more advanced economies, often dressed up as national security protection’.
Altogether, from the U.S. to the European Union, governments are trying to protect their domestic supply chains, secure adequate stockpiles of materials, and build world-class local networks. Consider Biden’s recent executive order, which seeks to bring semiconductor manufacturing back to home soil, or Japan’s bid to open more memory chip fabrication factories near Tokyo. The Aditya Birla Group intends to react in kind. Said Birla: ‘We’re looking at regionalism as a very big theme’.
Will Others Follow Suit?
In the post-pandemic economy, global businesses must decide whether to expand or contract. On one hand, the Alibaba Group’s Cainiao Smart Logistics Network recently launched a direct flight between Hong Kong, China, and Lagos, Nigeria. On the other, the Japanese government is desperate to make its chip manufacturing domestic. Indeed, as two supply chain strategies diverge in a post-pandemic world, the one businesses take may make all the difference.
Yet Birla is confident that regionalisation is the right call. According to his words at the Qatar Economic Forum, even necessary cross-border transactions should be smaller in scope. And as the Bloomberg Billionaires Index now lists his net wealth at US$10.4bn, up 52% from 2020, he may have the cash to test his theories out. ‘Regional hubs, regional presence, regional employment, catering to regional demand’, he stated. ‘We’re a global company rooted in local economics’.