Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Lockheed Martin at 100: A Pioneering Employee Shares a Centennial

Roy Greenough's memories are the stuff of history
as told to Chris B.

Roy Greenough traces his love for aviation to the age of seven. He was in a spellbound crowd that watched the legendary Glenn L. Martin touch down on an airfield outside Cleveland, Ohio. Later, Greenough would move to California to attend aircraft technical school where he learned skills working on Lockheed Electras.

At 27, Greenough accepted an offer from the Glenn L. Martin Company in Baltimore, Maryland, to work as a riveter on the aircraft manufacturing line on the eve of World War II for 45 cents an hour.

It’s only fitting that, as Lockheed Martin celebrates its Centennial, Roy Greenough celebrates his 100 years. History can be seen in his collection of hand-built wooden models of Lockheed Martin aircraft from the past century. Greenough uses poplar because, “Poplar hardly ever cracks.”

Greenough offers a unique company perspective, from the innovation and dedication that kept crucial PBM aircraft assembly lines moving around the clock during World War II to technology that produced jet aircraft, missiles and rockets. His memories as an employee from 1939 to 1970 are the stuff of history: supervising new female industrial workers, symbolized by 'Rosie the Riveter'; testing new jet aircraft of the post-war years; and working on missile programs at Martin Marietta’s Orlando facility.

Greenough recalled how aircraft, manufacturing and testing techniques, working conditions and salaries changed dramatically. What changed even more, Greenough said, was the human capacity to adapt, to overcome and to innovate. “It’s the people. You get ahead by helping others,” he said. 

Photo 1: History is seen in his amazing models.

Photo 2: Greenough can trace his love for aviation to childhood.