by Mike J.
In the fall of 1990, with the award for the development and manufacture of the F-22 stealth fighter jet imminent, a group of recruitment personnel was formed at Lockheed’s facility at Dobbins Air Force Base in Marietta, Georgia. The manager was Ron Van Matre. Ron built his team with local staff members—Rodney, Linda, Tonya, Kay and Beverly—with whom he was familiar. He also drew upon a handful of recruiting professionals—Jerry, Bill, Steve and Bob—from other areas of the country. I came from Illinois to join the team, having previously worked with Ron. I would ultimately serve in a major coordinating role.
The company set the team up in an abandoned barracks building, T-400, away from major facilities. It was well-suited for the high-energy, high-traffic activity that was to come. Few would have expected it to be occupied, let alone house the team that would ultimately take on one of the great recruiting challenges in aerospace history. We organized and processed thousands upon thousands of resumes, and coordinated and sent recruitment teams of 12 to 15 staff members to places such as St. Louis, Missouri; Fort Worth, Texas; and Los Angeles, California. We also managed the onsite visits of a few thousand applicants.
In the end, we hired some 1,500 new staff within a 24-month period. The T-400 team was one special group! Several of us remain close friends to this very day! Thank you for letting me recall and share the story of those exciting days at Lockheed in Georgia.