Monday, April 8, 2013

The Milstar Legacy

I was inspired by technology and people
by Emanuel DiM.

My story at Lockheed Martin spans 27 years that were filled with amazing technical and management challenges and successes. These years were also full of opportunities to work for and with inspiring people. Milstar was a seminal part of my career story. Leading up to the original proposal for the Milstar program, Jim Peterson introduced me to systems engineering and nuclear survivability. He also inspired my interest in these fields, which led me into the development of system concepts and technologies that were at the epicenter of the Cold War. This mind-expanding work culminated in my working with an amazing team that won the Milstar Satellite System contract and shaped most of my Lockheed Martin career. In addition to Jim’s system engineering expertise, I was inspired by the program and executive management skill of Sam Araki, the technical leadership of George Cline, the satellite engineering expertise of Tom Kertesz and the survivability engineering expertise of Ed Smith. The Milstar program became an example of heroic perseverance. The program overcame funding challenges, launch vehicle changes stemming from the Challenger Disaster and mission requirements deviations due to the ending of the Cold War. Despite these factors, the leadership of Lockheed Martin and Air Force personnel persevered. They allowed Milstar to realize its potential as a major national asset for global command and control of strategic and tactical military forces. Nearly 20 years after my early Milstar experience, I was privileged to be the senior Lockheed Martin executive on the last Milstar satellite launch.