Saturday, May 4, 2013

Sunnyvale History: 1956 to 1974

I joined the company while the Sunnyvale plant was under construction
by Norma V.

I joined Lockheed Missiles and Space Company when our office was in San Jose on Lenzen Avenue. I was to be a secretary (hourly) to Hal La Jeunesse, personnel services manager, when he arrived from Van Nuys. Until then, I worked with Tony Holst, head of employee services. Working for Tony was a good introduction to the company, and the assignment was fortunate, as we were required to handle all ranges of personnel categories, including interviewing applicants.

It wasn’t very long after Mr. La Jeunesse arrived that we moved to Sunnyvale, but not into the plant proper. Our office was in a farmhouse in a field outside the plant. Eventually, we did move into the permanent building; but it still was not complete. Some of the inside walls had not been erected and huge sheets of heavy canvas separated departments. I was soon offered a salaried job with Walter Mathieu. I forget the name of his organization, but I remember that maintenance was one of the departments under him. I know that there were engineering groups among them. But, this was another physical move. His entire group was moved to an empty elementary school building in Mountain View, where all the building's facilities were built to accommodate grade school children. Mr. Mathieu had the principal's office and mine was adjoining. He enjoyed showing visitors around, pointing to his office as "The Headmaster’s Office, and this is the “Head Mistress." We were there until the company's headquarters and offices in Building 101 were completed, and then we moved back into Building 103, and finally the “flag-raising” move of officials from Van Nuys and Burbank was completed.

Mr. Mathieu became ill and there was a complete change of management in this group, so I was able to return to personnel department to be secretary to Horace Bissell, personnel manager. He had just moved in from Burbank, and was head of medical, dining rooms, employment, employee services and safety. I also assumed some administrative duties, including budgets. Things were a bit tight, I found. I needed a calculator, but could not get one assigned to me. I still had my old high school trigonometry book, with its trig tables at the back, so I used them for my calculations until I was assigned a calculator, sometime late.

We made three more moves, the last being my final one. The first was a brief one, with employment, at a temporary office on Mathilda Avenue, away from the main plant. The next was to the headquarters in Building 101, where almost all departments reporting to Mr. Mitchell, director of industrial relations, were located. Mr. Mitchell reported to E. L. Nichols, Director of Administration. The last move took us across the street from the main complex to Building 501, which was not required to have a security entrance. I was promoted to administrative assistant, as I was then reporting directly to Mr. Nichols and helping Dr. Alice Morrison, the retirement advisor, who also reported to him. Between us, we worked on reports for his use. I was still working on budgets and monthly financial reports for administration.

I retired in January 1974 at age 55, as my husband, a teacher in the local high school, had retired the past June at age 57. We spent the next year traveling the world—85 countries and 20 cruises. The summer after I retired, Employment Manager John Love, called to see if I would work in public relations for the summer. I had to say “no.” My 18 years with Lockheed were good ones. They were interesting because of the many different things I was able to do and the things I learned. By the way, I still belong to the Star One Credit Union. Thank you, Lockheed Martin!

Sunnyvale: I remember it well!