Stephanie Hill
Lockheed Martin


Want to Make a Difference in the World? Become an Engineer, Says Lockheed Martin Leader, Stephanie Hill

No doubt about it, Stephanie Hill, Vice President and General Manager of Lockheed Martin’s Ship & Aviation Systems business, is passionate about being an engineer — and passing that passion on to young learners.

Her favorite part about being an engineer at Lockheed Martin (which is serving once again as Presenting Expo Sponsor of the USA Science & Engineering Festival)?  Finding solutions to challenging problems — solutions that make a difference in people´s lives, says Stephanie, whose current position involves overseeing the development of the Littoral Combat Ship program, unmanned aerial systems, lasers, and IT services for U.S. and international postal services. “When you’ve figured out the best way to solve a problem, there’s no better feeling!” she exclaims.

For example, she says, ”As an engineer, I had an opportunity to work on a persistent threat detection system that was used in Iraq and Afghanistan, and it saved many lives.” This system, she explained in an interview with the online publication Innovation and Tech Today, was “basically a blimp with high-tech surveillance equipment that could see when bad guys would plant IEDs [improvised explosive devices]. When soldiers travelled down a road with these IEDs, they would be rerouted. In fact, the mothers of Afghanistan called our blimp ‘The Angels of the Sky.’ They would only let their children go outside to play when they could see the blimp.”

However, ironically, Stephanie’s decision to enter the field of engineering was not an easy one after graduating with high honors from the University of Maryland Baltimore County with a degree in computer science and economics. “I actually consider myself an ‘accidental engineer,’ ” she admits with a smile. “I didn’t intend to become an engineer out of college because I didn’t really know what an engineer did. I didn’t know any engineers. Nobody in my family was an engineer. I just knew I was really good at math and tried to find something that would utilize those skills.”

An employee of Lockheed Martin since 1987, she has held positions of increasing responsibility, including serving as Vice President and General Manager of Lockheed Martin’s Information Systems & Global Solutions Civil line of business, Vice President of Corporate Internal Audit, and Vice President and General Manager of the Electronic Systems-Mission Systems & Sensors, in Baltimore.

She feels especially fortunate to be with the company not only because of its leadership in science, engineering and technology but also because of its commitment to boosting the participation in STEM among young students, including women and minorities — an effort in which Stephanie is also actively involved. “There’s a lot of work to do to get our kids not just interested in STEM, but to pursue degrees in these fields, and then pursue careers. We have to build a pipeline.”

For her sense of professionalism and her achievements in motivating others in STEM, she has received numerous honors, including being named recipient of the Black Engineer of the Year award in 2014 from the US Black Engineer & Information Technology magazine, the Council of Engineering Deans of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and Lockheed Martin Corporation.

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