ClearanceJobs recently sat down with Kenneth “Kenny” Robinson, who is vice president of the Engineering and Sciences, Maritime/Land Systems & Sensor (M/LSS) and Field Engineering for Northrop Grumman’s Mission Systems Sector. He leads an organization of engineers, managers, directors and contract labor personnel.
Robinson joined Northrop Grumman in 2007 following a distinguished career with the U. S. Air Force. Prior to his departure from the Air Force, he spent ten years at the Space & Missile Systems Center (SMC), Los Angeles Air Force Base where he held various leadership positions in MILSATCOM, Space Superiority and culminating as the Commander, Global Positioning System Control Segment Group. Robinson shared with us a bit of an overview of Northrop Grumman from his point of view of where he is today and how the company has changed over the years that he has been there.
What’s in a Name?
Whether someone is inside or outside the defense industry, the Northrop Grumman name is widely recognized. We chatted with Robinson about any misconceptions about the organization. Robinson explained the distinct mission focus that permeates throughout the entire organization, as well as a family style culture – despite the size. Northrop Grumman understands that people are the drivers behind success, so there’s a focus in meeting the mission through the people working it.
Robinson credits the diversity of people as a driver for growing the impact of the organization. And Northrop Grumman didn’t just happen to find a diverse corporate culture – they work hard to create it. In a time of unrest and challenges, the organization has fought to understand the variety of feelings that drive the people that support the success of the organization.
This approach is especially important when addressing COVID-19 and how to meet the different needs and challenges faced in different communities across the country. Robinson credited Northrop Grumman’s local leadership approach as a key way of responding to the different demands faced in each area – whether it’s schooling decisions or return to work restrictions, local leadership helps to shape the response of the local people, which enables a large organization remain agile and respond appropriately across the country.
Draw to Northrop Grumman After the Air Force
While still in the Air Force, Robinson credits his interest in Northrop Grumman to recognizing their employees’ mission focus, as well as the organization’s integrity and ethics, something that Robinson describes as underlying everything completed at Northrop Grumman. Robinson explains that Northrop Grumman’s focus on integrity and ethics is not just in the diversity that they emphasize, but also in the inclusion of people in the workplace. He says, “So diversity is inviting a diverse group of folks to the table, but the inclusion part really speaks to how you listen to the people once they’re at the table and as a career military officer, I want to join a place where I felt that I can fit in make a difference…”
Of course, Northrop Grumman also has unique missions that employees get to play a part in saving lives every day. Robinson explained, “My son is a 2011 graduate from the United States Air Force Academy. He’s a combat pilot in the Air Force, and he’s been deployed to the Middle East several times…we built a system called the counter rocket artillery mortar system…[which is] something that could directly save my son’s life because he’s actually experienced incoming rocket attacks while he’s been deployed.”
Whether it’s submarines, cybersecurity, or developing stealthy aircraft, Northrop Grumman is at the front, making an impact, and it’s the diverse employees behind it all, moving the mission forward.
“I’m just really enamored with the work we’re doing for cybersecurity to make sure the nation is in position to fight a war that may extend to the cyber domain and that’s something we do every day to make sure that things that people take for granted can be taken for granted because we’re defending for not just United States but also for our allies combat communication systems that make sure that we can communicate clearly and concisely,” said Robinson.
GETTING HIRED AT NORTHROP GRUMMAN
Northrop Grumman solves the toughest problems in space, aeronautics, defense and cyberspace to meet the ever-evolving needs of our customers worldwide. Our 90,000 employees define possible every day using science, technology and engineering to create and deliver advanced systems, products and services.