November 20, 2020
Nearly 1/3 of Sierra Nevada Corporation’s (SNC) employees are veterans. They work at locations across the country, and hold positions as engineers, program managers, vice presidents, field service technicians and beyond. Deb K., Sr. Director of Special Programs for SNC's Electronic & Information Systems business area, served our country first in the Army, and moved to SNC 11 years ago after working at one of SNC’s biggest military Customers.
Please share your military experience.
I went through Army ROTC, successfully completed Airborne School at Fort Benning, Georgia, as a cadet, and got commissioned as an Army Military Intelligence (All Source Intelligence) Officer, working tactical intelligence assignments. After completing my Captain’s Career Course (where I specialized as an Electronic Warfare Intel Officer), and Combined Arms and Services Staff School (CAS3), I started working national/strategic intelligence assignments. I was [later] competitively selected as the youngest ever Mission Director for the Aerospace Data Facility at Buckley AFB, Colorado. Very unexpectedly, I ended up getting medically retired after almost seven years’ service.
What drew you to work at SNC?
I was working as a Program Manager at the [USAF] when, due to some organizational restructuring, I had an opportunity to become a Program Manager with SNC. They had a renowned reputation of taking care of their people and focusing on the mission and Customers. I decided to take the chance and move over.
What is your job at SNC – and why do you find it fulfilling?
I am the Senior Director of Special Programs, and my team (generally) consists of an engineering side and a field service representative (FSR) side. [I enjoy] being able to make a difference—with my team, with my Customers, and with our mission. We focus on being the “go-to partner” with our Customers and supporting each other, and this [is obvious] in our day-to-day actions.
Your team is clearly very important to you, here’s a chance to sing their praises.
My engineering team is second to none. Their innovative ideas, problem solving skills, and tenacity are consistently evident in their quick reaction capability (QRC) solutions and systems designs. These systems and capabilities are consistently followed by Customer accolades.
My field service team is the most amazingly selfless, mission-focused, agile group; our Customers constantly rave about them going above and beyond to do whatever it takes to keep the missions going, despite the despicable work conditions.
Together, we make a “family” which supports the full life-cycle for our Customers: Initial design concepts, research and development, initial production, production, deployed OCONUS (outside the continental United States) field system support and maintenance, repairs, modifications, and upgrades.
Receiving Customer compliments for my engineering and field service teams’ outstanding performance and knowing the difference we are making in the world tells me we are doing something right—and that is definitely fulfilling for me.
30% of people at SNC are veterans. Is this something you notice - or appreciate?
Absolutely! There is an almost unspoken level of responsibility, respect and discipline that sets most veterans apart from others who haven’t served. The strong work ethic, dedication to doing the job right and putting mission above “self” are very evident with these personnel. This is definitely noticeable within my field service team, and it is one of the desirable attributes which make these folks a perfect fit for these challenges.
What makes SNC a meaningful place to work?
It really means a lot to me to have a supportive “chain of command” who provides my team and me the trust, backing, and latitude to make decisions, and run our programs effectively. None of the successes and opportunities within my team would be possible if not for my leadership chain affording me autonomy and trust. To me—and my Customers, this is very meaningful and much appreciated.
Interested in joining the Sierra Nevada Corporation team? Apply today at sncorp.com/careers.