The Maestro

Stephen Guine smiles while looking directly at viewer.

By Jillian Wright

Not everyone working in defense describes their role like that of an orchestra director. But for Systems Engineer Stephen Guine, it’s an accurate comparison.

“My job is like working with people playing different instruments; I get everyone to play on tune, in time. Then the cacophony becomes the symphony,” Stephen said.

In Northridge, California, Stephen is the Stand-in Attack Weapon (SiAW) program’s digital engineering integrated product team lead. SiAW is an air-to-ground weapon that Northrop Grumman is developing for the U.S. Air Force and builds on the capabilities we provide with our high-speed Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile Extended Range (AARGM-ER), which is in production. The AARGM-ER program is just one example of how digital development helps Northrop Grumman meet customer needs.

“As we move into this digital world, my focus is changing the culture of how we work in a digital environment. By changing how we work, we can work faster, smarter, better,”  said Stephen, whose role is to identify what digital tools will help the program succeed and how teams can best use those tools.

A Meaningful Mission

Since childhood, service was integral to Stephen’s life. In Carson, California, he was his local Boy Scout troop’s senior patrol leader and his high school ROTC unit’s commander. At 17, he enrolled in a special program that allowed him to join the U.S. Marine Corps and attend college after completing basic training. 

“I wanted to serve and wondered if I truly had what it took to overcome life’s obstacles,” he said. “I wanted to dig deeper and test myself to find out.” 

Following his six years in the military, Stephen transitioned to civilian life and was working as a public utilities systems engineer when a Northrop Grumman systems engineering manager invited Stephen to tour the company’s Carson facility in 2004. Meeting employees on site, Stephen wondered if this could be the place for him. Then he noticed an M109 Paladin, a self-propelled artillery system he’d used in the military. 

“I realized I could have a part in building systems used by the warfighter, leveraging my knowledge to help field better systems,” he said. “That convinced me.” 

A Fulfilling Life

As he approaches his 20-year work anniversary, Stephen said what he’s built at the company is “hard to beat.” With company support, he earned his Master of Business Administration and multiple digital and systems engineering certifications. He’s also built broader technical relationships outside of his teams.

“Our culture fosters connections; people share ideas and refer you to their colleagues for specific expertise,” he said. 

Outside of work, Stephen provides business and technology strategy pro-bono to healthcare nonprofits focused on women and children. This advocacy is important to him, as his mother was a social worker for 43 years, helping mothers learn how to help their children grow and succeed.

“When I’d accompany my mother to community outreach events, her colleagues were super invested in my life — how school was going, what I pictured doing for my career,” he said. “I get emotional remembering because they could’ve done anything on a Saturday, but they were there focusing on kids in the community, including me, and ensuring parents had access to information and resources so their children could take advantage of every opportunity. I knew that when the time came, I had to pay that back.” 

Like a maestro, Stephen creates harmony at work by bringing various groups together and in his personal life, using his professional skillset to help his community thrive.  

“I’m learning these great skills at Northrop Grumman to help us meet our critical missions,” Stephen said. “Outside of work, I can take those skills and help these important groups with limited resources — the community that helped create me.”


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