By Jillian Wright
For Dennis, a program director at Northrop Grumman, supporting the warfighter is part of his DNA.
As a self-proclaimed “Army brat,” he grew up in Southeast Virginia between Langley Air Force Base and Fort Eustis, an Army base. His desire to serve emerged at an early age when he visited the Langley Base for the first time as a child.
“The technology, the aircraft, the look and feel of the base and the Air Force culture hooked me,” he says. “The first time I saw an F-15 take off, I knew I wanted to be part of this organization.”
During the summer of 1985, when he was 18, Dennis moved to Colorado Springs to attend the Air Force Academy. This led to a 25-year career as an aircraft maintenance officer. He also held various leadership roles at the Office of the Secretary of Defense as well as the Logistics Officer Association (LOA), including serving as LOA president for two years.
“To take the flag and serve as LOA National Board President was an extremely high honor,” he says. “It was almost a culmination of all the rapport I had built with the Air Force and industry leadership and fellow logistics and maintenance officers.”
His leadership experience at LOA, a professional development nonprofit, combined with his years of networking led him to Northrop Grumman. In 2014 the company sponsored a LOA veteran transition webinar, which Dennis hosted as LOA Chief Learning Officer.
“What really sealed it for me was that transition seminar,” he says. “A couple of the panel members were former military colleagues and their accounts of how the company welcomed veterans really resonated with me. After that discussion panel, I was sure I wanted to be part of Northrop Grumman.”
In his current role, where he is based in Fort Worth, Texas, Dennis works to ensure that the F-35 aircraft are available and capable for the warfighter. Since 2018, his team has supported the Department of the Navy, the Air Force and international partners to overhaul, upgrade and improve aircraft sustainment and maintenance efficiencies.
“We make sure the aircraft has the most current configuration and capabilities so it can perform its mission wherever it’s called,” he says. “I’m hard-wired to the warfighter, so I appreciate the opportunity every day to oversee our operations that support the men and women who fly and fix aircraft.”
While this is his personal passion, Dennis also finds fulfillment through mentorship and development at Northrop Grumman.
“I spend a lot of time with my team making sure they’re ready for that next opportunity,” he says. “I enjoy leaving a legacy of strong leaders whom I can help develop so they can be the best they can be.”
Dennis also finds purpose through volunteerism and supports many organizations including the Air Force Academy Association of Graduates, participating in community outreach to help underserved populations in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. And while service in and outside of work is an integral part of his life, he also makes time for outdoor hobbies such as cycling, kayaking, fishing and hiking with his family.
For veterans interested in exploring what’s possible at Northrop Grumman, Dennis recommends networking with current employees who previously served in the military to understand the culture and help find a fit based on career interests and mindsets.
“What worked for me has been maintaining connections, linking up with other veterans further ahead in the company and understanding what they had to overcome,” he says. “Talking to folks here is the key to success, so find the mentors who can show you the way.”
*Dennis served as program director prior to publishing. Currently, he serves as operations director in Lake Charles.
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