By Jillian Wright
A teacher once told Northrop Grumman aircraft inspector Shane, “Treat others with respect and do the best with what you have.” That advice has sustained him through the journeys of his life.
Born and raised in La Brea, Trinidad, Shane spent most of his childhood playing football (American soccer) and cricket with his friends, living with his grandmother while his mother worked here in the United States. After graduating high school, he moved to the U.S. in 1998 to live with his mom and sister in East Orange, New Jersey. Immersed in a vastly different environment and culture, he struggled with a sense of belonging and some culture shock — beyond the name of his favorite sport.
The Journey Begins
He found a sense of belonging in the U.S. Navy, joining in 1999 and embarking on a 20-year career. The skills he learned there ultimately helped him find his career at Northrop Grumman.
“Back then, the U.S. Navy’s tagline was ‘Let the Journey Begin.’ As a 19-year-old kid, I saw these TV commercials every so often, and that influenced me to start my own journey,” he said.
Shane served in multiple roles during his time in the Navy, including seaman, aviation machinist mate, quality assurance supervisor and maintenance master chief petty officer. In 2004, he married his wife, Makiba, who grew up with him in Trinidad and later moved to the U.S. while Shane was stationed in Washington.
“Although I’m not in the military anymore, I’m still making a difference. I take pride in providing military servicemembers outstanding products that allow them to continue performing their mission.”
— Shane, Aircraft Inspector
The best part of his military career, Shane said, was living in Sicily from 2011 to 2014.
“The beautiful island, food and easy access to the rest of Europe made it the perfect place to live,” he said. “And my son, Sabali, was born in 2012 while I was stationed there.”
When Shane retired from the Navy in 2019, he wanted to remain in the aviation field. That’s why he later joined Northrop Grumman as an aircraft inspector for the E-2 Hawkeye and C-2 Greyhound aircraft. His quality assurance role is critical, ensuring any modifications made on the aircraft wing center sections are correct and safe.
“My job is to inspect the work to make sure it’s done correctly in accordance with the engineering intent,” he said. “My goal is to deliver aircraft back to the customer that are safe to fly as soon as possible with zero discrepancies.”
Continuing To Serve
For Shane, the coolest part of his job is the opportunity to support the military community.
“Although I’m not in the military anymore, I’m still making a difference,” he said. “I take pride in providing military servicemembers outstanding products that allow them to continue performing their mission.”
And when Shane’s not at work, he’s typically at home focusing on what’s most important: family and football.
“Even though I don’t play anymore, I still enjoy watching football — soccer, as it’s called in America — and I get a kick out of spending time with my son,” he said. “Whatever he wants to do, I’m doing. My main goal in life is to be there for my family and to enjoy time with them.”
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