Rafael is a staff project manager with Northrop Grumman. He enlisted in the Marine Corps in November 1998 as an aviation operations specialist and retired in November 2019 as a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear defense officer. He deployed several times in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and multiple Marine Expeditionary Unit deployments. During his time in service, he graduated from Park University with a bachelor of science in Business Administration with a concentration in Logistics. After 21 years of service in the military, he transitioned from active duty and joined Northrop Grumman.
How long have you been with Northrop Grumman? How did you hear about us?
I joined Northrop Grumman through the SkillBridge program in September 2019 and was hired as a full-time employee in January 2020. I learned about Northrop Grumman throughout my military career and was always interested in joining a team that would allow me to continue to support our warfighters after my retirement from active service. I learned that Northrop Grumman participated in the Department of Defense SkillBridge program through various retirement seminars and decided to look deeper into the organization and the program.
What is your military background? How did your military background set you up for the role you are in now?
Throughout my military career, I worked in the Operations Departments of various platforms including C-130s, harriers, MV-22s, cobras, hueys, tanks, LAVs, and infantry battalions. Each unit presented its own unique operational challenges, which taught me how to achieve success in the management of projects with multiple objectives, intricate estimating requirements, and complex schedule developments. The critical thinking skills developed through these challenges helped set me up for my current role at Northrop Grumman as a project manager.
What was your experience transitioning into Northrop Grumman as a veteran?
My experience transitioning into Northrop Grumman was amazing. I landed with a great team that brought me on and immediately integrated me into managing projects. The support structure and network for veterans at the company is amazing, and the organization as a whole is extremely supportive.
What do you hope to gain from your new role?
In my role, I am able to support the fleet of Global Hawks in service, which provide support to our troops on the ground. I also hope to support the service members that are preparing to transition out of service and into the private sector. There are many people that helped me in my journey and I try to pay it forward as often as I can.
What advice would you give to other veterans interested in a career in Northrop Grumman?
Don’t hesitate – Northrop Grumman actively recruits military talent. The company is very veteran-friendly and I would recommend for anyone to expand on their current capabilities by attending courses that can better align you for a role you are interested in. Military service members bring a sense of mission accomplishment, dedication and drive, but there are gaps that you can actively work to close by researching roles and pursuing training opportunities that can help one become more competitive for the role.
I also encourage veterans to participate in Operation IMPACT. The program is designed to help transitioning service members make a soft landing into the private sector and helped make my transition a lot easier by helping me through the requisition process and assisting me with accommodations that helped meet my specific needs. Through the program, the company nurse and work place accommodation department worked to identify areas where they can assist me with my service related injuries. The fact that the genuine desire of the company is to ensure that service members are set up for success is very impressive and evident through Operation IMPACT.
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