Jason is a Staff Quality Engineer with Northrop Grumman. Growing up, his father managed a crop duster outfit in a small South Louisiana farm town, which sparked his interests in aircrafts.
Soon after high school graduation, Jason enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He completed technical school in Tennessee and flight crew training in Florida, where he successfully obtained one of the only enlisted job billets that held permanent flight crew status as an Antisubmarine Warfare Operator. He was then sent to meet his already deployed squadron, Patrol Squadron Fifty-Six in Keflavik, Iceland in 1978. Jason then made five deployments with VP-56 from 1978 to 1982, eventually becoming a senior level acoustic operator on the squadron Commanding Officers special mission crew, known as a “BearTrap” aircraft, having special acoustic collection capabilities against enemy submarines.
He completed his Navy career with three additional year as an aircrew instructor at Naval Air Station Jacksonville in VP-30 teaching new aircrew antisubmarine operators out of school prior to being assigned into active squadrons. After transitioning from active duty in 1985, Jason entered the defense industry for the first time in Southern California as a Flight Line Inspector with Rockwell International on the B-1 Bomber Test Team; first in Palmdale and later at Edwards Air Force Base. After numerous years of defense work in Southern California, this led to his eventual employment with Northrop Grumman in 1989 at the Ventura Division.
How long have you been with Northrop Grumman? How did you hear about us?
I’ve been with the company for over 30 years, going on 31 this year.
Prior to joining Northrop Grumman, I had already been out of the military for a number of years and had experience working in the defense industry. At the time, I was currently out of a job, as my last position was lost due to a union strike, and coincidentally, my next-door neighbor was an employee with Northrop Grumman. I ended up going over one day to help him on a project and he mentioned a quality engineer position may become available and that Northrop Grumman may be a good fit for me. That’s how it all started; he was able to get my resume looked at and I got an interview with the hiring department manager. The hiring manager was almost apologetic as he indicated he was impressed by my military background, but could only provide me with a temporary six-month job. In those days, I had a young family with two young baby girls and needed a job, so six months of work paid our bills. It has since been the longest “six-month job” I have ever had. Over 30 years later, I am thrilled to still be going strong with Northrop Grumman.
What is your military background? How did your military background set you up for the role you are in now?
Honestly, when I enlisted in the Navy, I wanted to become an aircraft engine mechanic. My test scores were high and they had this undermanned, critical skill for the enlisted to hunt submarines using underwater acoustics and sold it to me as the only enlisted job that was a permanent flying billet. I was all in! What wasn’t explained to me was that it required sending me back to school…We had to get what was equivalent to an oceanography degree to learn everything there was to know about the science of sound travel underwater. Instead, I went down the path of the rating known as an AW in the US Navy, an antisubmarine warfare operator. I learned everything there was to know about sound travel underwater, as well as how to detect and track submarines in the North Atlantic and the ocean waters around the world. Those skills have taught me to become extremely detailed and disciplined in almost every aspect of what I do in my job today, not just as a Quality Engineer, but my many years as a Front Line and Middle Manager, as well as in my everyday life.
What was your experience transitioning into Northrop Grumman as a veteran?
When I joined the company, we were still the original Northrop Corporation. I was lucky, in the sense that at the time, we were a very small company and I had other military veterans who helped mentor me when I started to ensure my success. The veterans of today are very blessed to have the support of the departments and programs the company has, especially veteran volunteers who are ready to provide assistance when required to do the same thing in a much broader role.
What do you hope to gain from your new role?
I am nearing retirement, so for me, it is to give back by mentoring any individual that I can. I volunteer in veteran programs across the enterprise to assist with new employees coming into the company in our local area. I could not have asked for a better place to have raised a family, developed lifelong friends and spent my career.
What advice would you give to other veterans interested in a career in Northrop Grumman?
Look on the company website to find veteran resources and connect to a Northrop Grumman veteran volunteer. They can get you connected to someone at a local site that you are interested in and help jump start your networking. Once that begins, that’s where your employment world starts to unfold.
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