From Active Duty Air Force to Northrop Grumman Program Manager

Following a lengthy career in the United States Air Force, Tim knew it was time to make a career change that would allow him the stability he knew his family needed with young children at home. After a quick stint at a consulting firm, Tim made his way to Northrop Grumman and has never looked back.

Caucasian male in uniform inside cockpit

How’d you find out about Northrop Grumman?

I was an active duty officer in the Air Force for about 12 years and flew planes for the majority of my career. Being gone a lot was getting hard on my family since I had young kids at home and I knew I needed to make a change that allowed me to have more work-life balance. I left the Air Force and transitioned to a consultant role for two years. That too was hard on my family and I knew Northrop Grumman was in the Chicago metro area and was a “crown jewel” of what I wanted, but was too afraid to apply online. I owe my job to my 11-year old son, because his friend in school has a dad who works here and was willing to put in a referral for me.   

How has it been continuing your transition into a civilian career?

My first day on the job, I met a half dozen vets, which sent a positive message. I joined the company as an engineering manager, which was daunting, because I have an 8.5 x 11” piece of paper that says I’m an engineer, but I’m not. I was in the Air Force working as a fighter pilot and I can’t find that job in the civilian world.

A lot of veterans struggle, myself included, and it’s like Northrop Grumman built a bridge for me to cross from military to civilian life and meet other veterans. A bridge that says, “Walk, I got you, and I’ll meet you on the other side.”

What other kind of support have you received?

I had the privilege of starting as an engineering manager and am now a program manager for LITENING. It took time for me to adjust from focusing on tech to understanding the broader periphery, but thankfully I had and have people around me to help.

It’s really hard to describe the awesomeness. We don’t have people come here daily waiting for the whistle or looking at their watch. Everyone does what it takes and knows on the far end of what we’re doing here, there’s someone in uniform who will use what we’re working on.

What would you tell someone who hasn’t considered Northrop Grumman for a career?

Everyone has a role to play at Northrop Grumman. We can’t get hardware out the door without engineers, logisticians, finance, test leads, all types of program people. It literally takes a village and if someone thinks their job doesn’t matter, it matters.

Northrop Grumman employees are Defining Possible every day.  Click to see our Veteran opportunities and apply today.

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