Meet Nick: Diversity and Inclusion Advocate

Native American male standing next to memorial

Nick is a quality analyst for the F/A-18 Program at Northrop Grumman’s New Town, North Dakota site. Diversity and inclusion are a large part of who he is. As a Native American and part of three Affiliated Tribes in town (Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara), tradition and sharing of his culture is important to him. Nick grew up on the Ft. Berthold Indian Reservation, where his Great-Grandfather was Chief, and currently resides in Minot, North Dakota. Though no longer residing on an Indian Reservation, he and his family continue to participate in Native American customs and traditions and actively practice the Hidatsa language.

How long have you been with Northrop Grumman? How did you hear about us?

I joined the company in 2011 as a cable harness technician with the site’s training program and was encouraged to apply by my uncle who use to work at the site for the F/A-18 program. Before Northrop Grumman, I always assumed the New Town site only built planes. It was only when I toured the facility that I really learned the site assembles cable harnesses and that is what peaked my interest to join the company.

Tell us a little bit about the New Town site. What drew you to it?

New Town is my home and where I grew up. After deciding to take a break from studying English at Minot State University and questioning my career path, I returned to New Town. This was during the oil boom, but I knew I did not want to do that line of work. Soon after, my uncle recommended I apply for Northrop Grumman. From there, I joined the training program and toured assembly lines. I really liked the energy in the assembly room and the energy of the overall work environment. I could tell right away each employee was working towards the same goal – and I wanted to join in on this goal. Additionally, the fact that Northrop Grumman offers flexible schedules and consistent work hours compared to local oil companies, that helped to seal the deal!

What was your experience transitioning into Northrop Grumman?

It did not take long for me to realize I really liked the detailed and meticulous work of assembling cable harnesses. From the hands-on, direct training, I felt the line of work matched my personality exactly since I can be very detailed oriented – it truly felt like a perfect fit.

What do you hope to gain from your role?

After being part of the assembly team for over seven years, I was offered an opportunity to join the quality team in New Town. It was perfect timing since I was just about ready for a new assignment! With my new role in quality, I faced many new challenges and got the opportunity to learn more about the inner workings of the business.

With this opportunity, I was able to network and speak with teams at other sites. I was able to see more of what we do as a company and meet team members who are also working toward the same goal.

Eventually, I hope to return to school and obtain a STEM degree to become a quality engineer in the future.

In what way has Northrop Grumman support diversity and inclusion for you?

The company has allowed me to see beyond my Native American culture. I’ve not only been able to share my culture and traditions, but I’ve also been able to connect with coworkers of diverse backgrounds. Before my employment here, I always thought about “us” and “them” rather than “we,” however meeting coworkers with diverse backgrounds has been very profound and beneficial for all parties involved. It’s true that no two people in New Town share the same story.

Northrop Grumman has exposed me to other cultures outside of my own. Pre-pandemic, the New Town site held heritage lunches with its entire staff where everyone would bring a cultural dish to share. I really hope we return to having these lunches once the pandemic ends.

What advice would you give to other potential candidates interested in a career at Northrop Grumman?

I would advise other potential candidates to volunteer as much as they can and learn as much as they can. I also suggests all potential candidates prepare themselves to take ownership and pride in their work and to be a team player.

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