Meet Rich, an Aeronautics Systems Program Director

white man with white hat

Employees in the United States remain with their employer for an average of four years before finding a new job, according to a 2020 Bureau of Labor Statistics report. Aeronautics Systems Program Director Rich said Northrop Grumman has exceeded his expectations as an employer, which is why he’s been with the company for more than 41 years. He attributes his tenure and success with the company to his love for airplanes, professional development opportunities and his strong gratitude for service members.

“When you go out and meet combatant commanders, you appreciate what they need to accomplish their mission,” said Rich. “You really see what our work means for the country in terms of ensuring we have the best capabilities in the world to keep our country safe.”

A bright-eyed Embry Riddle Aeronautical University student in the late ’70s, Rich started working at Northrop Grumman as an intern. After graduating from school, he accepted a full-time role working as an aeronautical engineer. His career would see many transformations over the years with Rich holding 18 titles, including flight controls engineer, an opportunity to represent Northrop Grumman in Washington, D.C. as an American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Congressional fellow, and Joint STARS program manager.

The fellowship offered Rich a rare opportunity to work with the U.S. Senate’s Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation with senators like Larry Pressler and the late John McCain. In this role, he supported the Aviation Subcommittee with commercial aviation safety and airport security, reviewed presidential budget recommendation requests, supported committee hearings and drafted legislation.

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“There is plenty of opportunity at Northrop Grumman,” said Rich. “If someone asks you to take on new responsibilities, be willing to take them on. Every new set of responsibilities is a learning opportunity.”

While climbing through the ranks, Rich made use of Northrop Grumman’s master’s fellowship program and completed a Master in Aeronautics & Astronautics. Between his dynamic areas of responsibility and ability to continue his education, Rich said he always felt engaged and compelled to do more.

When Rich isn’t busy working on his craft or education, he is out serving the community, volunteering with his church and other nonprofits, such as The Boys & Girls Club and Habitat for Humanity. In his late 20’s he even picked up shifts as a volunteer fire fighter living in Long Island, New York.

“Our club members love Mr. Rich,” said Erin C. Harvey, development officer with the Boys & Girls Club of Central Florida. “Rich helps us build confidence and curiosity in the young people we serve. He shows up every week, providing a consistent positive adult relationship with our most vulnerable children. This shows the children that there are people in the community that care about them.”

Rich uses his experience working in science, technology, engineering and math at Northrop Grumman to mentor and teach children about 3D printing, coding and science. Even through the pandemic, he created do-it-yourself experiment videos using common household items so the children could continue learning despite nationwide shutdowns.

“You can really make a difference,” said Rich. “Getting the kids outside, working together to create things is really rewarding. Seeing that spark, that enthusiasm reminds you that you’re passing something on to the next generation.” 

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Over the last several years, Rich has donated a great deal of his personal time in support of Habitat for Humanity of Brevard, a nonprofit focused on providing affordable housing solutions and repairs throughout the Melbourne area. In addition to volunteering with construction projects, Rich currently serves as a board member. Since 2016, he has been involved in 32 new home construction projects for those in need, which house more than 100 residents.

“We are thankful for Rich and his loving wife Janey, and all that they do for us here at Habitat for Humanity Brevard County,” said Marcus Ingeldsen, Habitat Board of Directors Chairman. “He is passionate about helping families in our community obtain homeownership, which is key to breaking cycles of poverty.”

For Rich, it’s all about giving back and helping others. That’s why he is determined to energize more volunteerism around campus, directing new Northrop Grumman employees to find volunteer opportunities through one of the many Employee Resource Groups available. 

“Rich has an incredible 41 years with the company,” said Henry Cyr, Aerospace Systems program director with Northrop Grumman. “What is even more impressive is how he has worked to create a strong community both in and out of the workplace. His sense of service and caring nature are evident in how he mentors those around him.”

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