Veteran Spotlight: Meet U.S. Army Veteran Neilson

U.S. Army veteran Neilson is a Principal Supply Chain Specialist at Northrop Grumman. He has six years of experience in supply chain and logistics, and eight years in the military. In 2015, Neilson graduated with a degree in international relations and organizational management from the University of Southern California.

soldier in uniform holding diploma

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

I’ve been with Northrop Grumman since 2018 and was always aware of the company from their work with aerial vehicles. Furthermore, I had a colleague in the Army who worked at Northrop Grumman and recommended the organization based on my background and clearance. From there, I decided to apply for a role within the company and I was hired – and I’ve been happy to be here ever since.

What is your military background? How did you military background set you up for the role you are in now? What was your experience transitioning into Northrop Grumman as a veteran?

I’ve been in the Army for eight years since 2013 – through the Army ROTC program and as an officer since 2015. I commissioned into the Quartermaster Corps under the Logistics Branch of the Army and worked across various roles. These include supervising the distribution of logistics packages (LOGPACs), as well as facilitating coordination with railyards, transportation companies and units to move military vehicles and assets across the country. I also have experience serving as a leading operations manager or acting commander of a water distribution company.

With my experience, it was a relatively smooth transition into the global supply chain field. While in the Army, we used similar programs and interfaces that I work with in my current role. While the transactions may not be exactly the same, it’s a familiar interface, which helped make it a relatively smooth experience learning the new processes, skills and jargon needed to be successful at my job.

What do you hope to gain from your new role?

I had strong tunnel vision working mainly with the military to begin with, so I did not fully comprehend how goods and supplies moved across different organizations and companies – I worked exclusively through military channels who in turn had their own channels to coordinate movement and logistical support through civilian contractors. In my current role, I hope to acquire a greater understanding of working with other people from different backgrounds and organizations, all with different processes.

Additionally, I hope to continue to improve my communication and soft skills. In the military, we’re from a very rigid hierarchy that is top down and our language can be very direct and abrasive at times. I hope to learn the best means of communication and how to develop mutual trust between my teammates and our partners.

What advice would you give to other veterans interested in a career in Northrop Grumman?

Having and maintaining a clearance definitely helped put my foot in the door, and it can help give a slight advantage in the beast that is recruiting. Networking is also very important; if you know people who work in this organization, I recommend cultivating that relationship and rapport. Eventually, the hope is they may know someone who is hiring within the company or you may even connect with someone who can serve as a mentor and help guide you on a successful career path.  

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