Celebrate Black History Month with Our Employees

Celebrate Black History Month with Our Employees
February 01, 2023

We are committed to fostering an inclusive work environment that provides equal opportunities for all employees.

In 1961, Lockheed-Georgia was one of the first companies in the south to sign onto President Kennedy's Plan for Progress, an effort to create equal employment opportunities for all Americans. 

Today, we’re continuing to build on this legacy of diversity and inclusion.

Suzette Southward

Suzette has a mantra, “One team, one dream”.  It is the idea that we are part of something bigger than ourselves. It’s not about her, it’s about the company, our missions, and bringing other people along on their career journey.

Wherever her career has taken her, Suzette always ended up back at Lockheed Martin. In November, she celebrated her 20th year with the company. This month, Suzette is being recognized as a 2023 Black Engineer of the Year Award (BEYA) STEM Modern-Day Technology Leader. She has used her platform as a leader and her experiences with diversity and inclusion to help shape the careers of early career colleges and help them along on their path to success.

In 2015 Suzette identified that there were no Business Resource Groups (BRGs) in Huntsville. Her inspiration came by way of newsletters coming out from BRGs at other Lockheed Martin campuses. She and her co-worker Jamaica Jones went to an African American Leadership Forum (AALF) event in Marietta, GA, and then to another in Orlando, FL to see how we could replicate their programs. They spoke with Huntsville site leaders about the benefits of AALF and how it would improve employee retention, align with our missions, and provide professional development. With that AALF became the first BRG on the Huntsville campus, eventually becoming the African American Council for Excellence (AACE) and now the Black Excellence Council (BEC).

As Suzette progressed in her career, her focus became sharing her stories and trying to help shape the journey of early career employees.  Currentl,y she serves as the D&I Site Ambassador for Huntsville.

“I was chosen for this role because of the influence I have had on this campus in BRG engagement and as a previous representative on the Space Inclusion Council,” she said. “When I can, I take opportunities to support community outreach initiatives and champion the Lockheed Martin brand.”

Register for the BEYA Careers Fair.

Submit Your Resume.

Suzette Southward

Karissa Diggs

Karissa Diggs, a 2022 Science Spectrum Trailblazer Black Engineer of the Year Award (BEYA) recipient, was one of three women to earn an electrical engineering degree at Hampton University in 2013. Her father, Dr. Mark Vaughn, is an electrical engineer and he also won a BEYA award in 2007.

“Growing up with his support and being immersed in technical excellence through events like BEYA, felt incredible,” Karissa says. “It certainly wasn’t something I saw every day in my small hometown of Painted Post, New York.”

Diggs helps to lead one of Lockheed Martin’s avenues for students and early-career individuals to gain the experience and exposure they’ll need to prepare for future technical leadership roles.

Lockheed Martin is a proud co-host of BEYA’s annual conference. The BEYA STEM Community of over 10,000 strong serves K-12 students, college students, corporate, government, military professionals and STEM employers with three days of learning, networking, celebrating excellence, and showcasing career opportunities.

Register for the BEYA Careers Fair.

Submit Your Resume.

Chris Barr

Chris has had an extensive 16-year career at Lockheed Martin working in systems integration and testing and hardware engineering. As an engineering project manager, Chris leads teams of engineers from multiple disciplines to deliver new technologies and capabilities in our fixed-wing flight simulation training products to customers around the globe. He is a recipient of BEYA’s 2023 Modern Day Technology Award.

After graduating from Hampton University with a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering, Chris started his career in Syracuse, NY, where he was a system engineer on a submarine control system program. There he generated code for special use by the crew in detecting undersea targets with sonar data and received an award for technical efforts. Chris then continued expanding his knowledge of sonar and radar systems by completing assignments on multiple US Navy and Army programs. During this time, he completed his master’s degree in Systems Engineering from Cornell University.

Chris continues to be an active participant in many community involvement organizations. He is an active member of the Black Excellence Council employee resource group, at the Baltimore and Orlando facilities. He volunteered at many sponsored functions like the Black History Month bazaar, high school STEM sessions, and career mentoring. Outside the workplace, he held the President and Treasurer positions in the Baltimore Chapter of the Hampton University Alumni Association. He organized Christmas gift donations, food drives, and social activities for Hampton Alumni. He continues his support of the Alumni Association in Orlando by holding the position of Corresponding Secretary.

Register for the BEYA Careers Fair.

Submit Your Resume.

Chris Barr

Dr. Kingsley C. Fregene

Growing up on the banks of the Niger River in Africa, Fregene was inspired both by nature and robotics. Now he leads an engineering team that develops advanced robotics, autonomy and unmanned Systems technologies for missions in aerial, ground and maritime environments.

Recently, Fregene was elected a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), a prestigious national honor. Fregene was recognized for contributions to the autonomous control of unmanned vehicles. Growing up, he was interested in aerial control systems and credits paper airplanes and hummingbirds for piquing his curiosity. 

Dr. Fregene

“My paper aircraft needed to be folded nicely in place to fly,” Fregene says. “Hummingbirds are the exact opposite. Their flight patterns are elegant.”

This point fascinated Fregene, who began to see how nature was tied to engineering. Control practice is a form of engineering focused on human and automated interfacing. Fundamentally, it’s developing consistent feedback to keep something at a desired state. And it’s easy to miss because it’s happening all around us on various scales. Automatic control is seen in any system that reacts to a sensed change without a human operator, so consider climate control in a refrigerator or a car’s cruise control. Control theory can be applied to many different devices, processes and systems, but it all goes back to taking something seemingly complex and turning it into an automatic, self-operating system.

Search Electrical Engineering Jobs.

Levona Howell

When Levona Howell left the U.S. Air Force nine years ago, she knew Lockheed Martin was the company she wanted to work for as she transitioned back to civilian life in her home state of Alabama. Having had the opportunity to be trained by Lockheed Martin employees during her time working as an ammunition specialist in the military, she was excited to learn about Lockheed Martin Space’s  Advanced Manufacturing Technician Apprenticeship Program (AMTAP).

AMTAP develops electronics manufacturing technicians to ensure Lockheed Martin has enough skilled workers to support its major programs in Colorado, Alabama, and Pennsylvania. Levona has completed two AMTAP apprenticeship programs and is currently working as a technician, where she enjoys learning and earning a paycheck at the same time. Through the strong mentorship and training Levona received through AMTAP, she was encouraged and inspired to go back to school to pursue a degree in occupational health and safety at the University of North Alabama. The Lockheed Martin tuition assistance program helps offset the financial costs associated with pursuing her degree, and Levona plans to continue her career at Lockheed Martin in environmental health and safety once she completes her studies.

“If you’re looking for a place to start your career, Courtland, Alabama, is a growing site with many great opportunities”, Lenova said. AMTAP Alabama is proud to partner with local secondary and post-secondary education partners and the workforce boards as we work together to develop on-ramps to great careers for our community.

Search Apprenticeship Openings.


Kenyon Johnson 

Growing up in San Jose, CA., Kenyon Johnson was always inquisitive about how things worked and why they worked the way they did.  As he matriculated through school, he excelled in his math and science classes. Naturally, engineering was the perfect career choice for him. After graduating high school, Kenyon moved to Texas to attend college where he received Bachelor of Science Degrees in Electrical Engineering and Mathematics from Prairie View A&M University. His success in the classroom continued while in college, which led to him accepting a job offer at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics upon graduation. Within two months of starting his career as a Systems Engineer, Kenyon enrolled in Southern Methodist University’s Master of Systems Engineering program utilizing Lockheed Martin’s tuition assistance program.  Kenyon has worked various jobs within his career, spanning from Systems Design to Electronics to Project Management, and is a graduate of the Engineering Leadership Development Program. These assignments brought their unique challenges, excitement and enjoyment, however, Kenyon feels like he truly found his passion when he moved into Functional Leadership.  As a servant leader, he states,

“The technical work was great, but now it’s all about helping and growing others!”  

Being a leader at Lockheed Martin runs in the family, as Kenyon is a second-generation employee. His parents worked at what is now Lockheed Martin Space in Sunnyvale, CA.  His father was the former Program Director for the Fleet Ballistic Missile Program (FBM) as the first African American to run the program. Kenyon is a proud husband of 17 years to his wife Kenetria and father to his 11-year-old daughter Kendyl. Outside of work, he is a member of Abundant Life Community Church as the Men’s Ministry Leader, Epsilon Gamma Iota, Inc. social and service organization, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., a Freemason and Shriner.  In his spare time, he enjoys doing community service, spending time with family and friends, watching movies and target shooting.

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Vocational Scholarship Recipient, Charles Dunn

Charles Dunn is one of the newest engineering aides at Lockheed Martin. Through the Lockheed Martin Vocational Scholarship Program, he learned about employment opportunities and landed his dream job while working to finish his associate degree in May 2022.

“Since I was a child, I have been fascinated with machinery, how it works, how it’s assembled and designed,” Charles says. “My initial dream was to become a mechanical engineer, but now I am pursuing engineering technology so I can be more hands-on.”

While pursuing an associate degree in advanced manufacturing technology from Calhoun Community College in Alabama, the COVID-19 pandemic took away Charles’ primary source of income. He struggled financially like millions of Americans have over the past two years.

Charles Dunn

“The Vocational Scholarship paid for my final two semesters. It helped me afford all of the necessary books and equipment, and also provided me a cushion to help with living and transportation expenses.”

While Lockheed Martin is known for unmatched technical expertise, we also offer multiple pathways to becoming a skilled engineer.

“As an engineering aide, I am getting exposure to what engineering is like in the real world. I’m beginning my career ahead of the game!”

Apply for STEM Scholarship.

Apply for Vocational Scholarship.

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