Q&A with Logistics Program Manager – Defense

Name: Michael Pietrusiewicz

Job Title: Logistics Program Manager

Career Field: Logistics

Industry: Defense

Company: Northrup Grumman Corporation

Military Branch: US Navy


Military Occupation: Communication/Radar Electronic Technician

How did your military background help your career so far? 

The 2 years of electronic training qualified me to work as a technician on the production floor.  Basic electronic training with 4 years of practical hands on experience was exactly what Northrup Grumman was looking for. 

Did it make anything more difficult? 

Without a 4 year degree (preferably Eng. degree) you are pretty much stuck at this same position.  I found it was an excellent way to get your foot in the door, however I needed to go back to school to be eligible for other positions.  After 4-5 years I was ready for something new and luckily I completed my degree at that time.

What advice or steps would you recommend for veterans preparing to enter your career field?

If you enjoy working on technology and supporting our military I would suggest getting an Engineering or computer Science degree.  I have found that most program management have a STEM degree and it is highly desirable if you want to compete at a high level within the organization.

What do you enjoy the most about your career field

I enjoy supporting the warfighter and knowing that what we are building makes a difference in the world.

What do you like least about your career field

I do not enjoy the red tape from new contract awards and also the long lead times on development.  By the time we get new technology integrated and fielded it is most times already obsolete.

What skills, abilities, and personal attributes are essential to success in this career field

Most positions in the company you need to have some level of technical understanding.  Most successful people have master’s degrees or PHDs.  Very important to be professional, well organized, great communicator, and also personable.  You have to interface with many different types of people throughout the day and it really helps if you are out going and willing to take the extra step to get to know people.  Very important to balance education with experience while developing relationships.

Is there something you wish you’d known or a skill you wish you’d had starting out in this career field

Really wish I got an Eng. degree from a really good school directly out of the military.  The bigger more prestigious schools give you access to not only better career opportunities but better networking and exposure to higher levels of business/technology.

How do most people get into this career field?  What are common entry-level jobs? 

If you are getting an engineering degree there are multiple entry level internships and rotational programs.  They can get fairly competitive so keeping your GPA up is very important.

How did you find and apply for this job role (career fair, networking contact, online application, etc.)? 

I applied online and also called into the HR center to schedule an interview.  We do visit colleges and also have career fairs.

What made you stand out as a candidate for this job role

First and foremost my communication skills and my technical background are a big help.  Your education and experience will get you an interview, however your communication and persona will get you the job.  You have to remember that you will be working with your interviewer almost every day, so having the skills and education is part of it, getting them to like you is another.

What kind of education, training or experiences does your job role require?  Experience with military electronics and all the nuances of integrating hardware onto military aircraft.  If you want to work in the Engineering department you will need an Engineering degree from an accredited school.  Computer Science degree are also in high demand.

What are the major components of your job role on a daily basis? 

Effective communication attention to detail, customer relations are what most program management positions entail on the day to day.  Understanding critical challenges and being able to effectively communicate those challenges to the larger audience is very important.  The better the communication and organization the faster and more detailed a resolution can be implemented.

What do you like about your industry

Love that the products we make impact the warfighter on a daily basis and are instrumental in being successful in overseas conflicts.

How do you see your industry changing in the next 10 years? 

The industry continues to evolve as the threats around the globe evolve.  The big changes recently are being able to quickly and reliably implement new technology to outpace the enemy.  I don’t see this changing over the next 10 years.  Lots of contract awards and lots of new technological advancements.

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