TAKING CONTROL: Lockheed Martin Canada appoints a new Chief Executive.
With such prominence in the industry, it is only natural that the defence and aerospace community takes note when there is a new individual in Lockheed Martin Canada's the top office.
On June 21, it was officially affirmed that Lorraine Ben will henceforth be the new Chief Executive, as she had held that same title in an interim capacity since December of last year.
It has been a long and winding road that has brought Lorraine to this pinnacle post. Born in Belfast, Ireland, her family immigrated to Alabama before heading north to Sault Ste Marie, Ontario. She graduated from Laurentian University and the Canadian Security Studies program.
Saddled with student loan debt, she took a job as inside sales support in a high-tech company. "I had never been able to afford a computer, never mind sell one," she recalled. "The VP of sales at the time took a real chance on me. He saw the passion and determination ... I needed a job and I wanted to work."
Once hired, Lorraine realized she had caught the sales 'bug'. She loved the customer engagement, the thrill of being part of a winning team.
In 1998 she and her husband took a gamble and moved to the U.S. for career opportunities. It was at that juncture that Lockheed Martin first hired Lorraine, and her career took off, literally. "I spent the next five years on a plane travelling across the
U.S. working business development for the corporation's major postal services contract," said Ben. "It was an amazing growth opportunity--and it gave me the chance to see how fascinating Lockheed Martin really was."
Lorraine considers her experience in the U.S. to be a defining moment in her career by allowing her to hone her instincts and to think outside the box.
By 2004 she had returned to Canada and expanded her horizons outside of Lockheed Martin in both the telecommunications and IT sectors and was first introduced to the defence sector leading when her and her team won the Global Defence Network Services contract which provided global telecommunication services for the Department of National Defence.
In the summer of 2015, Lorraine brought her skill set and experience back to Lockheed Martin with the recent stand-up of Lockheed Martin International. "The opportunity to be part of the company's vision to expand our business internationally and grow our business in Canada was truly an opportunity to of lifetime."
With her affirmation as Chief Executive, Lorraine has taken the helm at what is an incredibly exciting time for Lockheed Martin Canada. In addition to their focus on supporting the RCAF's C-130 Hercules fleet, managing the Halifax Class Frigate modernization and integrating their Sikorsky division's delivery of the new Cyclone Maritime helicopters, Lockheed Martin Canada was recently selected as prime contractor to deliver the design and systems integration for the $70 billion Canadian Surface combatant program.
Lorraine has also been heavily involved in Canada's fighter jet replacement program, as LMCO will be bidding the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
"We are extremely proud of the work Canadian suppliers have done contributing to the development and production of the F-35," explained Lorraine. "We have come a long way over the past two years in terms of both accomplishing major milestones on the program and moving significant yardsticks in the procurement process. I believe Canadians recognize the tremendous value of the F-35 partnership. With over 200 industrial projects in Canada and 50,000 jobs over the life of the program, being a part of the F-35 enterprise is truly a once-in-a-generation initiative."
As for the actual merits of acquiring the F-35, Lorraine is convinced that the statistics speak for themselves." The F-35 has unmatched capability at the lowest life cycle cost," stated Lorraine. "Would you rather buy the last car off the assembly line or the most robust, modernized one that provides longevity and jobs for Canadians?"
On the personal front, Lorraine has a grown son who is off to college, enabling her to devout more time to community projects like saving heritage homes in Ottawa and preserving the urban forest. She has long dreamt of assisting disadvantaged kids and hopes to establish a bursary fund for students enrolled in the alternate school program.
In rising to the lofty height of her present position within the traditionally male dominated field of Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Lorraine acknowledges that she has had some strong support along the way. "I have had some incredible mentors along the way who taught me to ask for what you need and never be afraid to leap forward," said Lorraine. "I have risen to the top and fallen to the bottom, picked myself up and grew as a person. As my mom always said, 'never let anyone make you someone you're not." I live by these words and I try every day to stay true to who I am."
Caption: ABOVE LEFT: Lorraine Ben was recently affirmed as Lockheed Martin's Chief Executive
Caption: ABOVE RIGHT: Lorraine with the 2019 STEAM Horizon Award recipients for which Lockheed Martin Canada is a corporate partner. The STEAM Horizon Awards are open to Canada's youth leaders who promote positive changes in their communities using science, technology, engineering, arts and math. Five recipients are selected annually, with two going to Indigenous youth.
Caption: ABOVE: Mike Shoemaker, Vice President Customer Initiatives (left), Lorraine Ben, and Keith Knotts, F-35 Business Development (right), showcasing two F-35 Lightning IIs at Bagotville International Air Show
Please Note: Illustration(s) are not available due to copyright restrictions.
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|Title Annotation:||EYE ON INDUSTRY|
|Publication:||Esprit de Corps|
|Date:||Aug 1, 2019|
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