Lizz Wells is a rising star and recognised future leader whose work behind the scenes at global security and aerospace prime, Lockheed Martin Australia supports Australia’s national security endeavours.
Lizz has not looked back since making the leap from local government to Lockheed Martin Australia (LMA) in 2018. She discovered a passion and talent for big picture thinking and strategy development while working in a council’s waste services department.
In just four years, Lizz has established herself as an outstanding analyst at LMA. As an Engineering Processes and Information Systems Associate Functional Manager, Lizz leads a team of data and configuration management analysts who support engineering lifecycle processes.
“At the heart of it, I work in developing efficiencies and process improvements across the team of people I look after,” Lizz said who’s based at LMA’s rapidly-growing Williamtown presence adjacent to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) base.
Lizz has played an important role in the delivery of a variety of programs for the Australian Defence Force and other industry partners, including a portable tactical air defence radar system (known as TADRS); portable cabins (known as Deployable Data Management System (DDMS) cabins) that provide secure workspaces for ADF personnel supporting F-35 operations; and maintenance and training for the F-35, a 5th-generation supersonic stealth fighter. The jet’s advanced sensors and data fusion allow it to gather and share information faster than ever before. The RAAF has purchased 72 F-35 jets from LMA’s parent company in the USA.
Lizz was recognised by her peers when she received the 2020 Lockheed Martin Australia and New Zealand Employee Excellence Rising Star Award. The Rising Star Award acknowledges employees who make an extraordinary contribution to the business while demonstrating huge potential for their career within Lockheed Martin.
“I won the award for my ability to devise strategies, development plans, and implement solutions in the rollout of a new corporate data management tool for change and configuration management,” said Lizz.
“I made some big gains for the company. To be recognised outside of my team and within the wider organisation has been really exciting.”
The trajectory of Lizz’s stellar career has not been linear.
“I really didn't know what I wanted to do with my career, and I actually didn't finish Year 12,” she said.
After bouncing around from optical dispenser to hotel management, Lizz decided to pursue environmental science in her mid-20s. She gained entry to Southern Cross University as a mature-age student and started a degree online.
Drawing on knowledge from her environmental science studies, Lizz was now working as a waste services officer with a local council.
“One of my tasks was applying for grants through the NSW Environment Protection Authority. One of those grants was a community education plan for a community recycling centre. Developing this plan gave me a taste for that big picture thinking and developing plans and strategies for a business.”
With her passion for business processes ignited, Lizz enrolled in a Bachelor of Business – again online with Southern Cross University – which led to a role in defence contracting that ultimately opened the door to Lockheed Martin Australia.
“Tertiary qualifications are required to be a manager at Lockheed Martin. However, my degree has given me so much more than just a piece of paper,” said Lizz.
“It has taught me written communication skills. The ability to be analytical and present information and data in a sound format. It's taught me project management understanding, business decision-making, and general management foundational skills.”
Lizz is not done with Southern Cross yet. With two degrees already under her belt, she would eventually like to do a Master of Engineering Management.
“Lockheed Martin is an engineering organisation and I feel that this masters will establish me as a senior leader within the business.”