From the RCAF to LMC: Centennial Tales

From the RCAF to Lockheed Martin Canada: Centennial Tales

Meet Jan Kennedy

July 02, 2024

As we commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) this year, we honour the remarkable individuals who have served our nation with dedication and distinction. In this series, we are spotlighting Lockheed Martin Canada employees who once wore the RCAF uniform, to celebrate their contributions, both past and present, and explore the impact of their RCAF experiences on their lives.

This month, Jan Kennedy shared her incredible experiences as an engineer in the RCAF, and how her work today at Lockheed Martin Canada allows her to continue to support Canadian pilots in the sky.

Jan Kennedy in uniform standing in front of Canadian flag

Jan Kennedy

Program Management

For Jan, becoming an engineer in the RCAF was a lifelong dream:

“I loved math; logical, with a clear right or wrong answer unfettered from opinion.  I also loved adventures and having new experiences rather than every day being the same routine. Being an engineer in the RCAF provided the most amazing combination of both!”

Jan had pictured the day she would become an RCAF engineer since the seventh grade. When she joined at 18 and began to experience life in the air force, it was a dream come true. It was in these moments, meeting her RCAF family, completing training, and even her first flight, that she began to realize what it truly meant to serve Canada – a lesson she has never forgotten.

“While I would like to believe my intentions were altruistic from the beginning, I think I was too young to truly understand what it meant to serve one's country. I think the military taught me the sense of pride and accomplishment that comes from serving a greater purpose. It is easier to have continuous motivation and discipline for your job when your job is to serve and protect others.”

Jan in the cockpit of the F18
Bucket List Check! – Flight in an F18 at CFB Bagotville

What other lessons did Jan learn during her time in the RCAF? How to persevere, pursue excellence, and enjoy every experience.

“The RCAF taught me so many things.  It taught me discipline and to not shy away from hard things.  Failure is not an option, so dig in and keep going.  It taught me that excellence and precision is not a goal to strive for, it is a requirement when aircrew depend upon you and your team to provide them with a safe aircraft.  As a team working together, this is an achievable requirement. It also taught me that even the most serious of careers have plenty of room for fun!”

When Jan thought about leaving the military, she was reluctant to give up something she was so passionate about. However, when her daughter turned three, she was inspired to find a way to balance her passion for her career while also being there for her family. A career at Lockheed Martin emerged as pathway to achieve this.

A role at Lockheed Martin Canada provided the perfect opportunity to continue to contribute to Canada’s defence in the skies, and still be able to tuck her daughter into bed every night.

Jan has now been with Lockheed Martin for 8 years in a variety of roles within the CC-130J Hercules in-service support team. Here, she ensures Canada’s fleet of Mighty Hercs stays operational, effective and safe for the RCAF.

“I wake up every morning with the same mission that I had when I was in the military: to keep those aircraft flying so that they can go out into the world and do important things.  Many times, I actually feel that as a Lockheed Martin employee providing in-service support, I have an even greater opportunity to support the 436 Hercules Squadron’s mission than I did when I was in the military.”

C130J Canada team standing in front of C130j
CC130J Lockheed Martin In-Service Support Team

Jan, who always viewed her RCAF team as family, now considers her Lockheed Martin team family as well.

“I still work very closely with my military friends, but I have found a new family in my LM team. We are a close-knit team with a common goal. Individual success is useless unless the entire team succeeds. For example, developing superior engineering designs is no good if the publications that tell the technician how to implement the repair are unclear or supply doesn’t deliver the parts on time. We work together to create team success and deliver the RCAF superior support, and I love it!”

What does the RCAF Centennial mean to Jan?

As an engineer, what stands out to Jan is how the RCAF has grown, innovated and evolved alongside Canada over the past 100 years, setting the stage for a strong and secure future.

“The RCAF’s centennial holds profound significance as it marks a century of excellence, service, and innovation in aviation. Commemorating this milestone honors the bravery and dedication of generations of women and men who have served in the RCAF, safeguarding Canada’s skies and contributing to global peace and security. It is a testament to Canada’s aviation heritage and the RCAF’s evolution as a modern, technologically advanced force.

Celebrating this centennial also underscores the RCAF’s ongoing commitment to excellence, innovation, and leadership in the aerospace and defense, setting a strong foundation for the future.”

Stay tuned for the next monthly installment in this series!