All In the Lockheed Martin Family:
Multiple Generations Call It Home
Eighty years ago, Franklin D. Roosevelt was president, movies like “Grapes of Wrath” trended at the box office instead of on Twitter, and Alaska and Hawaii weren’t even states yet.
Also in 1940, the Stefanik family began its tradition of serving U.S. service men and women as Lockheed Martin employees– even before the company was called that.
Being part of a 100-plus year-old company with more than 110,000 employees around the world, there’s often a chance of running into multiple generations of families who have clocked in at Lockheed Martin over the years. However, for employees at Lockheed Martin and Sikorsky, it’s a sense of pride and a legacy that many pass along to their own children.
“I feel a great sense of pride knowing that four generations of my family gave the best we could offer to the warfighters, so they had what they needed when needed,” systems integration and test engineer John Stefanik said.
By the time John Stefanik started with Martin Marietta – now Lockheed Martin – as a summer intern in 1986 working on the LANTIRN navigation and targeting pod program, he had quite a reputation to live up to. His older brother, Tim, had been a college intern, and his father, Ted, started working in 1959 for the Glenn L. Martin company, which merged with American-Marietta to become Martin Marietta two years later.
Still, the Stefaniks’ roots at Lockheed Martin can be traced back earlier. John’s great uncle, Alexander Strazik, worked for Glenn L. Martin from 1940 to 1960 as a quality control inspector, and his uncle Frank Stefanik worked in the same position from 1958 to 1962.
John’s oldest son, Adam, is an electrical engineering senior at the University of Central Florida and he began work at the company as part of the College Work Experience Program (CWEP) May 2018. He has alternated between being a CWEP employee and a summer intern since.
“I think it’s really cool to continue my family’s legacy working for the company,” he said. “It’s the family business.”
Passing Down A Legacy
Bob Greene, global supply chain manager at the company’s Missiles and Fire Control division, said while growing up he remembers hearing about his dad’s workday at Martin Marietta and the great colleagues he got to work with.
“Children of employees grow up hearing about the company, attending Family Day events and Bring Your Child To Work days, and seeing firsthand a parent who is enthusiastic and proud to work at Lockheed Martin,” he said. “All of which has a lasting impact on the child.”
As proof of that, Greene’s daughter followed in his footsteps. Lindsey Bailey started as a student in 2013 and was hired full time in 2014. She now works as a senior technical writer and the task lead for Fixed Wing technical publications.
“My dad has always referred to his job with pride and appreciation. As a kid, I was able to attend several of the family events, which sparked a curiosity about the technologies the company develops,” she said. “It’s clear to me that family is an important aspect of Lockheed Martin culture as evidenced by the various family assistance resources, opportunities for community volunteering, military family member recognition and beyond.”
Greene said he still remembers greeting his daughter on her first day as a CWEP student.
“Feeling proud is probably understated; I truly felt honored by the fact that my daughter was interested in starting a career at Lockheed Martin and then subsequently her husband,” he said. “I met her at the visitor’s center to walk her to the main plant to start her assignment and I’m certain my excitement was not contained in my expression. Although our assignment locations have changed quite a bit in the past few years, her first location was very near my office and made for frequent opportunities to see each other and the occasional lunch date.”
He also said Lockheed Martin has provided meaningful career opportunities and has proven consistent over many years.
“I also have tremendous pride in the products and services we provide to the warfighter, understanding that they are better equipped to safeguard our country and have a better chance to return home safely because of it,” he said.
Similar Legacy of History at Sikorsky
Lockheed Martin acquired Sikorsky in 2015, and with it came generations of employees who have their own legacies.
One of whom is Adam Martin, a multifunctional quality manager and fourth-generation Sikorsky employee.
“As a kid it amazed me how many other kids in my school were from Sikorsky homes as well,” he said. “I’m glad we are now part of the Lockheed family where a similar trend of legacy is cherished.”
His great-grandfather, Frank Giordanella, was an engineer when the Sikorsky factory opened. His maternal grandfather, Bill Nelson, retired in 1986 as the general manager of Sikorsky sheet metal. Both of his parents met at Sikorsky and married in 1982.
Adam joined Sikorsky’s quality department in 2008 and is still there today.
“More than anything it means opportunities not just for me, but for my family. As a kid, we had everything we had because of opportunities from Sikorsky,” Martin said. “At the end of the day, I can provide well for my family and that means a lot to me. If I’m in a park with family, and I hear a Sikorsky helicopter overhead, I can point at it and say I help make that. That’s pretty cool.”
He still remembers when his dad brought him to work as a child, and he remembers getting a temporary badge, seeing the final assembly line, flight simulators and other activities on the production floor.
“As a kid you get spellbound. You get to look in and think, ‘I want to be part of that.’ There are several folks here who are second- and third-generation employees,” he said. "A lot of us remember our parents taking us to Bring Your Child to Work Day and remember a lot of the shared experiences.”
Today, Martin’s dad and some of his extended family still work for Sikorsky, and he said the close teams he works with feel like family too.
“In a way, the people you work with and interact with become your family. You can go through a lot in a given day. There are obstacles met and unmet, and you kind of succeed and triumph as a family,” he said. “As you continually strive to execute at a high level, you go through these motions together and grow closer together.”