Six Decades And Counting

Celebrating 60 years working at one company is no small feat, but Faye Stout says there are many reasons she’s stayed at Lockheed Martin.

The program planner said two are at the top of her mind: she loves what she does, and she loves the people she works with.

“I believe that the key to success is directly related to the relationships developed in your journey. I also learned very early that loyalty, flexibility, being a team player and the ability to accept constructive criticism is also a form of learning,” she said.

Over the years, Faye worked with many different people and on a diverse number of programs, and she could just never see herself working anywhere else.

Sixty Years Ago

On May 17, 1961, a young woman born in Memphis, Tennessee, and raised in Apopka, Florida, started her career with Lockheed Martin. She had heard great things from her two neighbors about what a great place the then-Martin company was to work, and she knew that was the place she wanted to begin her career. 

For the interview she wore her best dress accompanied with white gloves, and on the way home she stopped by the closest phone booth to call her parents with the good news.

“My very wise Dad always told me that any job worth doing was worth doing well,” she recalled. “I learned at a very young age to never to be satisfied with performing at just 100 percent, as it is your face reflected in the mirror every morning.”

Over the next six decades, Faye said she saw opportunity to learn new skills and technology and to connect with teachers eager to pass on their knowledge – if you were willing to learn.

One of her first assignments was separating Operations Directives, stamping and distributing them. She was also in charge of recording everyone’s time to the 10th of the hour.

“There were 6,000 employees when I started, and to me that was just a humongous amount of people, and we only had 30 minutes for lunch. In the cafeteria, I was so afraid to lose my group of friends,” she said. “It was unbelievable how scared I was. Some people have been here three years, and I was afraid I’d last just three weeks.”

Back then, the Sand Lake Facility only had two buildings.

“We only had one cafeteria,” she said. “As I look at our Sand Lake Road Facility today, I am in awe of the modernized buildings and conveniences afforded all of us.”

Faye recalled some of the office rules at the time included no coffee allowed at desks… but smoking and ashtrays were.

“This is not meant as a complaint, as many things were different then, but as a reminder of the then and now,” she said. “How lucky we are today from the top down for the respect shown to every individual, our present working conditions, open door policies, teaching/classes available for the latest technology and encouragement from both upper management and peers to be the best that you can be.”

How Technology Changed

Faye said not long after beginning her career as a clerk, she felt like she could do more. She asked one of her peers and friends to teach her what they were working on, and she’s been in program planning ever since.

“In planning, we are the execution and make sure things happen. You’re relied on, and I like that,” she said. “When you tell them, ‘We have to do a workaround schedule,’ you’re not reporting them but are trying to support them. Once they realize you’re not a tattle tale, you become a team.”

Back then, she completed schedules with a sharp pencil, template with triangles, an eraser, and a few other things on an 11 x 17 pad of quad paper.  She also traveled a lot while working for Special Programs with a briefcase full of those items – but no laptop back in those days. When her Special Programs team did get a computer, they had to share it among the entire group.

Her very first personal computer came years later – a Chromatic. She remembered it taking 15 minutes to print a page and then another 10 minutes to dry – leaving this capability for special occasions like customer meetings.

She remembers one particular proposal in which her husband brought her a change of clothes at midnight for her to fly out and submit. She was awake 36 hours and knew they were going to win.

“I changed clothes in the bathroom and left to fly. I had a young engineer with me, and at long layovers we’d take turns closing our eyes. That young man is still at Lockheed Martin, by the way,” she said. “I just knew we were going to win that proposal. We lost, and I literally cried. I wasn’t the only one – my bosses did too.”

Lockheed Martin Today

Now the world’s leading defense company with about 110,000 employees across the globe, Lockheed Martin has changed quite a bit.

However, Faye says the company has evolved for the better.

We just have so much to be thankful for to work here," she said. "Everyone’s treated the same, from the president to janitor.”

Faye said she continues to have a good career here and would do it all over again.

“I can’t describe in words; I just feel needed and appreciated. I think people appreciate now what you do versus just doing your job and getting chewed out. If you’re not doing a good job, they’ll help you and make it right. There’s support and encouragement.”

Other items on her list of reasons for staying for 60 years: the company’s inclusiveness, open-door policies and opportunities to continue education.

She also added: “Also, working with some of the brightest individuals on planet earth in addition to them being responsible and caring individuals. Why would anyone choose any other company?”