Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control Chief Engineer Kingsley Fregene has joined the ranks of a select group of only 23 U.S. researchers recognized as pioneers in control practice.
Kingsley was awarded the annual Control Engineering Practice Award by the American Automatic Control Council in late May 2021 for his work on autonomous control of unmanned vehicle systems in the early part of the last decade.
Kingsley garners attention as not only one of very few recipients of the award but as the first engineer at Lockheed Martin to receive this accolade since the award was started in 1998.
“I truly appreciate the council’s recognition of the important work we do here at Lockheed Martin to advance technology and innovation for the national good,” Kingsley said.
Control practice is a form of engineering focused on human and automated interfacing. Fundamentally, it’s developing consistent feedback to keep something at a desired state. And it’s easy to miss because it’s happening all around us on various scales. Automatic control is seen in any system that reacts to a sensed change without a human operator, so consider climate control in a refrigerator and a car’s cruise control. Control theory can be applied to many different devices, processes and systems, but it all goes back to taking something seemingly complex and turning it into an automatic, self-operating system.
Since 1998, the nation’s foremost automatic control council has evaluated nominees across all engineering disciplines, including industry, government and academia, to select only one individual or team each year for significant contribution to the advancement of control practice and society.
When asked what keeps him motivated, Kingsley said, “I’m energized by the opportunity to contribute to capabilities that keep the nation safe.”
In his role with Lockheed Martin, Kingsley oversees the research and development of a broad range of advanced technologies designed to optimize complex systems and in turn produce consistent results and protect operators.
“The most difficult parts of any project are often where you have the best opportunities to do truly impactful work,” he said.
Over his 13-year career with Lockheed Martin, Kingsley has discovered that the greatest growth often comes unexpectedly.
“You will learn to thrive in challenging situations and, over time, become very comfortable with that initial sense of discomfort when it seems like you’re out of your depth,” he said. “I have done some of my best work on efforts where I started out wondering, ‘what was I getting myself into?’” - Kingsley Fregene
Behind Kingsley’s success is a supportive community of teammates, managers and mentors who push him to do better and take advantage of the opportunities Lockheed Martin provides.
“The most important thing I have learned is the importance of working well with other people, and taking time to build relationships,” he said. “We have done really well for our customers when we have been able to draw on our Lockheed Martin colleagues here within our business unit and across the enterprise.”