Celebrating 10 years of Systems Engineering at Stevens

4/28/2011

Last week, the School of Systems at Enterprises (SSE) at Stevens Institute of Technology hosted a day of events to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of its Systems Engineering program. Distinguished guests were on campus all day long attending the events, which included an agreement signing with the U.S. Army, a Dean’s Seminar, and a special reception in the evening.

The day kicked off with an agreement signing ceremony for a milestone research partnership between the Systems Engineering Research Center (SERC) and the US Army Research Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM).  The Cooperative Research and Development Agreement, known as a CRADA, signals a new partnership with the Army and will further strengthen the SERC’s relationship with the Department of Defense and its services.

The Honorable Michael W. Wynne, 21st Secretary of the US Air Force and chairman of the SERC Advisory Board, and Maj. Gen. Nick Justice, Commanding General of RDECOM, presided over the ceremony.  Also in attendance were the Systems Engineering Research University Affiliated Research Center sponsors; Deans and researchers from many of the SERC collaborating institutions; faculty and staff from Stevens; and members of the local community.

Later in the day, as part of the ongoing SSE Dean’s Seminar Series, Stevens welcomed Dr. Ray O. Johnson, senior vice president and Chief Technology Officer of the Lockheed Martin Corporation to campus. His seminar was entitled Global Challenges in Innovation.

More than 100 attendees filled the auditorium, representing students, faculty and staff. Special guests included alumni from the first graduating class of Systems Engineering (SE) at Stevens 10 years ago, and Lockheed Martin employees, including Jeff Wilcox, VP of corporate engineering and member of the SSE Board of Advisors. Dean Dinesh Verma welcomed everyone, describing the Dean’s Seminar Series as a venue for “folks who need no introduction to come to campus and speak to us about topics in engineering.” The Series is a bi-annual event and features distinguished guests from industry, government and academia.

Dean Verma then introduced Secretary Wynne, who welcomed Dr. Johnson and spoke briefly about his background.

“I am so happy to be here today, especially as we’re celebrating the 10th anniversary of Systems Engineering at Stevens,” stated Secretary Wynne. “It is my distinct pleasure to introduce Dr. Johnson who will speak on our quest to discover a worldview of global innovation.”

Secretary Wynne also welcomed the alumni in attendance, noting that they were all part of Lockheed Martin at the time they participated in the inaugural SE program. “As Lockheed was one of the first sponsors of the program, it’s good to see the students’ hard work paid off!” he joked.

As an Officer of the Corporation and a member of the executive leadership team, Dr. Johnson guides Lockheed Martin’s technology vision and provides corporate leadership in the strategic areas of technology and engineering, which include more than 70,000 people working on more than 4,000 programs. Dr. Johnson also leads the Corporation’s Advanced Concepts Organization and the Center for Innovation, a world-class laboratory for collaborative experimentation and analysis involving Lockheed Martin, its customers, and industry partners.

“Innovation plays a crucial role in developing new systems and addressing all global challenges,” Dr. Johnson opened the seminar. “Innovation is so important to Lockheed Martin, we’ve dedicated an entire Center to it.”

The focus of the seminar was how innovation has been a cornerstone for Lockheed Martin, how it is practiced inside the Corporation, and some of their current innovation initiatives. Dr. Johnson addressed several of the programs that have been implemented using Lockheed’s research and development strategy, including current research initiatives.

He spoke about the difference between invention and innovation, the three innovation pathfinders, and the ways that the future will vastly differ from the past. “Knowledge will be ubiquitous in 2050,” he asserted. “You will know everything immediately.”

“The challenges we face are global and interdisciplinary and often science doesn’t have the answer. We know we can solve the problems, but it takes time and money,” Dr. Johnson concluded. “This is why Stevens and institutions like it are vital to organizations like Lockheed Martin. We need to continue to develop the foundations of science and bring that to the engineer level.”

After the Dean’s Seminar, there was an evening reception in Manhattan at the New York Yacht Club to continue the celebration of the SE anniversary.  The reception honored the first graduating class of the Systems Engineering program, of which six of the ten alumni were in attendance including:  Joel Barnaby, Kathy Tennar, Mike Mahon, Richard Scharadin, Todd Tangert and Wayne Berkemeyer. The reception also celebrated the partners who have helped make the last 10 years possible.   Among them was Orlando P. Carvalho, President, Mission Systems and Sensors “MS2”, Lockheed Martin Corporation who sponsored the first systems engineering class from Lockheed Martin Corporation, as well as Dr. Johnson.  The event was attended by approximately 70 people, including SSE sponsors, government officials, SSE administration, faculty and staff.

Jack Irving who serves as an executive liaison to the SSE and has been a member of its Advisory Board since the beginning of the Stevens Systems Engineering program was presented an “Award of Recognition” for his service to the program and school.  Mr. Irving stated, “When you look at the number of sponsors and partnerships and networks of schools who are now involved with SSE, it has grown so dramatically over a short period of time and is extremely well-received by the people who have participated.”