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Supporting America’s Safety
Opportunities abound in the federal government, as well as the military products industry, for those seeking to help support those who keep America safe.
The federal government requires “eyes and ears on the ground” to assure the safety of its citizens and all of its federal buildings. Through its vendors it provides equipment for its military personnel in order to make certain U.S. servicemen and -women are safe, both in our own country and around the world.
See how the careers of the four professionals working at Harris Corporation, U.S. Army Reserve, DHS/ICE and Rockwell Collins profiled here progressed and led them to help keep America safe.
Building Relationships Helps Davidson Advance at Harris
Ernest Davidson’s mother always told him to do something in life that does more than make money.
So, Davidson, who was always fascinated by electronics, earned both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in electrical engineering, then joined Melbourne, FL-based Harris Corporation, a company that designs, develops, and delivers what he says are some of the most innovative products that service our world in many capacities.
“As employees we get to work on cutting-edge technologies with the added satisfaction of knowing the devices we build help save lives.” Those devices include night-vision goggles, tactical radios and minesweeping tech used by the U.S. Navy and military personnel worldwide.
As an undergraduate, Davidson says, he interned at an electronics company, where he designed power electronics ranging from solar battery chargers to power supplies for hybrid locomotives. “I found many of the skills I learned in my internship were transferrable to my role at Harris.”
For the first two years after joining Harris as a design engineer in its aerospace electronics group, Davidson’s primary responsibility was designing power supplies for applications ranging from portable man-pack radios to tactical airborne radios. His role included defining requirements, circuit design and analysis, and test and integration.
A technical mentor was assigned to him to help him translate the theoretical concepts he learned at school into the more practical applications he needed in his post at Harris. Although the firm does provide a formal mentoring program, Davidson says he’s always taken a more informal approach to finding mentors and building relationships with them to learn more about the company and areas that interested him.
He was recently promoted into his current position as an electrical engineer within Harris’ corporate supply chain Center of Excellence organization. In this role, he’s “advancing engineering and supply chain collaboration efforts [via] cost modeling, value analysis/value engineering and design for supply chain.” His group is responsible for deploying the tools and processes for those efforts at the enterprise level.
“My current role is a blend of engineering and supply chain,” he says. “It allows me to take a more holistic view of the engineering function and how the organization integrates with the supply chain function.” He has the opportunity to learn key supply chain concepts and, since the position is at the corporate level, he’s gotten further insight into the company and improved his business acumen.
Davidson says he’s pressed to use his time most efficiently. He’s found out through experience that working longer hours does not increase productivity. “I had to improve my prioritization skills and find ways to actively reduce distractions during the day.” This has helped him become better at managing his time and accomplish more in a shorter time.
He says Harris values the on-the-job experience and knowledge its employees gain and offers them new opportunities with increasing responsibility, leadership and challenge. This includes moving laterally from a technical to management track for those with the necessary skills. The company offers reimbursement to employees who pursue additional education relating to their current role or in a complimentary field of study.
Davidson was advised early to “grow wherever you’re planted.” And he’s done just that. “Regardless of the role you are in, there are always new things to learn and old things to be improved upon.”
He adds that, even early in your career, you should work on perfecting a skill that will set you apart from your coworkers. “I’ve yet to meet a leader that doesn’t have a particular skill that sets them apart.”
More information about a career at Harris is available at harris.com/careers. Connect on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
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