Jay Freshman and Dean Frost
Textron Defense Systems
“There is strong commitment. We really do believe that this makes a difference.”
Textron Defense Systems
Chief Engineer for ISR and Protection Systems (Freshman)
Product Development Director (Frost)
Textron Defense Systems, an operating unit of Textron Systems, a Textron Inc. company, delivers its customers precision, power and protection through innovative air-and ground-based smart weapons; directed energy weapons; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, or ISR, systems; and protection systems.
Textron Defense Systems has been a strong supporter of the Gordon Program since its inception. Headquartered in Wilmington, MA, the company is home to four Gordon Fellows and one current Gordon Fellow Candidate.
“Right now, the defense industry is evolving underneath us,” says Dean Frost, Product Development Director. “We need to develop individuals who have the breadth of understanding across a wide range of disciplines in terms of technology, project management, personnel management, and so forth. Those are the types of people we need to foster to help our business sustain and grow.”
In 2010, Kristy Casella became Textron’s fourth participant in the program. In addition to leading a dispersed team, Casella’s Challenge Project required adapting to the organization’s changing product development strategy.
“Historically, the government came to us with a set of requirements and gave us money to do development,” says Jay Freshman, Chief Engineer for ISR and Protection Systems. “That’s changing. We really have to adapt to more commercial-like practices and look at this from the standpoint of a product line. Kristy did a great job of spearheading this approach.”
Kristy’s project focused on mobile technology enablers for unattended ground sensor systems.
“From a leadership perspective, this was a real challenge for Kristy. She had a group in Texas, another group here, and we all had to be on the same sheet of music and play together nicely,” says Freshman.
In the end, Frost believes that Kristy accomplished a project of real value for Textron. “This was an important project for us,” he says. “It wasn’t, ‘Okay, let’s find something for Kristy to do so we can get her through this.’ This was the real deal.”
With its fifth Gordon Fellow Candidate completing the program in August 2012, Textron looks forward to continuing its participation in the program.
“This success has further strengthened our commitment, not just at our level, but at the very senior levels,” says Frost. “We’re communicating it and getting the word out. There is strong commitment. We really do believe that this makes a difference.”
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