Nicholas Anderson ’10 has not even been out of college for two years, and he is already busy implementing corporate production initiatives to improve manufacturing at Lockheed Martin, the global aerospace, defense and technology corporation.
It’s all in a day’s work for Anderson, who is part of Lockheed Martin’s Operations Leadership Development Program, a two-year rotational program that introduces employees to the manufacturing and operations side of the business.
Anderson studied engineering at Lehigh, but like all first-year engineering students, he started out with no declared major.
“There’s a great course that we’re all required to take called Engineering 5, taught by Professor Keith Gardiner,” explains Anderson.
“He has a lot of industry experience and taught us the principles and goals of the engineering community. Through his teachings and my projects in that class, I decided that mechanical engineering was the most versatile engineering discipline as far as providing opportunities after college.”
Within mechanical engineering, Anderson was inspired to go into the aerospace field by Terry Hart ’68, a former NASA astronaut and a professor of practice who taught Anderson’s “Intro to Aerodynamics” class.
“The course material was difficult; it was heavily dependent on mathematics and fluid mechanics, but the way he described it, it made sense,” says Anderson.
“He was also able to relate the theoretical course material to real engineering applications. Being able to see that transition from class room theory to industry application was extremely valuable and inspired me to start searching for jobs in the aerospace industry.”
Anderson found out about Lockheed Martin’s program at Lehigh’s annual career fair, where he connected with a Lehigh alumnus from the company. Before he even graduated, he had an offer to join the program.
“I did my first two rotations (sourcing and quality) in the missiles and fire control business in Orlando, Fla.,” Anderson says.
He then transferred to corporate headquarters in Bethesda, Md., where he works for the corporate vice president of production operations. All along the way, he says, his education has helped him.
“Lehigh generates the type of college graduate that employers are looking for,” he says.
“Lehigh provides that well rounded experience both in the academic disciplines and leadership opportunities. Employers know that a Lehigh education provides students with not only technical aptitude but also social and communicative skills necessary for industry.”