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Judy F. Marks '84: Making her mark in the business world

Judy Marks '84 leads a team that continues to land extremely lucrative contracts for Lockheed Martin.

Evidence that Judy F. Marks '84 was destined to sprint up the corporate ladder first emerged when she earned her electrical engineering degree from Lehigh in just three years. Although her time in Bethlehem was short, Marks believes that Lehigh laid some integral groundwork that resulted in her success.

"Lehigh was perfect for me," Marks says. "I was a bit of an introvert when I first arrived at Lehigh. The relatively small size of the student population allowed me to feel comfortable, so I constantly volunteered to be on task forces and got involved in activities that helped my self-confidence tremendously.

"Academically, Lehigh was terrific. For example, in my electrical engineering classes, we always worked in small groups—which was an unusual education practice back in the early 1980s—but it simulated quite well how things would work in the real world once I graduated."

Marks obviously learned her lessons well.

After receiving her bachelor's degree in electrical engineering, Marks started her career with IBM in 1984 as a systems engineer. She rapidly advanced into management, serving in a variety of positions including engineering management, program management, business development, and marketing positions before she was appointed president of the Lockheed Martin Distribution Technologies line of business in Owego, N.Y., in March 2001.

Last fall, Marks was promoted yet again—this time to president of Lockheed Martin Transportation and Security Solutions (TSS) in Rockville, Md., which specializes in air traffic management; transportation, airport and border security; and civil agency efforts involving advanced systems for managing sensitive information, such as U.S. Census data capture, electronic records archiving, and other mission-critical technology solutions.

"With her intellectual agility and absolute commitment to customer satisfaction, Judy Marks was ideally suited to assume the top executive position in an enterprise that is well-positioned in growth markets including critical information management and homeland security," says Robert B. Coutts, executive vice president for Lockheed Martin's Electronic Systems Business Area.

Within the past year, Marks' team has landed a $500 million contract to implement the system for the 2010 U.S. Census, a $308 million contract to build a permanent archive system for the National Archives and Records Administration, and a $212 million contract to upgrade the electronic security system for the entire New York City Metropolitan Transportation Authority (a unique security challenge given the rail system's age, the number of riders who use it every day, and how dramatically the world has changed in the almost five years since 9/11).

Folks at Lockheed Martin aren't the only ones who have recognized Marks' rare skill-set. U.S. Sen. Hilary Clinton (D., N.Y.) requested that Marks serve as vice chairperson for New Jobs for New York, a non-profit organization whose aim is to attract jobs to the entire state of New York.

Marks acknowledges that her rapid ascent at Lockheed Martin wouldn't have been possible without the help of others. But unlike most Best Actor and Actress winners on Oscar night, Marks is completely sincere when she thanks her husband, Jeff, who runs his own property management business.

"I'm married to a wonderful man who has made countless sacrifices for me and our daughter, Sasha (who will turn 15 in September)," Marks says. "He's been simply amazing."

Marks also credits her father, a Philadelphia area department store owner who taught her at a young age the canon that every successful businessperson knows—the importance of satisfying the customer. And she appreciates the higher-ups at IBM and now Lockheed Martin, who spotted something in her and allowed her to stretch and grow into a leader.

Because so many people helped her, Marks now serves as a mentor to a number of the best and brightest young employees at Lockheed Martin. Marks firmly believes her success in the corporate world indirectly mentors her daughter too.

"Sasha is growing up with the belief that she can do anything," says Marks. "And of everything that I've been able to accomplish, that's the thing that I'm most proud of."

--Bill Doherty

Lehigh Alumni Bulletin Online
June 2006

Posted on Wednesday, July 05, 2006

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