WESLEY D. KREMER

President, Raytheon Missiles & Defense

In what ways has your organization had to “pivot” as the short-term impacts of the pandemic took hold?

We learned early on how to streamline our processes to get capabilities into our customers’ hands. One of the first things we did, along with our government customers, was shift most of our workforce to remote working. Before the pandemic, we were highly reliant on in-person meetings to drive action, which required extensive lead time to coordinate, plus the time and cost associated with traveling. By rapidly adopting remote work, we’re wiping out years of practices that didn’t always serve us. For the most part, productivity levels haven’t fallen off since this transition, and in many ways, I feel we are more efficient and nimble now. 

What trends are you experiencing in your own industry, across the U.S. and globally, related to expected long-term impacts of the pandemic?

One thing COVID-19 has allowed us to do is refocus on digitally transforming our business, which will take years off the DoD acquisition process and allow us to deliver solutions that outpace threats sooner. In the digital environment, our customers can see the impacts of decisions in real time, and when issues arise, they can mitigate immediately to avoid rework and delays. This will have a transformative impact, enabling data-driven decision making, which saves time, reduces costs and shortens delivery timelines in ways we’ve never seen before. Our entire organization will be solving problems by using technology enablers like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, DevSecOps, Cloud Computing and 5G to not just understand but predict behavior. We see this in pockets now, but a full digital transformation will allow us to consistently apply these enablers in meaningful ways across not just our business but our entire industry.

From your business vantage point, what qualities put the Tucson region in a position to recover quicker economically and more effectively than other regions?   

We all know the ongoing impact of the pandemic has hit the commercial aerospace industry especially hard. But, on the defense side, where Raytheon Missiles & Defense is primarily focused, business remains strong. We are continuing to hire and expand our global footprint. And as the largest private employer in the region, that’s good news for Tucson. The city’s business-friendly regulatory environment and investment in workforce training and education make it very attractive to industry, and that enables businesses like RMD to attract top-notch talent to the region. It was also good news to read that Forbes magazine listed Tucson as one of the 10 U.S. cities best positioned to recover from coronavirus. The city is well known throughout our industry as an attractive and vibrant place for aerospace professionals who also look for flexibility, space, career progression and income growth. This should give Tucson a recovery advantage over many other cities across the country.

What are some of the attributes of Tucson that you personally enjoy?

Tucson is a beautiful place with rich culture, friendly people, great food and even better weather. We have 350 days of sunshine a year and can enjoy the outdoors more often than most other parts of the country. From hiking and rock climbing, cycling on The Loop, to attending a cultural event downtown or cheering on the Wildcats at a home game, there is so much activity and adventure this city has to offer. With its small town feel and charm, it’s a great place to raise a family.

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