VP, Raytheon Technologies, President, Raytheon Missiles and Defense
What are some issues that you think need more or better collaboration and how would you begin to address those?
Workforce development is the number one area that needs more collaboration with all our local partners. We should focus on developing a strong local pipeline, because highly skilled homegrown talent is more apt to stay and invest their talents in this community.
The skilled workforce I envision will require everything from advanced engineering degrees to vocational training. We’re addressing this need through our partnership with Pima County’s Joint Technical Education District, a public educational program that augments traditional high school with free, intensive career training. We also work with Pima Community College to influence certification programs and technical training, which allow workers to quickly gain new skills in manufacturing. This is important because a lot of what we do requires higher-skilled talent capable of advanced manufacturing.
Two of the top focus areas in the Pivot Playbook recovery plan are infrastructure and talent acquisition. Within those two focus areas, what are the most pressing issues for your organization and what can your organization do to address those?
The airport is a critical economic driver. We need more direct flights to key U.S. cities. More flights would help us better connect to our customers, suppliers, colleagues and future talent.
Beyond the airport, I think there’s a need for improved infrastructure, specifically roads. That could include widening the roads, especially I-10, and increasing driving speeds where possible. These improvements, along with others, will enhance our ability to move people and raw materials in and out of Tucson, which is essential to our growth and expansion.
We also spend a lot of time and energy on talent acquisition. We partner with UArizona to shape curricula as part of their industry advisory board, and we fund both engineering capstone and research and development projects. This helps keep innovative students thinking about the types of problems confronting industry today.
More broadly, we work with local school districts to support K-12 STEM programming and provide mentorship opportunities for students through academic enrichment programs, as well as financial support.
Tucson has developed a number of industry clusters that are gaining momentum in the region such as aerospace and defense, mining, biosciences and medicine, and various aspects of technology. Do you consider those to be areas that need continued focus and why?
These industry clusters are supported by UArizona’s undergraduate and advanced degree programs, and they are absolutely worth investing in further. The work done in these clusters is going a long way to enhance the economic competitiveness of the Arizona-Sonora region.
To thrive in Tucson, we must work with local and federal partners to grow and expand, and we partner extensively with UArizona in numerous ways. But we want those students to stay in Tucson when they graduate, and we’d like to see them contributing their talents to the aerospace and defense industry.