Meet a Raytheon Leader
Vice President, Corporate Engineering
Brian Wells is vice president of Corporate Engineering. He oversees the development of engineering processes, tools and practices that enable enterprisewide collaboration in support of Raytheon's growth strategy. He fosters coordination among all businesses to offer customers best value solutions and technologies. Wells' prior leadership positions include Raytheon chief systems engineer, technical director of the Future Naval Capabilities business area, total ship system engineering lead for the Zumwalt program and chief engineer for the CVN-21 warfare system at Integrated Defense Systems.
Wells has been instrumental in defining many firsts for Raytheon processes: Raytheon System Engineering Process, system engineering metrics and system engineering maturity assessment. While manager of Systems Engineering for the Patriot program, Wells led the upgrade of system communications capabilities and tactical ballistic missile defense logic, resulting in today's Patriot Advanced Capabilities-3 system.
Brian Wells discusses his responsibilities as Corporate Engineering Vice President and some of the activities and initiatives on which Raytheon Engineering is focused.
TT: What are your primary roles as vice president of Corporate Engineering?
BW: Corporate Engineering works with Raytheon's six businesses to establish synergy and help the businesses work more effectively.
My responsibilities include improving how we do business, providing our customers with systems that deliver an expected level of mission assurance, and winning new business. I work directly with the six business vice presidents of engineering to identify and implement best practices. We are focused on implementing a comprehensive approach from design to delivery of our products, described by the phrase "design anywhere, build anywhere, test anywhere, support anywhere." This approach will enable our businesses to share resources and help resource critical technologies and skills.
While the process continuum encompasses design, build, test and support, we are currently focused on improving how we do business by managing the development of processes, tools and education that enable the "design anywhere" and the "build anywhere" components of the broader vision. The most significant process is Product Data Management. PDM manages all of our engineering designs and drawings. PDM is integrated with our production system, called PRISM (Process Re-invention Integrating Systems for Manufacturing). Corporate Engineering overseas the Raytheon Common Engineering Process (RECP) program that develops and maintains our common processes, including our Integrated Product Development System (IPDS).
TT: How have environmental issues affected Raytheon's business?
BW: Raytheon is actively working to eliminate potentially hazardous materials from our processes, facilities and products. Years ago we eliminated all chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs); now we are in the process of eliminating other substances that might put our employees or customers at risk. The challenge is to achieve elimination of these materials without interruption to first-rate product delivery for our customers. These substances are used because they possess special characteristics not attributable to other substances. For example, a material may provide a corrosion-protection coating that is unequaled by other substances. Our job is to find suitable substitutes for these materials that meet customer requirements. I sponsor a committee, composed of our leading experts, who focus on this on an ongoing basis
TT: What activities are you currently pursuing to help improve our engineering capabilities?
BW: Raytheon has many targeted programs to develop the engineering expertise necessary to be competitive and ensure customer success. Over the past ten years we have greatly strengthened our systems engineering and architecture capabilities through the Systems Engineering technical development program (SEtdp) and the Raytheon Certified Architect Program (RCAP). We have trained more than 750 systems engineers through SEtdp and more than 400 architects through RCAP. We have certified more than 150 Raytheon architects. Both programs have been a tremendous success and have helped to improve our capabilities in critical skill areas. In 2010, we initiated our new Cyber Security Learning program to address this critical need and trained more than 50 engineers.
This year, partnered with Johns Hopkins University (JHU), we graduated the first class of Masters of Science in Systems Engineering (MSSE) students. With greater than 200 students enrolled in the JHU MSSE program, we continue to expand and build a strong cadre of systems engineers.
The newest initiative aimed at all engineers is the Talent and Career Explorer (TACE) system. Initially rolled out at Missile Systems this year, it will extend to our other businesses within the next year. TACE provides engineers with a method of identifying their skills and comparing these to the requirements for the roles that interest them. With their skill assessment, engineers can select courses via LMS (Raytheon's learning management system) to close known skill gaps. TACE also provides managers with a method of quickly identifying engineers with critical skills who are needed to support specific programs. With TACE we can locate talent across the enterprise and improve our organizational synergy.
TT: For the past five years you have led teams who have examined the U.S. education system to determine methods for improving science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) graduation rates from U.S. universities and colleges. What was the purpose of those activities and what are you currently doing in this area?
BW: Our STEM activities started in 2006 with the goal of identifying the high leverage points in the U.S. education system. Our CEO asked us to determine where investment by government and industry would have the most benefit. To answer this question we had students in the SEtdp apply systems engineering methods to the U.S. education system. SEtdp teams analyzed this complex system as their way of learning systems engineering processes and methods. Through their research, computer modeling activities and systems engineering activities, we determined that the highest leverage point is freshman year of college. Only about 40 percent of freshman who declare a STEM degree will graduate with one in six years. This is a tremendous loss, given that these students were interested in STEM and were proficient upon university entrance. We also learned that, for engineering, women are significantly underrepresented. Only about 20 percent of engineers are women and only about 33 percent of physical scientists are women, despite the fact that they are equally as proficient as men in STEM up through 12th grade. Additionally, about 20 percent of disadvantaged and minority high school students, who are proficient and interested in STEM, do not even attend college. Based on this data, Raytheon has strengthened our focus on attracting women and minorities to science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
TT: What other activities are you involved with that provide mission assurance to our customers?
BW: One of my areas of concentration is on programs where there are issues that affect mission assurance. Engineering works closely with the Mission Assurance and Operations organizations. Our systems must provide our customers with the capabilities they expect the first time and every time. To ensure this, especially on the most challenging and highest risk programs, I actively participate in program and technical reviews. These are often the most challenging engineering problems where Raytheon employs leading-edge technology. My job is to connect with the best technical experts across the enterprise to address these challenges. We have tremendous capabilities within our company, and we perform best when the right people are quickly assigned.