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The engineer as executive

Danielle Curcio: From math major to corporate leader

Danielle Curcio's oversees a team of more than 6,000 engineers. She hopes to inspire more young women to pursue careers in the field.

Danielle Curcio credits her penchant for problem-solving and willingness to take on new challenges for her unique position as a top executive engineer at Raytheon.

As Raytheon's chief software engineer, Curcio worked with each of the company's businesses to coordinate and promote best practices for the company as a whole. She helped to create launch algorithms for Patriot and built a cyber range from scratch at the Cyber Operations, Development and Evaluation Center.

Now, as  vice president of engineering for Raytheon’s Integrated Defense Systems business, she oversees more than 6,000 engineers working on a wide range of products, including Global Patriot Solutions, the world’s most advanced air and missile defense system; Air and Missile Defense Radar, a scalable radar for the U.S. Navy that snaps together like LEGO blocks; and the AN/TPY-2, a bus-sized radar that defends against the growing threat of ballistic missiles.

“We have some of the best experts in the world working here,” Curcio said.

Curcio brings strong leadership to the defense industry as it deals with cuts to government spending, emerging overseas threats and a steady transition into the cyber sector, among other challenges.

“The landscape for defense has changed and engineering is changing with it,” she said. “We have come a long way and will continue to become more productive and cost-competitive.”

There's also a personal goal: Curcio hopes to help inspire the next generation of engineers. She emphasizes the need to gather a broad variety of perspectives to help navigate a career.

“Having an array of mentors can help you learn and will help you through your professional struggles,” she said. “Finding a group of people willing to offer advice will go a long way in propelling your career."

The other advice she gives: Don't be afraid to fail.

“We often learn more from our failures than we do from our successes,” she said. “The fear of failure will only hold you back.” 

Last Updated: 02/24/2016

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