“In my opinion, the reason I’ve succeeded is because I learned the soft skills and gained the fundamental understanding of financial structures at EMTM that have helped me get things done.”
Chris Cargado, EMTM’00
Engineering Project Manager and Deputy Technical Director, Homeland Security Energy Market
Chris Cargado, EMTM’00
Chris initially joined Lockheed Martin (then General Electric) as an electrical and computer systems engineer supporting DoD programs to modernize a 1970s technology base for the U.S. Navy Aegis ships. She was at Lockheed Martin for eight years when she recognized what she perceived as a gap in her capabilities. “As an engineer I had no insight about how money was handled. I knew that to make a compelling case for technology I had to present it in a language that would resonate with the decision makers.”
Chris first heard about EMTM through a peer at her company who was attending the program and brought a class project to a work meeting. At the time she was craving intellectual stimulation and the program intrigued her. “When I found out two other people at my company for whom I have a high level of respect also attended EMTM, I got serious about it. I realized the program would have direct applicability to my work and would make it easier for me to get things done at the technical level.” Before making her decision to enroll, Chris researched EMTM’s professors and found they were more than “classroom people churning out publications,” but current leaders in their respective fields.
Shortly after graduating from EMTM, Chris explored other possibilities working in information systems at two other companies before retuning to Lockheed Martin to work in the Homeland Security division, where she now works on a number of different projects in the critical infrastructure protection area that targets the energy and petrochemical market.
Chris has found that EMTM serves her well in her current role. “I pull out many of my EMTM textbooks on a regular basis.” In Marketing Strategies she learned how to step outside her engineer shoes, craft a business plan and submerge herself in the needs and expectations of the customer. Finance gave her a greater appreciation of how financial strategy and asset turnover worked at her company. Another eye-opener was Strategic Management of Intellectual Property, where she became aware of timing considerations in introducing new technologies. Most memorable was a class with Alvin Lehnerd, who held executive positions at Black & Decker, Sunbeam, and Steelcase, and led several well-known developments and innovations resulting in new product successes, including Black & Decker's Dustbuster, Sunbeam's first electronic auto-shut off and global iron product lines, plus the complete redesign of Black and Decker's double insulated consumer power tools. In that class she studied the value of product platforms and the methodology and organizational approach for designing, developing and revitalizing strong products from one generation of technology to the next a model she has since adopted and now implements at Lockheed Martin.
Now working in a “white space” area of the business, Chris finds herself climbing utility poles and radio towers, designing and installing perimeter intrusion detection systems, engaging customers, working with manufacturers and R&D, and assembling and leading teams. At EMTM she fostered a leadership style that serves her well today as an engineering project manager and deputy technical director, but also enables her to continue performing as an individual contributor.
For Chris the motivation to attend EMTM was about developing skills and confidence not about changing jobs or careers, though advancement has been a natural byproduct of her decision to attend. “In my opinion, the reason I’ve succeeded is because I learned the soft skills and gained the fundamental understanding of financial structures at EMTM that have helped me get things done.”