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MALLORY CURTICE

(Texas Christian)

The Fighter Jet Buyer

"I love how this job has pushed me to grow."

Mallory works in subcontract management for the F-35 program at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics negotiating contracts to purchase parts for the F-35 war fighter jets. A normal day for Mallory is filled with meetings with engineers, internal and external customers, leadership and suppliers to locate parts and support services for aircrafts in the field. “In my area, I negotiate and issue contracts, track parts and services to delivery, including any issues that may arise until the contract has been closed out,” she explains. “I get a proud feeling every time I leave in the evening because I see the F-35 flying on my way out of the plant. Knowing I was a part of helping that plane fly is an amazing feeling.”

Extended Interview 

What does a regular day at work look like?

I wake up at 5:30 a.m. and arrive at work by 7 a.m., planning to depart near 4:45 p.m. My job is subcontract management for the F-35 program at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics. A normal day is filled with meetings, either on the phone or in person, where I strategize how to best support the aircraft in the field. My purpose for on-going conversations with engineers, internal and external customers, leadership and suppliers is to locate parts and support services and have them forwarded to the field. In my area, I negotiate and issue contracts for them, track these parts and services to delivery, including any issues that may arise until the contract has been closed out. My evenings involve church activities, Sorority volunteering or spending time with friends.

Why do you love what you do?

I get a proud feeling every time I leave in the evening because I see the F-35 flying on my way out of the plant. Knowing that I was a part of helping that plane fly and that it will help protect my country is an amazing feeling that makes it easy to get up for work in the morning.

How did you discover your passion for your job?

Although I was never a person who embraced conflict, a big part of my job involves negotiating. Growing up, I avoided confrontation. Yet, to fulfill my subcontracting job, I have learned to prepare arguments to defend my position and how to present these arguments calmly, while listening to contradicting positions. My passion for this job has grown through the failures of wanting to do better and the pride I hold when I negotiate successfully. I love how this job has pushed me to grow in my professional and personal life.

How do you define success?

Success to me is when I am proud and excited of the work I’ve done and I’m excited to share my story with others.

What motivates you?

I am motivated by people depending on me and my desire to make my friends and family proud. I have personal pride in myself and desire to be self-sufficient.

When you earned your master's degree, how did you balance your time?

I continued to work full-time. I am fortunate that my work schedule allows me to have every other Friday off. While earning my master’s degree, I attended class each of those Fridays off from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. We did an entire class in five days spread over a semester. Mentally, those eight-hour days were grueling. However, the class was filled with other Lockheed Martin coworkers who understood the commitments from the job and the classroom. We encouraged each other and helped each other reach graduation day.

Why did you decide to get your Master of Science in Manufacturing Systems Management?

I work in a manufacturing environment. While I am on the business side of the house, my job directly impacts the manufacturing line. I wanted to better understand that manufacturing environment, so I could see how each side impacts the other.

Where did you grow up?

Sugar Land, Texas

Where do you live now?

Fort Worth, Texas

What is your theme song?

Anything by Whitney Houston.

What are four things you can't live without?

My family, Bible, Diet Coke and cell phone.

Has this degree benefited you in your career?

A classmate connected with my current manager to have me interview for my current position. All about that networking!

How did you come up with some of your ideas for Lockheed employees to get involved with the community like working at the food bank and animal shelter?

Often, I asked those who volunteered what they were most passionate about themselves. Volunteers are eager to assist in areas for which they themselves care. I tried to find groups that were local to Fort Worth and the Tarrant County area. I was challenged to locate organizations that would accept large groups in the evenings. Young professionals often have more time to volunteer in the weekday evenings.

I know you spent time volunteering in Belize. What was it like teaching children’s programs and assisting with medical care?

I worked with the construction crews and children’s ministry with my church. It was hot and humid, but one of the best trips of my life. We laid PVC pipes to run water and electricity to a pavilion being built and we helped put poles in the ground to hang tarps up to protect their garden from the intense sun.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

Always re-read your emails before you send them. You think faster than you type!

What is the worst advice you’ve ever received?

Stay with a job out of loyalty or stay thinking it might change. I have learned if an opportunity presents itself, you should take it.

Is there anything you’d like to share with our readers?

I have a seven-year-old dog that is a Spaniel mix named Gunner. I adopted him in 2012 when I got lonely living without roommates. He’s very cute and very energetic!

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