Patricia Libby Gantt ’11 (environmental sustainability, health and safety) makes sure that if her team is soaring into the stratosphere that they are first safe on the ground when they are building Lockheed Martin’s high-powered aircraft.
Gantt, environmental safety and health engineer with Lockheed Martin, completed the company’s Operations Leadership Development Program, a two-year rotational program.
She worked several positions varying from a manufacturing engineer on the C-130 military transport airplane program at Lockheed’s aeronautics site in Marietta, Ga., to a subcontracts administrator supporting the Live Training Program at the Mission Systems and Training facility in Orlando, Fla.
Gantt is supporting the safety efforts of the company, which builds and modifies aircraft such as fighter jets, large transport planes and surveillance aircraft. She is part of a growing number of environmental managers influencing sustainability, quality and safety efforts in companies today.
“Our group literally does save lives— at Lockheed and outside of the company—because if we make any aircraft that has a defect or foreign debris in a critical area, that could take down the aircraft,” she said. “I see the direct effect of what I do every day.”
After going to Mexico in her second year at RIT as part of a study abroad program, Gantt found she enjoyed field studies and wanted to pursue a career where she could stretch her wings. She changed her original major from biotechnology to environmental sustainability, health and safety.
“I’ve always loved science and this program was perfect. I knew this was what I wanted to do,” she said. “The level of knowledge I gained from classes and the curriculum at RIT was top notch already, but what really made it even better was the hands-on experience I was able to get in labs, going on different field trips and having professors who shared their real-world experiences with us.”
She also had an affinity for aircraft from listening to her grandfather talk about his experiences as an Air Force C5 large transport aircraft mechanic. Ironically, her last co-op as an RIT undergraduate was with the C5 team at Lockheed Martin. This was also the team she eventually went to work with full time after graduation.
Lockheed’s leadership program was not so different from Gantt’s classroom and co-op experiences at RIT. These were key when she began her job search.
“I definitely use this degree to its fullest in my role with Lockheed. The sense of pride that I see within this company—they are as loyal to their employees as they are to the country. They make sure that national and international security is at the forefront,” Gantt said. “To me that is really inspiring, and that’s one of the reasons I continue to pursue this type of work.”