Michael T. Strianese
Michael T. Strianese is chairman and CEO of L-3, and a strong advocate of STEM-related education. His commitment is centered on developing tomorrow’s science and engineering leaders to ensure that our men and women in uniform have the most innovative technology available. In 2014, Mr. Strianese served on the Board of Trustees and bolstered the expansion of STEM education at his former high school with a $1 million gift as part of the Michael T. Strianese ’74 STEM Program at Xaverian, established through a partnership with Project Lead the Way. His firm belief in the power of STEM-related education is reflected in his founding of the annual L-3 Engineers of the Year Awards program.
Mr. Strianese played a key role in L-3’s formation in 1997 and served as the company’s first vice president of finance and controller. Following L-3’s Initial Public Offering in 1998, he was promoted to senior vice president of finance in 2001. Mr. Strianese was appointed chief financial officer in 2005 and in 2006 was named president and CEO and was elected as a director. Until 2007, he also served as the company’s first corporate ethics officer, where he led the development and implementation of a comprehensive, company-wide integrity program. In 2008, Mr. Strianese was elected chairman of the company’s board of directors.
Mr. Strianese served as chairman of the Aerospace Industries Association in 2014. He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Mr. Strianese received the 2014 Coast Guard Foundation Award and he has also been recognized by the Association of the United States Army with its John W. Dixon Award for outstanding contributions to national defense and has received the Semper Fidelis Award from the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, as well as the Eisenhower Distinguished Citizen Award from the Army Distaff Foundation.
Headquartered in New York City, L-3 employs approximately 38,000 people worldwide and is a leading provider of a broad range of communication and electronic systems and products used on military and commercial platforms. L-3 is also a prime contractor in aerospace systems. The company reported 2015 sales of $10.5 billion.
As a provider of innovative solutions that help its customers achieve their goals, L-3 is committed to encouraging STEM education initiatives, from elementary to postgraduate schools, that turn today’s students into tomorrow’s scientists and engineers. We do this by visiting schools and universities and speaking to students about the difference a STEM education can make in their lives. We also support various STEM-related programs with communities and universities, and participate in career fairs and mentoring programs. In addition, we invite students to work side by side with our engineers in internships that often lead to full-time positions and fulfilling professional careers.
Over the long term, the leaders in our industry are the companies that are able to attract and retain the best technical talent. By supporting STEM programs starting in the formative school years, we have a wonderful opportunity to inspire a love of technology and the difference it can make. In a competitive, international economy, it is our responsibility to promote STEM education as a pathway to a fulfilling life and career.
We look at STEM as a mutually beneficial opportunity – both for students and for L-3. We encourage our engineers to develop mentoring relationships with students, entry-level workers and new hires. This familiarizes them with our products and technologies and fosters their ability to contribute in a meaningful way. In turn, we get the benefit of a fresh perspective and an energized workforce. We support STEM initiatives in many of our local communities as part of our focus on corporate citizenship.
For example, our Salt Lake City business provides high-capacity, networked communications solutions. We work closely with Utah’s highly ranked universities to attract top engineering talent. Through our work on Utah’s university advisory boards and technology councils, we have developed strong relationships with students and administrators. Our STEM support extends to our partnerships with high schools, trade schools and community colleges.
In Greenville, Texas, we provide highly technical systems for airborne intelligence gathering and systems integration solutions. We welcome Greenville High School students to our facility to work with our engineers in electrical manufacturing to learn basic skills and acquire valuable project experience.
We also support the Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC), which is the world’s largest student rocket contest and an important component of promoting STEM education to the workforce of the future. These are just a few examples of how L-3 is focusing on STEM as a strategic tool in nurturing engineering talent and staying competitive.
Diversity in the workplace enriches the environment with new and different experiences and perspectives. In the context of STEM education, diversity has a direct positive impact on approaches to solving complex technological challenges. You might think of it as a shortcut to innovation, if you will, because it gives us a bigger arsenal of brainpower and a broader pool of ideas from which to create innovative solutions.
In recruiting college graduates for STEM careers at L-3, we have developed partnerships with diversity-related publications such as US Black Engineer & IT, Hispanic Engineer & Information Technology, and Women of Color Magazine. We also participate in important diversity-focused groups, such as the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME), the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Diversity & Inclusion Conference. Our partnerships with various universities, including MIT, are examples of our commitment to nurturing a diverse pipeline for engineering talent.
That’s an excellent question because it gets to the heart of our effectiveness as an organization, which is our people. The advances from STEM education only come when company mentors provide pertinent context. What is our company trying to accomplish? What are the goals of our customers? How can we build on our customer relationships? Who is our competition and how do we differentiate ourselves? All the STEM innovations won’t deliver their intended result if we’re shooting at the wrong targets, so to speak. This is why working collaboratively is so important. We are seeking pathways to connect STEM with students and our business. The more information we have and the broader our talent pool, the more likely we are to succeed in meeting our customers’ needs and helping them to achieve their goals.
It’s no secret that technological advances abroad have mounted a serious challenge to the United States’ competitive profile. In some ways, we have become complacent about our long-held global leadership status, while other nations, our adversaries among them, have made significant inroads. The lesson here is that technological breakthroughs and innovations are not to be taken for granted. They require persistence and hard work, two of the cornerstones of STEM education. That’s why our company and our industry are focusing on STEM as a competitive discriminator.
It would not be an overstatement to say that our national security is partially reliant on STEM-trained professionals. When you think about it logically, a STEM education yields innovative technologies. These lead to state-of-the-art products and services, many of which are used by our men and women in uniform. The better we are at our jobs, the more effective our military will be in defending our freedoms. Internationally, that contributes to global stability, which benefits everyone.