Diversity/Careers in Engineering & Information Technology



April/May 2011

Diversity/Careers April/May 2011 Issue

Women of color in IT
Aerospace & defense
Insurance IT
Manufacturing tech
Civil engineering
BEYA conference

Veteran-owned companies
WBENC conference preview
News & Views
Regional roundup
Supplier diversity

Diversity in action
News & Views

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Diversity In Action

Hamilton Sundstrand: plenty of career options here & abroad

"I wouldn't be surprised if we doubled our hiring this year," a VP says. "We have significant development activity in virtually every business"

Dave Carter, engineering and technology VP: 'Once we attract we want to retain.'Engineers at Hamilton Sundstrand can anticipate plenty of career options both here and abroad, as the company's aerospace work touches every major air framer in the world, says Dave Carter, VP of engineering and technology. "They can stay engineers and become technical experts or pursue a management-level job or move over to the business side of the organization."

Even with the economic dip in recent years Hamilton Sundstrand has never stopped hiring, Carter notes. In 2008 the company's business was growing and it hired about 500 engineers. Although things slowed down during the downturn in 2009 and 2010 the company still brought in a hundred engineers. This year Carter expects the company to pick up the pace.

"We won't be back to the 2008 levels, but I wouldn't be surprised if we doubled our hiring," he says. "Our demand for engineers is high. We have significant development activity in virtually every business."

Hamilton Sundstrand, a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp (Hartford, CT), is a global corporation with business units that design, manufacture and support aerospace and industrial products for worldwide markets. The company's aerospace business provides products for military vehicles and civilian and military aircraft. It is also the prime contractor for NASA's space suit/life support system and produces environmental control, life support, mechanical and thermal control systems for international space programs.

"Hamilton Sundstrand is a great place to work," Carter says. "We have one of the best employee-scholar programs in the country. We value our employees and provide in-house training and encourage pursuit of advanced degrees. We like our people to be the most educated in the world!"

Hamilton Sundstrand has some 3,000 engineers worldwide at almost thirty engineering sites. They are largely MEs, EEs and software engineers, plus ChEs and some material scientists and engineers at two material labs.

Twenty percent of new tech hires are right out of college, but the majority come with five to ten years of experience, Carter says. An aerospace or manufacturing background is good and software skills are valued across the board.

Many diverse techies are located through company contacts with NSBE and SWE and a corporate partnership with Inroads. "We've been the number-one provider of Inroads scholarships for three consecutive years and have given more than 200 scholarships," Carter notes. Last summer the company brought in some sixty Inroads interns, about half of them in engineering fields.

Once on board, employees go through a standard orientation program that includes diversity issues. Hamilton Sundstrand takes a local or regional approach to its diversity activities. For example, a diversity council in Rockford, IL studies concerns from employee resource groups (ERGs) in that area. Other regions have their own councils that focus on the local ERGs.

Hamilton Sundstrand did, however, hold a diversity summit last year with input from all the company's ERGs. And UTC, the parent company, has a technology council that oversees all its engineering groups: seven businesses get together monthly to discuss process as well as technical issues. Twice a year they look at diversity and best practices in the engineering staff, Carter says.

"We've been pretty successful bringing in women and Hispanics and we're pushing to recruit more African Americans," Carter notes. Last year the chief technology officer organized a group to go to the National Society of Black Engineers, "and we hired about a dozen engineers from there."

There are a number of ERGs and leadership forums at Hamilton Sundstrand, focused on African Americans, Inroads alums, veterans, Asian American young professionals, women, LGBT employees and several Hispanic groups. The ERGs have their own volunteer programs, and employees across the company get involved in the United Way, Junior Achievement, FIRST Robotics, Habitat for Humanity and Special Olympics.

Mentoring is strong. "Within the company we look to identify high-potential individuals and leaders, and when we do that we assign them mentors from within the existing ranks," Carter says. "Succession planning is part of the reason, and employee development is the other part. Once we attract, we want to retain."

Hamilton Sundstrand tries to accommodate employees' work/life needs if their life circumstances change, Carter says. It offers flexible, part-time and telecommuting options. Some sites have their own gyms; others have cooperative agreements with local gyms for their employees. Domestic partner benefits are offered in some of the larger locations.

Well-qualified job seekers may even get more than one job offer from Hamilton Sundstrand, Carter notes. "We do different types of work in different locations. Rockford is electrical; San Diego is mechanical and Windsor Locks has a variety of jobs. We try to match our needs with employees' desires."


Hamilton Sundstrand
Hamilton Sundstrand

Headquarters: Windsor Locks, CT
Employees: About 17,000
Revenues: $5.6 billion in 2010
Business: Designs, manufacturers and supports aerospace and industrial products for worldwide markets

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