Diversity/Careers in Engineering & Information Technology



April/May 2013

Diversity/Careers April/May 2013

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Siemens DRS Technologies
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Diversity In Action

DRS brings tech products and services to military and others

This global tech provider is recruiting diverse pros at all levels. Employees are proud to make products that help the military

Five values make up the core of the social responsibility policy at DRS Technologies: integrity, quality, customer focus, leadership and diversity. DRS is a supplier of integrated products, services and support to military forces, intelligence agencies, prime contractors, and commercial security operations worldwide. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Finmeccanica SpA (Rome, Italy).

“We have about forty locations across twenty-two states,” reports Liz Fricke, director of talent acquisition in DRS’ Gaithersburg, MD office. “We also have a significant number of employees deployed with our armed forces around the world working shoulder-to-shoulder with the warfighters.

“DRS products and services are diverse, and we are somewhat unusual among mid-tier defense suppliers in that we offer both products and services,” she says. “It’s all broadly focused on situational awareness, providing warfighters and their command with the gear and the know-how to get a complete view of what’s happening around them.”

Aggressive recruitment
“We are committed to being the employer of choice,” Fricke stresses, “and technical staff is very important to us. We look for diverse, qualified, talented individuals who can help innovate, and meet and exceed our customers’ expectations.

“Many of our new hires and ongoing needs include engineers in software, robotics, mechanical, electrical and systems. Systems engineers are particularly needed. Even our program managers have technical backgrounds.”

In addition to aggressive recruitment, DRS uses networking, media outlets and employee referrals to attract new hires. To attract a diverse applicant pool, “we post positions on diversity-focused websites,” explains Fricke.

Recruiting diverse students and pros
DRS looks to capture a diverse workforce through its co-op and intern programs, which are “a combination of summer and six-month programs depending upon which DRS entity we are talking about,” says Fricke. “Some are formal programs. For example, in Horsham, PA we partner with Drexel University (Philadelphia, PA) on a co-op program. We attend career fairs sponsored by professional organizations like the Society of Women Engineers, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, and the National Society of Black Engineers. We have management and engineers attend as well as HR, and diverse employees at senior technical levels.”

Diversity and work-life at DRS
Within DRS, formalized employee resource groups are in the works. And for several years, DRS has had a successful mentorship program called “One-2-One,” pairing newer employees with more seasoned, senior-level people and aligning them by function.

DRS offers flexible work schedules in some cases. “You may be able to work eighty hours in nine days and have every other Friday off,” Fricke explains. “I think we have had people come to DRS just for that reason,” she adds.

“We also offer flex scheduling and telework if it can be arranged with one’s manager. We offer family leave for child care and elder care; we want to help employees maintain a healthy work-life balance.”

DRS is proud of the diversity of its workforce, including in executive levels on both the tech and business sides of the organization. “Diversity is part of every employee’s annual review process,” says Fricke. “Every employee is rated on valuing diversity and cultural effectiveness. All our employees take it seriously.”

DRS gives back
The company’s community outreach is done at both corporate and local levels. Fricke cites one effort last year that provided thirteen different universities with electro-optical infrared cameras, thermal imaging equipment usually used for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions and valued at thousands of dollars apiece.

“Our Networking and Imaging Systems group (Melbourne, FL) had a student infrared imaging competition among the leading universities in that field,” she says. “We make these cameras for homeland defense and military applications, but we offered students the chance to come up with creative ways to use them. The winning team from the University of Memphis (Memphis, TN) found a way to detect counterfeit money using infrared radiation.”

Helping the military is a selling point
DRS employees take pride in the company’s work. Fricke notes that DRS runs the satellite uplinks and downlinks for in-theater Internet cafes where deployed men and women can connect with their families at home. “We had a Marine who got to witness the birth of his child,” she says. “We’ve had soldiers attend their children’s birthday parties. It’s today’s mail call except it’s electronic.”

At the military outposts, conditions are harsh. “You have computers in tents and constantly blowing sand, but our people know how to make equipment work even in those conditions. When our special forces need communications in unusual locations, we can get them a dial tone within twenty-four hours anywhere on earth.

“People work at DRS because of the ways we touch those who protect our freedom,” Fricke says proudly.



Headquarters: Arlington, VA
Employees: 6,900
Business: Products, services and support to military forces, intelligence agencies and contractors

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