Legends: Who They Are – Marillyn Hewson | The University of Alabama

Legends: Who They Are – Marillyn Hewson | The University of Alabama


(upbeat music) – I was born in Junction City, Kansas which is near Fort Riley and my father was with the Department of the Army and my mother had been a
nurse during World War II, so she met my father there at Fort Riley. He was a civilian with
the Department of the Army and we moved to Alaska
and we thought from there we’d go on to Washington D.C. next, but unfortunately my
dad died and my mother had five small children,
so we moved back to Kansas and I was in Kansas for
most of my young life until I reached my senior
year in high school and that summer beforehand
my mother decided she wanted to move closer
to her family in Alabama. We moved my senior year
and I went to school at Tuscaloosa County High School in Northport, Alabama
right near Tuscaloosa and as a result of that you know my roots now are in Alabama. Because my mother was a
widow with five children she couldn’t pay for my
education, so it was my job to go figure out how to
pay for my education. Being right there in Tuscaloosa, near the University of Alabama of course that was where my
sights were because I had a job and I needed to work
full-time and go to school. University of Alabama had
a tremendous reputation. I was interested in the
business school, which had an outstanding reputation,
so everything worked. It was a natural fit for me. Well it was great to be at
the University of Alabama. First off, we had a superb football team as we do today, so that was exciting. I was in the business school
and very interested in what my opportunities would be there and just being in campus
life was wonderful. I enjoyed going to football games and basketball games, interaction
in the Greek life there, even though I wasn’t in a sorority. So I met my husband James at
the University of Alabama. We were both students and that really was the start of our life together. We actually married at
the University of Alabama at Gorgas House and I
went on to Graduate School at the university, so we spent a lot of our early days at the
University of Alabama. It really is the roots and the basis for us for the long term
life that we’ve had together. I had an undergraduate
business degree and then a masters in economics and I
had the good fortune of great faculty at the University
of Alabama that pointed me to my first job and
that was as an economist with the Bureau of Labor
Statistics in Washington D.C.. In the course of that I did some studies on the defense industry
and other industries and my next position
that I interviewed for was at Lockheed in Marietta, Georgia and took a position there as
a Senior Industrial Engineer. So my background in
economics, my business degree all matched well, building
on my business background and my great education from the university allowed me then to move up
through the organization at Lockheed and now Lockheed Martin. What was important to me
was to the best I could on today’s job, but when
there were opportunities for training, to serve
on special assignments I would assess that along
with my family and you know make those choices to get
out of my comfort zone to build on my experience
base, and that’s what I often tell students and young people. Look for ways that you continue
to build your collection of experiences, broaden
your base of expertise so that you can continue to grow. For me, that’s what
happened at Lockheed Martin over the course of my 30
plus years with the company. I’ve had 20 different leadership positions in operations and running
companies and running large programs and through
that, built on that experience, so when I face a new problem,
it may be new problem but I can draw on that
collection of experiences for me to address that problem or that opportunity that comes to bear. Well for my husband James
and I, the University of Alabama is where
everything started for us and because of that we view
that as sort of the basis for our professional success as well as our personal success as a family. When we are given the
opportunity to give back and looked around at where
we could make a difference we wanted to give back to
the University of Alabama. We looked at what could make a difference and if you look at the 21st
century and all the needs there’s a lot of changes in big data, data analytics, data
science, cybersecurity. So our first entry point
was in giving a gift for the labs and the
graduate assistant-ships and professorships in data
science and cyber security. We gave our gift for Hewson
Hall because we think that’s a place where the
students of today and the future are going to be able to blossom
and achieve their desires in life, but also support
research to help others. At the University of Alabama,
there’s so many opportunities to get engaged in a range of things. I’d say put your education
first, but be a well-rounded person that engages in
community activities. Always be looking for the
opportunity to broaden yourself. So get out of your
comfort zone, maybe you’re an engineer, but broaden into other areas. Maybe you’re an economist,
like I was, broaden into other areas, but
look for ways that you can build that collection of
experiences and get out of your comfort zone and take
advantage of opportunities that come along so that
you’re constantly broadening your expertise and experience
that can contribute to the organization where you work.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *