EL SEGUNDO, Calif., June 30, 2009 -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) has honored Jerry Huben, its longest-tenured employee who is retiring after an engineering career that began in 1941.
Huben, 88, received accolades from company leaders, elected officials and co-workers at a ceremony recognizing his 68 years of service.
"The contributions of Jerry Huben, which span nearly seven decades, are truly remarkable," said Gary W. Ervin, corporate vice president and president of Northrop Grumman's Aerospace Systems sector. "We should all aspire to do what we love in our work, and Jerry's long and rewarding career is a testament to that."
Huben joined the Northrop Aircraft Co. on Nov. 10, 1941, two years after the company was founded. Despite his engineering certificate, he was hired as a riveter because, he says, "They didn't need more engineers at the time." Less than one month later, the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor changed all that.
With the United States at war, Huben was soon assigned to an engineering team at Northrop (a hearing impairment kept him out of the military). In the nearly seven decades since, he made significant contributions to aircraft that span the evolution from propeller-driven planes to the stealthy, jet-powered designs of today. Among them are the P-61, the XB-35 and XB-49 flying wings, F-89, T-38, F-5, F-20, YF-17, YF-23, and the B-2 stealth bomber, also a flying wing.
Huben's memories include fond recollections of the company's founder, aviation pioneer Jack Northrop.
"He made a point of coming around regularly to talk with the employees to see how things were going," Huben said of Northrop, who died in 1981. "He really liked to do that."
Huben says the favorite aircraft he worked on is the YF-17. He is a co-holder of the patent for that design, which became the basis for the F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet, the U.S. Navy's current frontline multirole fighter. Northrop Grumman is the principal subcontractor to The Boeing Co. for the F/A-18.
For the last several years, Huben has been a project engineer on the F/A-18 program.
Huben's retirement plans include flying radio-controlled airplanes, a longtime hobby, and "expanding my abilities on the computer." He will also spend more time with his six children, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. He and his wife, Dorothy, live in the same house they moved into 60 years ago.
When Huben started working, the tools of his trade were the slide rule and drafting board. Today, design engineers use sophisticated 3-D computer software.
At least one thing hasn't changed, Huben says.
"They used to have license plate frames in the company store that said Northrop was a great place to work," he recalls. "Well, that's still true today. Working here has been one of the most wonderful experiences of my life."
Northrop Grumman Corporation is a leading global security company whose 120,000 employees provide innovative systems, products, and solutions in aerospace, electronics, information systems, shipbuilding and technical services to government and commercial customers worldwide.
CONTACT: Jim Hart Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems (310) 331-3616 (310) 466-5509 mobile firstname.lastname@example.org