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Retired aerospace and defense executive Linda Gooden, the 2006 Black Engineer of the Year, was a guest on Thursday’s BEYA webinar. She spoke about leadership success and the business of technology with Tyrone Taborn, US Black Engineer & Information Technology magazine publisher and co-founder of the Black Engineer of the Year Awards (BEYA) STEM Conference.

It was some time ago when you had this idea of selling information technology to the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration), Tyrone Taborn said in his introduction.

“You went to (Lockheed Martin) and said you needed $200,000, and were going to make $11Million in that year. But in fact, the seed money you received from the company was $600,000 and you made $24 Million in 12 months,” Taborn said. How does somebody come up with that kind of concept and make it work? Asked Taborn.

“It was actually $23.6Million,” Gooden said modestly of her now legendary 2005 profit and loss account.

No doubt about it the return on investment was exponential when Gooden and four of her colleagues developed a business plan for that new venture within Lockheed. The FAA awarded Gooden’s group a $1.9-billion contract. Under her leadership, Lockheed’s information technology (IT) division became a leader in government information technology systems, with 14,000 employees in 70 domestic sites and 18 foreign countries, and more than $2.2 billion in revenues.

“I had a small group of people who really believed that we could take the skills and capabilities we had and turn that into a business,” Gooden added. “They understood a business plan, they understood the technology, and equally as important they understood the environment was looking for those things,” she said.

The environment Gooden refers to is that the federal government intended to automate its massive infrastructure. In a 2006 interview with USBE magazine, Gooden tells the story about how the FAA awarded Gooden’s group a $1.9-billion contract. Listen and find out how Linda Gooden made sure her vision was executable.

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