Presenting the Professional Achievement in Industry Award at the 2019 Black Engineer of the Year Awards (BEYA) STEM Conference in February, Raytheon’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Thomas Kennedy said that over 20 years with the company Cedric Fletcher has repeatedly proven his ability as an engineer, a manager, and a leader.
“He has worked on some of Raytheon’s high-profile defense systems, including the AIM-9X Sidewinder missile, Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile, and the new Standard Missile-3 Block IIA, which has recently tested successfully on multiple occasions,” Kennedy said.
Currently, as chief engineer for Raytheon’s cybersecurity mission area, Fletcher helps develop cyber solutions and protects a billion-dollar portfolio of domestic and international customers. All this while tutoring junior high and high school students in math and science and mentoring up-and-coming engineers throughout Raytheon.
Growing up in a military household, Fletcher said he was taught respect, order and the importance of higher education from parents that didn’t attend college.
“My mom’s constant statement of ‘you broke it, you fix it’ was the impetus for choosing a career in engineering,” he said. “While Mom’s motivation was a practical one, she could never have envisioned how rewarding that choice would be for me.”
Fletcher went on to earn a bachelor’s degree and a master’s in mechanical engineering from Northeastern University. He later returned to the University of Arizona for an M.B.A.
Fletcher’s first position with Raytheon was as a mechanical engineer and thermal analyst for radar systems. Over the last two decades, he has served in a diverse list of management and leadership roles across Littoral Warfare Weapon, Information Operations/Cyber, and Missile Programs.
“One of the biggest challenges, for me, was going from developing and delivering a very specific piece of hardware to developing and delivering solutions that are comprised of multiple fluid components: software, commercial products, hardware, people,” Fletcher told Raytheon in a feature on switching from mechanics to a cyber career.
In his current position, he leads more than 900 cybersecurity professionals. However, hiring is still one of the chief engineer’s biggest challenges.
“If we can get more mid-career professionals to consider joining the cybersecurity workforce,” he told Raytheon, “we may just be able to combat this talent epidemic.”