Lockheed Martin is well-known as one of the largest defense contractors in the world, and its Space Systems division manufactures everything from military satellites to space probes to missile defense systems and futuristic spacecraft.
Much of this cutting-edge development takes place at Lockheed’s Sunnyvale, CA facility, where thousands of brilliant engineers and machinists craft some of the most remarkable aerospace technology known to man – but none of it would be possible without a dedicated team of IBEW 1245 members who maintain all of the electrical components throughout the sprawling campus.
“We basically keep the facility running all the way from the ground up,” explained IBEW 1245 member and Shop Steward Todd Shiels, who has worked at the plant for 17 years. “We take care of the two high voltage yards. We do lighting. We have boom trucks. We do new construction. We do FMRs (facility modification requests). We do service requests and general maintenance of the whole plant, electrical-wise … and also residential, mechanical, and industrial type of work.”
Much of the development that goes on inside of Lockheed’s facilities is classified, and about half of the 1245 members at the Sunnyvale plant hold high level clearances since they work in these very specialized areas. Without clearance, the Utility Reporter was unable to get a look inside the plant, and the members are strictly prohibited from discussing the details of what’s being developed there, but there’s no question that working at Lockheed isn’t your average run-of-the-mill job.
“It’s a vast amount of knowledge and skillset that you need to have to work here,” said Shiels. “The job changes daily, you’re not stuck doing one thing. We have multiple jobs that we do, and it’s something new every single day … We work with our techs and we work with mechanics, and it’s kind of like a team effort where everybody works together to get the job done.”
Shiels is a proud and grateful 25-year IBEW member, having worked out of Local 332, as well as Local 2131 before it merged with Local 1245 five years ago.
“When we joined 1245, it was really uplifting for the guys that work here to have that backing, and to have that professionalism that 1245 has,” said Shiels. “It’s been a real blessing in regards to negotiating contracts and basically bringing our value up.”
“When I came here, I actually took a pay cut, and was making $26 an hour. Now we’re making over $50 an hour,” he added, emphasizing the real difference that Local 1245 has made for the IBEW members at Lockheed.
Learn more about Lockheed Martin Space Systems at https://www.lockheedmartin.com/en-us/capabilities/space.html.
–Rebecca Band, IBEW 1245 Communications Director