Norm Augustine Interview

Norm Augustine is the retired chairman and CEO of Lockheed Martin and for many, managing a major aerospace company would be accomplishment enough. Fortunately, Mr. Augustine has continued to be very active in areas where he sees the United States possibly losing its competitive edge. He chaired the National Academies Committee on Prospering in the Global Economy of the 21st Century.

There are lots of committees and commissions in Washington, DC but they don’t all have a big impact. He and the other committee members made sure their report — Rising Above the Gathering Storm — was influential. It hit a nerve because it discussed what so many know to be a problem that will dog us into the future: not enough engineers and scientists in the pipeline to keep the U.S. a pre-eminent economic power and not enough federal funding being plowed into basic research that yields big payoffs with new products and processes. This report played a big part in getting the attention of Congress and the administration and was certainly a factor in the President announcing his American Competitiveness Initiative in his state of the union address.

So it was appropriate to see that NY University’s public affairs department features an interview with Mr. Augustine in their spring 2006 newspaper, NYU Research. Author Jason Hollander was nice enough to share a link to the interview with us so we could pass it on. It’s worth a read if you wonder what the future of manufacturing looks like. Guess what? It’s up to us! Here’s a few lines from the interview with Mr. Augustine: “While the US economy has in fact been going well, the trends are moving in the wrong direction….There will be winners and losers in the future and we’d like to America to be one of the winners. The best thing is for credible individuals to speak to their legislative representatives…..Members of Congress need to be reminded that while only 4 percent of the nation’s jobs are in engineering and science, these are the people who create good jobs for others.”

And for another good reminder of what we face, be sure to visit www.usinnovation.org.