Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding of Newport News hired its first Virginia Tech engineering graduate in 1898. Today, with some 348 Virginia Tech alums working at the facility, Northrop Grumman has decided to have its own business address at the Corporate Research Center (CRC).

"It's important to us to have a presence here – not only to attract the best and brightest graduates to come work for us, but to be close to where the new technologies are being developed. At Northrop Grumman, our strength is taking those technologies and integrating them into new applications and platforms. The relationship has worked very well for us so far, and we expect it to get even better," said Matthew Mulherin, sector vice president and general manager of Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding. Mulherin cited the prolific number of collaborative projects that already support Northrop Grumman’s aircraft carrier and submarine programs.

"I think Virginia Tech, in large part because of its history as a land-grant university, is grounded in the real world, day-to-day challenges in engineering," Mulherin added. "In other words, how engineering can help society. And that really is the basis for this relationship."

The Blacksburg office represents all of Northrop Grumman, not just the shipbuilding sector. With 120,000 employees in offices around the world, it is the second largest defense contractor in the United States in terms of revenue.

Some 22 Northrop Grumman executives from Newport News, Va., attended the dedication of the new office, as well as a host of Virginia Tech administrators and College of Engineering faculty who conduct research that is of interest to the company. The new office is a suite located at 1715 Pratt Drive in Blacksburg.

Corporate Research Center Director Joe Meredith, who has an aerospace engineering bachelor’s degree as well as a Ph.D. in industrial engineering, both from Virginia Tech, spent the first 22 years of his career at Newport News Shipbuilding. "I believe I have a unique perspective on how Northrop Grumman and Virginia Tech will be able to complement each other," he said.

In the future, Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding says they plan for the opening of a second office at the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center. Also, Northrop Grumman recently signed a $1 million research agreement with the university.

The College of Engineering and Northrop Grumman plan collaborative efforts to jointly pursue government research contracts, and the company plans to provide philanthropic funding for the College’s new nuclear engineering program, the new Virginia Tech Foundry Institute for Research and Education program initiative, and alternative energy initiatives.

The College of Engineering has additional relationships in place with Northrop Grumman Electrical in Baltimore through its Space @ VT research and education program and other projects.

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