Executive Insights – Interview with Lee Fellows, Lockheed Martin UK – Ampthill
LMUK Ampthill is responsible for the design, development and manufacture of a wide range of military and civil products including Protection Systems, Weapons, Special Projects, and Vehicle Systems. Lee Fellows, VP and Managing Director, tells us how the Ampthill business has adapted through the Covid-19 pandemic and reveals a significant programme the business is working on for 2021.
What challenge did you tackle and overcome in your business this week?
I have responsibility for approximately 850 permanent staff, with about 150 on site either at Ampthill or various other facilities. This week we had a confirmed case of COVID-19 from one of our on-site staff. I was delighted to see how the site worked this through, following our established protocols, to ensure both the individual staff member was safe and the wider site was also protected.
Innovation has always been key to Lockheed Martin UK’s success, how has this continued in these challenging times?
One of the positives during the last 7 months has been how we’ve adapted ways of working to ensure we continue to deliver our commitments. I see lots of examples – ranging from electronic acceptance (instead of paper copies) through to how we’ve sustained our Warrior vehicle acceptance trials (in a vehicle where it isn’t appropriate to wear additional masks and in a tight working space with others). The last example has been identified by our customer as best practice for how we respond to challenges and overcome together.
What have you learnt about your business as a result of the current pandemic? Where were you resilient and where were you vulnerable and why?
I’ve relearnt a lesson – that people deliver output – it’s about how we pull together which deliver results. We continue to be more resilient than we expected to be honest – our business resilience lead has led a first class response to this challenging situation and enabled our approach to issues to be more coherent with our customer as most of our work is in a mixed environment. I am very mindful that this can change on a daily basis however so.. constant vigilance!
Nothing is possible without a strong team, how have your people responded?
Our people have been fantastic – with a positive approach and a recognition that it won’t be perfect, we’ve continued to meet our customer commitments – which is a significant achievement – this has also been achieved by our supply chains good work too of course – it really is a team sport.
What are the new working norms starting to look like for your organisation?
Our IT tools are going through an upgrade, and our customer is also adapting to new ways of working – we’ve adapted our working hours, processes and tools – but I think there’s more change to come – and there are parts of the new ways of working id really like to keep. I suspect similar to most companies we have a workforce leading a ‘future state’ initiative, which continues to bring good news from these testing times.
Who or what has inspired you this week?
It was 11/11 recently, and I had the honour of laying a wreath. I’ve worked with our military and been asked to join them in some ‘international locations’ a few times, so this has always been a significant event in my career. Today took on extra meaning however as our event lead gave his usual thoughts around the situation, but this year talked about all the people who support the military and the sacrifice they gave. It had extra meaning as he and his family have recovered from COVID-19.
This year has asked a lot of people, I was touched and still reflect now on how we approach these issues define us not what we go through itself. Both the individuals response to the situation we are in and the thoughtfulness of remembering those who are sometimes unseen is an important view for me.
What is the most significant milestone for your business next year?
Our business has a significant programme contract award for next year – the Warrior Capability Sustainment Production award. This is an important programme to bring the Warrior 2 platform into service as quickly and efficiently as possible. The programme has been tough going, but has continued to meet all its commitments over the last few years and we’ve built a strong relationship based on working together.
The programme brings significant economic prosperity to the UK, but under COVID-19 we are very aware money is tight. It’s an amazing product and will be a complete ‘force-multiplier’ for the British Army, as well as retaining key UK skills in the armourer fighting vehicle domain. A lot of work to go but we’re optimistic!
Vice President & Managing Director, Lockheed Martin UK – Ampthill
Lee is the Vice President and Managing Director for LMUK Ampthill. In this role he leads the Ampthill business which employs over 900 people at its location in Ampthill, Bedfordshire, UK. The Ampthill Business is responsible for the design, development, and manufacture of a wide range of military and civil products including Protection Systems, Weapons, Special Projects, and Vehicle Systems.
Lee is married to Sarah, with two children, Eleanor and James. In his spare time partakes in airsoft activities and pretends to be good at DIY.