Summit Notebook

Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders

L-3 CEO Strianese finds crawling around airplanes fun

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Michael Strianese, President and CEO of L-3 Communications Holdings Inc., is a roll up the sleeves kind of guy who likes nothing better than a close-up look at airplanes and wiring and sensors. And he’s not even an engineer.

“What do I like to do? I like to get down on the factory floor with the guys and crawl around airplanes and look at wiring and figure out how things work. So for somebody with a finance background, I think that surprises people,” he said at the Reuters Aerospace and Defense Summit. AERO-ARMS-SUMMIT/

“I think what might surprise people is I spend a lot of time developing some of the technical solutions on our unmanned systems that we developed internally over the last couple of years,” he said.

The company CEO has had a personal hand in the systems for the Viking 400, Mobius and Project Liberty aircraft.

Divorced defense giants reunited in Reuters office

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It might well have been the business divorce of the year, but it seems there are no hard feelings between the heads of defense contractors Northrop Grumman and jilted European partner EADS. AERO-ARMS-SUMMIT/

The companies had been bidding together to challenge Boeing for a deal worth up to $50 billion to supply aerial tankers to the Air Force. But Northrop pulled out in March leaving EADS, the Franco-German parent company of Airbus, to bid alone.

Northrop Grumman chief sees message in moving HQ to East Coast

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Northrop Grumman CEO and President Wes Bush (no relation to the former president) says there’s a message in moving the company headquarters across the country to a suburb of  Washington from Los Angeles.

“I absolutely believe it’s something that we need to do and will be very good for our company,” Bush said at a Reuters Aerospace and Defense Summit. AERO-ARMS-SUMMIT/

Lockheed Martin bracing for a new reality

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Lockheed Martin CEO Robert Stevens says despite cost cutting, the defense industry will survive based on new global security needs and adds that Lockheed’s portfolio is well positioned for change.

EADS chief longs for airplane that is no longer

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What would you guess is the airplane that the head of  the company that produces the Airbus longs for?

Think fast and past.

Concorde,” Louis Gallois, EADS Chairman and CEO, says without hesitation. “It’s a dream.”

Boeing Defense President Muilenburg on mixing business with cycling

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Boeing Defense, Space and Security President and CEO Dennis Muilenburg speaks eloquently about defense cycles, but did you know that he is something of a cyclist who typically rides about 100 miles a week?

AERO-ARMS-SUMMIT/The give away was the glowing tan he was sporting when speaking at the Reuters Aerospace and Defense Summit.

Lockheed CEO Stevens says he learns a thing or two from new generation

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Lockheed Martin Corp. CEO Robert Stevens, who turns 59 years old tomorrow, says he learns every day from the new generation at the defense company he heads — although he still doesn’t IM.

AERO-ARMS-SUMMIT/The son of a Pennsylvania steelworker who enlisted in the Marines instead of college, later completing  his education on the GI program, says, “I am one of the luckiest people you are going to meet.”

AIA CEO Blakey says she’s got Jet-A in her veins

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AERO-ARMS-SUMMITAerospace Industries Association Chief Executive Officer Marion Blakey says when she started working on aviation issues earlier in her career she was hooked.

She has held a number of prominent positions in Washington that emphasized transportation and safety.

EADS O’Keefe sees corporate life similarities to government, academia

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He’s been head of NASA, the Navy, and Louisiana State University and spent practically his whole professional life in either government or academia. USA/AERO-ARMS-SUMMIT

So when it came time for the next step on a varied career path, Sean O’Keefe broke from the past and chose the corporate route.

Would you send a postcard of Boeing’s new Dreamliner?

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For some fans, Boeing’s first test flight of its new 787 Dreamliner this week was apparently a virtual postcard.

The aerospace company says people sent about 25,000 postcards electronically of the lightweight commercial plane made primarily from carbon-based plastics and titanium.

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