Spotlight Interview: William F. (Bill) Lawrence, Chief Technologist, Energy & Cyber Services, Lockheed Martin Corp.

November 27, 2012 06:30 PM EST By: Regina Ramazzini

TechConnect World corporate speaker Bill Lawrence tells TechConnect about Lockheed Martin’s technology and solution areas of interests
Lockheed Martin

William Lawrence

What are the specific technology/solution areas that you have a primary interest in?

At Lockheed Martin we consider ourselves an integrator of systems – constantly making decisions that provide our customers with the best solutions. We do not re-invent technologies if there is already a tool that does the job. We both partner as well as buy, whichever is necessary to gain access to a specific technology. With that said, we are not afraid to develop technologies ourselves. We are involved with nearly all energy related technologies ranging from renewables such as solar, biomass, and fuel cells, to storage and energy efficiency.  We apply these to government and/or commercial buildings, or even to full cities, micro grids, smart grids, distribution automation, and demand reduction. Big data analytics is always gaining interest as a focal point, as much as cyber security has always been. More advanced technologies such as carbon nanotubes are also relevant. It is difficult to imagine a technology that we are not involved with.  Energy is a huge piece of our business.

What level of commercial maturity do you typically look for in technology-partnerships?
Level of maturity depends on a need horizon. At times we need to improve on a certain technology, while other times we integrate readily available technologies. Essentially, what we prefer is off-the-shelf technology. As an integrator, our goal is to have tools and technologies available when we require them, so we try to anticipate what our needs might be. Sometimes this involves directly working with an organization (whether it’s a university or small company) to develop the technology, so that it can be ready when we plan to utilize it.

Please describe your company’s Innovation model, and how it utilizes this model to find new innovations:
We do everything from direct internal R&D to specific research contracts with our customers, sub-contracts for programs, SBIRs, and direct responses to broad area announcements. This often requires either partnering with others that may have certain pieces of the technology, or developing the technology ourselves. We also do a lot of university research support; we have a couple hundred universities we work with.  Through our mentor-protégé model, very small companies developing specific technologies (that we deem particularly useful) work with our subject matter experts.  One of the roles of these experts is to scan for new technologies, both in the literature and at conferences. We also maintain our own in-house advanced technology labs for a variety of technology areas as a way to find new innovations.

What do you hope to get out of TechConnect World? What brings you back?
We are always searching for innovative solutions to difficult problems.  I come back to TechConnect World, because our search for solutions never ends. The conference provides me the opportunity to meet with innovators across many areas of technology all in one location.

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