Science and Technology

Shaping the next generation


 
Lee Reynolds and Cory Weathers
Lee Reynolds ('13) and Cory Weathers ('04) share a bond as fellow Dukes, football players, STEM professionals and friends.

SUMMARY: Cory Weathers ('04) is the recipient of the Linda Gooden Legacy Black Engineer of the Year Award, which he accepted at the STEM Global Competitiveness Conference.


By Sarah Chase (’17), alumni relations coordinator

Growing up, Cory Weathers (’04) had no idea that fixing his grandmother’s stereo would lead to a career in engineering, let alone an award for managerial leadership at the STEM Global Competitiveness Conference.

But it was on this stage, as he accepted the Linda Gooden Legacy Black Engineer of the Year Award, that Weathers found himself recalling his grandmother’s words, “You’d make a great engineer.” Thirty years later, he’s shaping the next generation.

Cory Weathers
Cory Weathers ('04) is the recipient of the Linda Gooden Legacy Black Engineer of the Year Award.

Weathers came to JMU in 2000 on a full athletic scholarship, with the intent to pursue a major in integrated science and technology and continue engineering studies after graduation. He attributes much of his growth as a young engineer to professors who mentored him.

“Dr. Okechi Egekwu was one of the most influential mentors and professors I’ve had the pleasure of working with,” Weathers said. “I always admired the way he used examples from his work experiences at companies like General Motors and Alcoa to illustrate engineering concepts in class. My style of teaching and mentoring is heavily influenced by his.”

Weathers loved working with real problems and issues. “I tend to think of problems from a multidisciplinary mindset because that way of thinking is at the core of JMU’s ISAT curriculum.”  

After graduation, Weathers attended graduate school at North Carolina A&T State University, focusing in industrial and systems engineering. Lockheed Martin funded a project he worked on during his time there, leading him to pursue a job at the company’s Orlando, Florida, site in 2007.

Now in his 12th year at Lockheed Martin, Weathers has held challenging roles in production operations, engineering and information technology. Weathers recently served as deputy chief engineer for Lockheed Martin’s UK Military Flying Training Systems program. MFTS is a comprehensive cross-service training program, providing a modern and streamlined flight training solution for the British Royal Air Force, Royal Navy and Army Air Corps. In this role, Weathers has demonstrated a passion for solving complex challenges, delivering innovative solutions and collaborating effectively.

But Weathers’ passion goes beyond his title as chief engineer. He participated and graduated from Lockheed Martin’s three-year leadership engineering development program, has served as the site lead for the company’s diversity and inclusion council, and consistently volunteers with middle- and elementary-school students in Orlando doing STEM activities—qualities for which the Linda Gooden Legacy Award was created.

Weathers acknowledges that much has changed since his childhood memory of fixing his grandmother’s stereo. “Systems I help build are more complex and our customers’ missions are much more critical, but one thing hasn’t changed. To me, true accomplishment comes from service to others.”

Student Cory Weathers
As a JMU student, Cory Weathers ('04) was intent on his integrated science and technology studies that would lead him to a career in engineering.

Growing up in Baltimore, Weathers didn’t have role models in STEM. “I’m most passionate about being able to serve as an example to people who look up to me, who’ve grown up in communities like mine, with family experiences like mine.”

That’s one of the driving forces for Weathers being a mentor and speaking with young students at underrepresented schools in Orlando and other cities in which he has lived. “Diversity and inclusion are key to the results we accomplish as a company. We work on very large systems that are used around the world and we need perspective and input from everyone. Diversity is critical in our ability to solve such tough problems.”

But Weathers isn’t just a source of guidance in Orlando. He has also been a mentor to Lee Reynolds (’13), a fellow Duke, football player and STEM professional with whom he’s shared a close friendship since graduation. “I took advantage of the opportunities I had while at JMU and they’ve stayed with me ever since. JMU has that special sauce.”

Award aside, Weathers’ greatest accomplishments are marrying his wife and having two beautiful children. “They’re 10 and 4, excited about learning and already asking good questions about how the world works. That’s all we could ask for,” he said.

Even at home, Cory Weathers is shaping the next generation. 

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Published: Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 6, 2019

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