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Defense industry leader to speak at Trine
ITT's Ken Peterman to kick off Distinguished Speaker Series
A defense industry leader, whose work has taken him around the globe, will kick off Trine University’s Distinguished Speaker Series Wednesday, Feb. 16, at 7 p.m. in Fabiani Theatre, on the school’s main campus in Angola.
Ken Peterman, president of ITT Defense’s Communications Systems Division in Fort Wayne, will give his lecture, “The Importance of Communications (on the battlefield and in one’s career).”
Peterman graduated from Tri-State University (now Trine) in 1979 with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and then went to work for Magnavox Electronic Systems Company as a junior engineer. By age 29, he became the company’s youngest engineering section manager in the company's history.
After more than 20 years with the company, Peterman was recruited to join Rockwell Collins where he then became the vice president of business development.
In 2007, he joined ITT Defense as president of the $800 million Communication Systems Division in Fort Wayne. Since that time, he has revitalized the product portfolio and expanded the division's business focus, winning over 19 contracts worth over $270 million in Iraq alone, and the business area’s new product sales have grown to over 50 percent total sales revenue.
“I’ve been to Baghdad multiple times in the past two years doing business with ministries in Iraq as they seek to re-equip their forces with western-style equipment and perform alongside U.S. forces in a coalition manner,” Peterman said. “I’ve spent time in Iraq, working with them to equip their newly formed military with modern communications equipment that is interoperable with their allies such as the United States.”
Peterman takes pride in his ethical track record. During his talk, he plans to share how ethics, integrity and responsibility are keys to being successful in business.
“I’ll share some interesting stories about the way our products are being used, as well as some of our more interesting business challenges,” Peterman said. “I have been asked to compromise my integrity several times throughout my career, and I will talk about how I dealt with resisting the pressure to do that.”
In addition to the ethics of business, Peterman will talk about how defense equipment is used by soldiers and airmen in battle and the satisfaction of producing products that directly support the young men and women of our Armed Forces.
“One piece of equipment we developed was used in a unique way — a manner the engineers didn’t anticipate — and it helped a pilot come home safely from the skies over a battle in Iraq,” Peterman said.
Peterman hopes to give his audience some insight into real-world business practices and challenges.
“It’s important for people like myself, who have experienced a portion of the career journey, to talk to young people so they can have a context for starting their own paths and making informed decisions,” Peterman said.