Ron Hawks

Ron Hawks '12, an intelligence and senior manager at Lockheed Martin, began his professional path in UCF's emergency management program.

When he was a UCF student fresh out of high school, Ron Hawks ’12 never imagined his minor in emergency management would pave the way to a leadership role at one of the top security corporations in the country. Fast forward 12 years, and the Colorado resident now serves as an intelligence and senior manager at Lockheed Martin.

Hawks’ journey to a career in emergency management and security began during his time as a criminal justice major at UCF, where he found his true calling minoring in the emergency management and home security program.

“That minor really kickstarted my entire career for the last 12 years,” Hawks says.

He felt a surge of ambition early on as he started to get involved in related organizations such as the Red Cross and the Community Emergency Response Team. It wasn’t long before he knew this was the path he wanted.

Inspired by public-sector emergency management, Hawks started building a strong professional network and eventually co-founded the Emergency Management Student Association at UCF.

He also attended industry events and received a scholarship to the Governor’s Hurricane Conference. This led to internships at UCF’s Office of Emergency Management and the Central Florida Intelligence Exchange, which gave rise to a sterling opportunity: an opening in Lockheed Martin’s Leadership Development Program.

The private sector was in the early days of implementing their own Emergency/Crisis Management programs. Hawks says at the start of his career he helped with the vision and worked on a team to develop the Global Emergency Operations Center for Lockheed Martin.

“It’s been operating for over a decade now,” Hawks says. “It monitors incidents and hazards for all of our locations and employees across the globe.”

Hawks now manages security for Rotary and Mission Systems, helping to oversee 35,000 employees and over 100 locations. His team handles all natural and manmade hazards impacting company sites, and the safety and security of employees around the globe.

Hawks says he learned early in his career the power of networking and communication in successful emergency management. His classes and internships gave him exposure to networking with professionals, and group presentations helped sharpen communication skills needed in the industry. For example, one of his previous internship connections helped him get in contact with the local authorities to send relief supplies to the Puerto Rican town of Aguadilla, where one Lockheed Martin site was affected by Hurricane Maria.

“More and more companies realize the value of programs like this,” Hawks says. “They’re looking for people coming out of college with education, networking, and experience to help build their teams.”

Looking forward, Hawks has a new aspiration in mind as he continues to build on his career — pursuing a graduate degree, likely UCF’s online Master of Emergency and Crisis Management. U.S. News and World Report has ranked it the No. 1 emergency management program in the nation.

This may be a return to his alma mater, but in a sense, Hawks never really left. He sits on the board of advisors for the EM program and regularly speaks with emergency management students through the mentorship program, hearing their insights and sharing his own. These dialogues fill him with excitement for the future and gratitude for all his experience, which he says started here.

“I always love supporting UCF, and I definitely feel like I owe my career to them,” he says.