When I first met Joy Shanaberger in her E-Ring office in 2015, she was holding a coffee mug boasting her Detroit roots while standing next to a white board filled with cliche Pentagon jargon.
It wasn’t the usual look for an aide to a U.S. Defense Department undersecretary. It also seemed a bit unusual that a then, late-20-something — who was simultaneously studying for an MBA — was planning to leave the Pentagon to start her own company.
“She’s going to be an entrepreneur,” I recall Frank Kendall, the then-undersecretary for acquisition, technology and logistics, saying of Shanaberger as I packed up my notebook and voice recorder after an interview.
Fast forward four years, Shanaberger has founded Boone Group, a consulting firm with commercial and government work. It’s grown in terms of revenue and employees, a trend she expects to replicate again this year.
So you can imagine my surprise last year when I came across Instagram videos of her in a boxing ring. Turns out, what started with some lessons — a gift from her business partner — has turned into passion.
“He thought that I could use [the lessons] mainly because it’s stressful building a company [and] you don’t really have an out,” Shanaberger said.
On Aug. 17, Shanaberger will fight in a charity boxing match. The goal is to raise $500,000 for the EOD Warrior Foundation, a charity she got to know while working with the Pentagon’s Joint Rapid Acquisition Cell, which would fast-track equipment to troops on the battlefield. In many cases, those were troops working as explosive ordnance disposal technicians — dismantling roadside bombs in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria.
Throughout her journey in business and in the ring, Shanaberger has learned lessons that apply to both.
“No matter how effective we train and build a strong foundation [and] execute the plan, variables will consistently be thrown your way,” she said. “Boxing enables me to fuel my growth mindset. Nothing humbles you more than getting punched in the face.”
It hasn’t been easy getting to next month’s boxing match. An average training session is at least three hours. The fight was originally scheduled for late 2018, but last year, Shanaberger tore her quad while working out. The injury prompted her to learn how to fight as a left-handed boxer so she could keep her right quad muscle short in her stance. After recovering and resuming training she then fractured her ribcage in a May fight. She’s recovered again and the charity fight is on.
“I didn’t stop training,” she said. “My training had to adjust. It had to pivot. I had to focus on different details in excruciating and annoying drills. I was like, ‘God I don’t won’t be doing this.’ Business is the same way. And when you forego the details in your foundation, that’s when your house falls over your business crashes.”
Each week, she writes down lessons learned in the boardroom and in the ring. She then applies those learnings to both her day job, boxing or both.
“My favorite overall lesson that my board of advisors teaches me a lot, but boxing teaches me a whole different level of building people, building companies and making strategic choices [is] timing beats speed and precision beats power,” she said.
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Merger & Acquisition Updates
L3Harris Technologies (LHX): It’s official. The merger closed on Saturday and there’s a new board and executive team. As expected, Bill Brown is the firm’s chairman and CEO and Chris Kubasic is vice chairman, president and COO. As for the makeup of the company, the executive management team has twice as many former Harris executives and two new faces.
The new company has four business segments: Integrated Mission Systems (based in Palm Bay, Florida); Space & Airborne Systems (also in Palm Bay); Communication Systems (based in Rochester, N.Y.) and Aviation Systems (based in Arlington, Texas).
Who made the cut from L3: Todd Gautier, who is now president of the Aviation Systems segment; Sean Stackley, who is president of the Integrated Mission Systems segment; Scott Mikuen, senior vice president, general counsel and secretary; and Steve O’Bryan, vice president, Global Business Development.
The company has a new CFO Jesus “Jay” Malave, who comes from United Technologies’ Carrier air conditioning business, so he’s someone already known within the sector. There’s also Byron Green, who has been named vice president of operations. He comes from Whirlpool and has an extensive background in the auto industry with nearly 20 years at Fiat Chrysler. Their backgrounds are a good indication that L3Harris wants to operate in a more commercial manner and falls in line with the how Kubasik transformed how L3 operates.
Some Shareholders Oppose UTC-Raytheon Merger: Hedge Fund Third Point said it would oppose the merger, joining Pershing Square Capital Management, another hedge fund opposing the deal. Combined, the two hedge funds “own about 12.3 million shares of UTC, or about 1.4% of the shares outstanding,” according to the Wall Street Journal. Here’s some background on the planned merger, which would create Raytheon Technologies.
Gryphon makes acquisition. The D.C.-based engineering services firm has acquired PGFM Solutions. “PGFM’s strategic focus is on cybersecurity for U.S. Navy and Coast Guard shipbuilding and modernization programs,” Gryphon said in a July 2 statement. “PGFM applies cyber vulnerability assessment tools and provides engineering services to perform risk assessment for machinery control systems, electromagnetic compatibility, navigation, and integrated bridge systems.” Last year, private equity firm AE Industrial Partners acquired Gryphon.
S-400 Could Arrive in Turkey Next Week
That’s what Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, according to the newspaper Haberturk via Bloomberg. President Trump met with Erdogan in Osaka, Japan, at the G20 Summit last week. Afterwards, Erdogan said he did not expect the U.S. to sanction Turkey or block the sale of 100 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters. Pentagon officials have repeatedly said the Russian-made S-400 and the U.S. made F-35 are incompatible. They have instead pushed Ankara to buy American-made Patriot missile interceptors. The U.S. Congress also has a say if Turkey gets the F-35 so stay tuned next week.
Chris Emerson has been appointed president of Airbus Defense and Space Inc., a subsidiary of Airbus Americas. He previously served as president of Airbus Helicopters and head of the North America region. “With this leadership change, Airbus Helicopters Inc.’s government and military programs including the [U.S. Army] UH-72A Lakota and business functional roles supporting them will move to Airbus Defense and Space Inc., reporting to Emerson,” the company said in an emailed statement.
Some big moves at Lockheed Martin are coming on Aug. 26. First, Frank St. John has been appointed executive vice president of Rotary and Mission Systems. Scott Greene has been appointed executive vice president of Missiles and Fire Control, the position currently held by St. John. Dale Bennett, the current head of Rotary and Missions Systems, which includes Sikorsky and Lockheed’s shipbuilding work, intends to retire later this year.
Robert Work, the former deputy defense secretary, has joined AI-firm SparkCognition’s advisory board.
Mike French has been appointed vice president of space systems at the Aerospace Industries Association. French joins the trade organization from Bryce Space and Technology.