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Apr 20, 2021

Welcome to RIMScast. Your host is Justin Smulison, Business Content Manager at RIMS, the Risk and Insurance Management Society.


Today, Justin Smulison welcomes a very special guest 2021 RIMS Risk Manager of the Year, Michael Harrington!


Michael has led an incredible professional career that dates back to his time in the U.S. Armed Services to Director of Risk Management at Textron to his current role as Vice President of Risk Management at Lockheed Martin Corporation — with many roles in between! Michael has spent decades in the profession largely in the aircraft and aerospace sectors and has a truly rich background as a Risk Manager.


In this episode, Justin and Michael celebrate Michael’s win and discuss his influential contributions at Lockheed Martin that have benefited both the company, the aerospace industry, and the risk profession. They also discuss how he has overcome hurdles in his career, his risk philosophy, and his advice with rising risk professionals and those considering joining the profession.


Key Takeaways:

[:01] About RIMS’s Global Membership.

[:28] About today’s episode!

[:36] About RIMS LIVE 2021 virtual event on April 19–29, 2021.

[1:09] Last call to join this year’s Spencer & Sedgwick 5K Fun Run!

[1:40] About today’s conversation with Michael Harrington

[2:18] Justin welcomes Michael to the podcast!

[2:29] Michael introduces himself and shares about his rich career background.

[3:20] Why Michael decided to move transition into a law career after leaving the U.S. Army.

[3:59] How and why Michael became a Risk Manager.

[5:08] Michael speaks about moving into the role of Vice President of Risk Management at Lockheed Martin in April 2017.

[5:52] About the programs Michael initiated and the work he did at Lockheed Martin that he was recognized for, as the recipient of the 2021 RIMS Risk Manager of the Year award.

[8:56] Michael shares what it was like to take on a leadership role in driving forward incredible space missions.

[9:44] Michael reflects on what it is like to talk about these astounding space missions with his fellow collaborators and partners.

[10:43] Does Michael feel coolheaded or under pressure during crucial moments or massive decisions?

[11:10] Michael shares his risk philosophy and reflects on how and where it was first formed.

[12:50] Has Michael experienced his fair share of clients looking for last-minute approval or sign-offs?

[13:30] Michael comments on a fire that occurred at a Santa Cruz location.

[14:03] Has Michael ever been the lead risk professional for a company that had to handle a catastrophe issue? How did he handle it?

[14:49] Did Michael use the same on-the-job training and mindset in the previous example that he did in the Santa Cruz fire?

[15:37] About upcoming RIMS webinars!

[16:50] Michael speaks about the legal hurdles that he overcame with regards to the U.S. Public Law 85-804 and the fantastic insurance program that came out of it.

[18:45] How long it took to develop this insurance program from conception to formation to completion.

[19:13] Was it difficult to overcome the responsibilities that came along with developing this program while still managing his usual day-to-day operational responsibilities?

[19:47] Does Michael believe that his background and experience are what enabled him to be able to create and lead such a program?

[20:47] What was it like for Michael to find out he was named 2021 Risk Manager of the Year by RIMS?

[22:38] Michael shares his advice with rising risk professionals and those considering joining the profession.

[24:25] How Michael helped drive Lockheed Martin’s response to COVID-19 in a way that greatly benefited frontline workers.

[26:32] Justin and Michael discuss how many companies stepped up during COVID-19 and how Lockheed Martin stepping up during COVID-19 has been in alignment with their core values.

[27:25] Michael shares what he would like to see happen in the risk profession and among risk professionals.

[28:38] The importance of building a network as a risk professional and the current opportunities that are available to build your online profile and expand your network.

[29:38] Michael shares some parting words with the RIMScast audience and the global risk management community!

[31:04] Justin thanks Michael for joining the podcast, congratulates him on being recognized as RIMS 2021 Risk Manager of the Year, and highlights some of the links to check out in this episode’s show notes.


Mentioned in this Episode:

RIMS Advocacy News: “RIMS Sets Advocacy Guidelines for COVID-19 Liability Protection Legislation”

Michael Harrington on the cover of Risk Management Magazine’s 2021 Awards Issue

“RIMS Risk Manager of the Year Awarded to Lockheed Martin Corporation's Michael Harrington”

RIMS Webinars and Services:

RIMS-CRMP-FED Virtual Prep Course — May 24–26th, 2021

Register now for RIMS LIVE 2021, April 19–29, 2021!

Spencer & Sedgwick 5K Fun Run, April 20, 2021 — Register Today!

May 5, 2021 | Reputation Risks. Reputation Protection. Crisis Reduction.”

May 13, 2021 | The Risks and Rewards of Virtual Services” | Sponsored by Beazley

Upcoming RIMS Webinars

On-Demand Webinars

RIMS Advisory Services — Ask a Peer

RIMS Virtual Workshops

Related RIMScast Episodes:

“Risk Management in Higher Education with RIMS 2019 Risk Manager of the Year, Luke Figora”

“Transformative ERM Programs with 2018 Risk Manager of the Year, Rebecca Cady “

“RIMS 2020 Award Winners: Mark Humphreys and Katherine Dawal”

“RIMS 2020 Award Winners: Audrey Rampinelli and Larry Glasser”

“Disruption and the Digital Age with Ward Ching”

“Duncan Wardle, RIMS Live 2021 Keynote Takes Innovation to Infinity and Beyond”

“RIMS Live 2021 Keynote Duncan Wardle Discusses Risk and Innovation”

“Career Notes: RIMS Live 2021 Speaker Jade Simmons Talks Risk and Music”

Download any episode of RIMScast.

RIMS Publications, Content, and Links:

Risk Management Magazine

Risk Management Monitor

RIMS Coronavirus Information Center

RIMS Risk Leaders Series

RIMS-Certified Risk Management Professional (RIMS-CRMP)


RIMS Membership — Whether you are a new member or need to transition, be a part of the global risk management community!


Want to Learn More?

Keep up with the podcast on and listen on iTunes.

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Join the Conversation!

Follow @RIMSorg on Facebook and Twitter, and LinkedIn.


Follow up with Our Guest:

Michael Harrington’s LinkedIn


Tweetables (For Social Media Use):


“Over the last three years [at Lockheed Martin], we’ve been on a journey to focus on our people, our programs … and platforms … our technologies, and our processes.” — Michael Harrington


“I truly believe that an exciting and interesting life or business involves taking risks and dealing with them.” — Michael Harrington


“You have to accomplish the mission. Mission first and people always — those are the two things that I live by.” — Michael Harrington


“The thing that I think is the most important about Lockheed Martin is really the core values of the company.” — Michael Harrington


“Anybody is welcome at Lockheed Martin. Anybody who can bring their talents … is welcome here provided you do three things: … Treat people with dignity and respect, you always have to try and do what’s right, and you always have to perform with excellence.” — Michael Harrington


“I believe [risk management] is a fantastic profession. Although I wound up in it … by accident, I’m incredibly grateful that I did!” — Michael Harrington


“I would tell young [risk] professionals to get involved. … Get involved in a spectrum of ways.” — Michael Harrington


“To anybody that gets asked to do something: … Where possible, say yes! Get involved. Broaden your skills. Become more valuable to your company and your team. … [And] become involved internally; don’t just sit in your office.” — Michael Harrington


“Risk professionals who get involved with their business ... help them get to ‘Yes,’ and get solutions accomplished in a risk-safe way are business enablers.” Michael Harrington


“I encourage all of the risk managers in the field to get more deeply involved with their business. Make it a point. It might be difficult at first if you haven’t done it, but eventually the business will see the value.” Michael Harrington