In 1977, Mr. Hollingsworth graduated from George Washington University with a degree in Engineering. Within a year of graduation, he joined NAVAIR and entered their Engineering Scientist Development Program where he participated in six-month rotations throughout NAVAIR’s Avionics Division four Branch’s. At the young age of 23, he thought of his career in very broad strokes—and began to challenge himself with the idea of “what would it feel like to HEAD the Avionics division? The Avionics Division would in later years become the Avionics Department NAVAIR’s largest, most impactful Department.
Well, by 1996, he found out. With zero military experience, Larry had to learn every aspect of Naval Aviation as he climbed the ranks as a civilian. While he credits his insatiable appetite for learning and asking questions from everyone around him, he also knows his spiritual faith played a large part in his success and the opportunities that were presented to him. He knew he wanted to make a difference, not just a paycheck.
As America dealt with the reality of 9/11, Larry and his team ramped up their efforts to ensure NAVAIR’s Avionics team were ready for the fight ahead. Not only did Larry and his team get ready, they redefined how America responded to the efforts of irregular warfare and were able to push our nation’s military capabilities to respond to the US response to the Global War on Terror. Among the many solutions he and his team provided are the UAV equipped with sensors used to track enemy players and protect troops from unseen dangers and combatants. The technology he spearheaded redefined the “see something” approach (to enemy activity) to “watch something” to identify patterns, movements, behaviors, and other players connected to the one being watched. His efforts led to Combatant Commanders reaching out to the Secretary of Defense, asking for the support of Larry’s teams to execute mission critical Joint Urgent Operational Needs Statements (JUONs), whereby they were able to execute as many as 11 at one time! The technology connected teams and services across DoD and federal law enforcement agencies, earning Larry the respect and confidence of key leaders from Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta; SEC NAV, CNO, various Congressmen, and admirals and senior officials across the DOD enterprise.
Larry’s key advice to young African Americans starting out on their own journey, is to ask as many questions as needed to learn and grow—but never let other people’s beliefs about skin color prevent you from getting the answers you need. You must put color aside in your own mind; let it be their problem to contend with, and don’t let their actions decide your success for you. By preparing, learning, and then preparing more—Larry, claims that WHEN opportunities arise (and they will)—you have to be ready to step up and step in!