Drivers with a passion.
Kansas City, Missouri native Mark DeGraw has always had an adventurous spirit. After high school he joined the United States Marine Corps and spent eight years traveling the globe. DeGraw was deployed twice to combat zones as a wrecker driver/mechanic in the 3rd Amphibious Assault Battalion and once with Marine Corps Systems Command. After leaving the military, he spent three years with Northrop Grumman, traveling to 22 countries in Africa as a Soldier Skill Trainer. DeGraw has been with BAE Systems for three and a half years as a Field Service Rep. He is fluent in French and is conversational in two African languages, Wolof and Amharic. DeGraw has three children and is engaged to be married next summer.
Jared Nunn was born and raised in Santa Clara, California. Nunn spent two years working as a missionary for his church in Italy. He lived in Rome, Naples, the Marche region, and on the island of Sardinia. As a result, he is fluent in Italian. Nunn has been with BAE Systems for seven years and is the MPC Engineering Project Lead. Prior to joining the company, he attended school at the University of California, Berkeley, where he received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. Nunn also served as a machine shop technician and supervisor for Western Technology Marketing. He and his wife Jeni have been married for almost 13 years and have three children.
Both DeGraw and Nunn have been crucial to the development of the vehicle.
“I managed the build of the vehicle,” said Nunn. “I knew and saw just about every bolt and piece of hardware that went into it. After spending much of the last 10 months putting the vehicle together, I was the first one to turn it on and drive it. I’m not a behind-the-desk guy – I like being able to be hands-on with a product and see it through to completion.”
“My experience as a wrecker driver and mechanic in the Marine Corps allowed me to have a good understanding of what issues we should be aware of in preparing the vehicle,” said DeGraw. “No matter what trials we put this vehicle through, it will be ready.”
Working with an international partner on any program can be challenging, but both men have found it enjoyable.
“I spent many days and weeks with the IVECO mechanics,” said Nunn. “We found that our familial ties are very important to us. In that light we developed somewhat of a tradition. Each time the Italians came to Santa Clara to work, we would exchange small gifts for each other and each other’s children. Usually these were unique foods or toys from each family’s respective country. It reminded us of what is most important in our lives, even though the project demanded long hours and travel away from our loved ones.”
“The reaction our Italian partners had after seeing the MPC tested for the first time was incredible,” said DeGraw. “They were so happy and proud of our joint success. We really came together as a team.”
Spend any amount of time with these two gentlemen and you’ll quickly see what drives them: passion.
“I believe in our products and the dedication of our team members. I feel grateful to be able to work on products that support our military, and especially the Marine Corps,” said Nunn. “Hearing stories about how our products save lives and provide improved capabilities for the battlefield make it all worth the effort. I love seeing the end users get excited about the products that we work on. The fact that it can help them in a big way is extremely gratifying and gives me a sense of purpose in my work. “
And for DeGraw, the feeling is even more personal.
“My first deployment in the Marine Corps was for the invasion of Iraq. We had no armor. No gear for roadside bombs. Nothing. I lost Marines due to this, and I am extremely passionate about ensuring we do whatever it takes to save those lives in the future. I don't go a single day in my life not thinking about how much I want to keep our men and women safe overseas,” said DeGraw. “The feeling I get when I'm behind the wheel of the MPC is hard to explain. There is pride and joy about driving. It's absolutely thrilling to know and see that we are going to ensure the safety of the men and women who protect us daily.”
BAE Systems is proud of these men and their commitment to success.