With film festival, BAE Systems urges employees to get creative

October 20, 2013

Company: BAE Systems.

Location: Arlington.

Employees: 5,464 locally; 40,100 worldwide.

If you call up his self-produced video on YouTube, you can see Gage Stahlberg grooving in his coveralls and hardhat, rapping about the strengths of his employer, BAE Systems, and dropping a little good-natured trash-talking to the “amateurs at Lockheed and Raytheon.”

Stahlberg produced the video as part of a contest the Arlington-based contracting giant held for its workers. Dubbed the We Are BAE Systems Film Festival, it called for employees to create videos in the categories of drama, comedy or music that expressed the values of the company.

Tim Haddock, director of communications, said that the festival was an effort to showcase individual employees and get them to share their stories.

“We have a really diverse company, and honestly, sometimes it’s probably hard for a welder in sunny San Diego to identify with a systems analyst in Virginia,” Haddock said.

Participants had to get creative while developing their projects, since many of them work with proprietary or secure information.

“A lot of the facilities where employees work, they can’t take out a camera,” Haddock said.

Haddock said many employees got very invested in their projects, with some even taking paid time off to shoot their videos.

A panel selected a group of finalists, whose videos were uploaded to YouTube so employees and the public could “like” their favorites.

Stahlberg’s song won him first place in the music category, for which he was awarded an Apple MacBook Pro. Winners in the other categories received a Nikon camera or an Apple iPad Mini.

Additionally, chief executive Linda Hudson selected Stahlberg as one of two grand prize winners, which meant he earned a $1,000 gift certificate to Amazon.com.

Haddock said the videos have been shown at company leadership events.

Sarah Halzack is The Washington Post's national retail reporter. She has previously covered the local job market and the business of talent and hiring. She has also served as a Web producer for business and economic news.
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