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Curt Nothstine on Boeing’s Core Network-Space Systems Markets and Cost Accounting Standards

Curt Nothstine on Boeing's Core Network-Space Systems Markets and Cost Accounting Standards - top government contractors - best government contracting event


Curt Nothstine oversees all finance-related activities for Boeing‘s network and space systems business as the unit’s chief operating officer and vice president.

He elevated to his current role in 2012 after two years of service as director of accounting in the aerospace company’s defense, space and security segment and is a former board member of Alsalam Airlines.

In this conversation with ExecutiveBiz, Nothstine explains what standards Boeing follows in its accounting work and his team’s role in helping the company navigate sequestration and other budgetary trends.


ExecutiveBiz: Please introduce us to your position at Boeing. What have been your priorities over the past year?

Curt Nothstine: I have been the Chief Financial Officer of Boeing Network and Space Systems for about two years. The main priority over the past few years has been to evolve our business into a better performing and more affordable one to meet the changing needs of our global customers and to deal with various challenges such as sequestration, acquisition reform and government oversight and compliance.

At Boeing, we call it “providing more for less.” The primary focus has been on providing the right capability at the right price at the right time. Over time, we have seen our role shift from being a large system integrator to being a provider of specific products or services.

Our three core markets are:

Space: The Commercial Crew program, the International Space Station, the Space Launch System and our satellite business.

Security: National missile defense and related missile defense programs, directed energy systems, and information security.

C4ISR: Network and Space Systems has built a diverse portfolio of C4ISR capabilities by investing in new product launches and through strategic M&A like the recent acquisition of Maryland-based Ventura Solutions. We’ve been partnering in adding C4ISR vertical content to make our Boeing platforms more capable and competitive.


ExecutiveBiz: How have you adjusted your agenda to the evolving market picture?

Curt Nothstine: The demands of the U.S. government customer have been pretty significant given the environment we live in. Sequester has been part of our lexicon for several years and we have a customer requirement to develop and deliver products sooner and cheaper. Our customers are challenged in terms of meeting their mission needs with reduced budget dollars. We have to find ways to leverage our capabilities into better product and service offerings to meet the customer demands at the right price point.

As we address this, we realize how to be more efficient as a company. A central role for Finance is to streamline our organizational model to drive effective resource allocations. In order to execute our contract obligations efficiently, we strive to reduce transaction costs, add value-added content and better align roles and responsibilities.


ExecutiveBiz: What experiences do you draw on now the most from your time on the board of Alsalam Aircraft?

Curt Nothstine: I spent a little over four years on the board of Alsalam Aircraft. It was my first experience as a board member of a company with multiple owners and I learned how to work together with the other owners in terms of driving a successful business. My experience fits into three categories. First, the way Alsalam operated helped shape Boeing in terms of better understanding the legal and cultural aspects of doing business internationally.

Second, Alsalam developed a fair amount of commercial business in the maintenance, repair and overhaul sector as well as with the Royal Saudi Air force and the other parts of the defense establishment in Saudi Arabia. They do unique commercial things for their customer sets, such as VIP aircraft modifications or heavy-maintenance work. I brought that experience back to Boeing when I was supporting our Global Services and Support business.

Lastly, the Alsalam board and its members develop human capital for engineering-focused projects or airframe and power plant support. From this, I learned how Saudi Arabia develops the capability for their citizens to have a sustainable economic engine as they go forward. We see that quite frequently as we sell our products around the world. It was great experience, especially since Boeing Defense, Space and Security is significantly growing its revenue from international sales.


ExecutiveBiz: What kind of work does leading the cost accounting standards entail? What standards does your organization go by?

Curt Nothstine: Boeing is one of the largest defense contractors and is the largest aerospace company in the world. Our commercial business is governed by the U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles while the defense business is covered by the government cost accounting standards, which are primarily overseen by the Defense Contract Management Agency and the Defense Contract Audit Agency. Oversight and compliance reviews come in various forms like the ticketed systems such as Material Management and Accounting System standards or earned value management. It can also be in the form of proposal reviews, audits and cost reviews.
ExecutiveBiz: When did you join Boeing and what led you to the company?

Curt Nothstine: I joined the company straight off from college. Boeing is one of the great iconic brands in the world, along the lines of Coca-Cola and IBM. If there is a commercial jetliner in the world, people tend to think that it is Boeing product. I’ve been with the company a little over 30 years because I’ve had great opportunities throughout my career in both finance and program management.

I’ve worked in global services and support, corporate finance, treasury, mergers and acquisitions, accounting and my current position here in Network and Space Systems. The most consistent thing throughout my experience at Boeing has been the great people we have. It has been very rewarding to work with such talented people in developing their own careers.

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Written by Ross Wilkers

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