For 80 years, more than three generations of dedicated Americans have run the Holston Army Ammunition Plant.
Their work has supported the U.S. Armed Forces in every major conflict since World War II. To appreciate this unique level of dedication, one needs to look no further than Hobart Hansard.
Hobart graduated from the University of Tennessee in the ROTC program and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in U. S. Army Reserves Chemical Corps in August 1965. His 22 years in the military reserves taught him that HSAAP was critical to national defense. It was the reason he joined the team and committed to staying throughout the years. In January 1968, Hobart moved to the Kingsport area and throughout his 54 years in East Tennessee, he has built his personal and professional life.
“Throughout my time at Holston, I always thought I was helping a bigger picture, that’s why I stayed. I like people, and I like to encourage people, and because of that, this role has been a good fit for me.”
During his five decades at Holston, Hobart worked in many areas of the plant, gaining vast knowledge from “many good people” in production, engineering, safety, and more.
As a Holston employee, Hobart has witnessed world events through the lens of the company. For example, almost immediately following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Hobart and his team knew they needed to get the plant operating for higher production as soon as possible.
“I was shocked and horrified that such an event had happened, but as far as what to do here, it put more focus back on what we do at Holston.”
Hobart has also experienced and helped implement a great deal of change at Holston, especially when it comes to automation, modernization, and improvements to technology. “There is more data available to help support decision making,” he explains. “And with BAE Systems, Holston is achieving a more global and innovative approach that helps to grow the plant.”
Today, Hobart continues to support engineering and safety-related projects for the company. His areas of specialization are safety and process analysis, technical training, and supporting incident investigations. He places a high emphasis on safety, which he believes helps create not just a safer environment, but a respectful one, which is critical to their operation: “We are making a serious product, and our team must remain serious.”
“It is very satisfying to continue to work with people who are trying to make the plant more productive, introduce new processes, and improve safety. It has been an honor to observe the men and women of our plant work together,” says Hobart.
As for his observations on being labeled a Holston Hero, Hobart says he would not describe himself that way: “I think we are people who recognize that this is a vital facility to our country’s security. We do our part for our country every single day.”