As an East Tennessee native, Mike Ervin was no stranger to the Holston Army Ammunition Plant (HSAAP).
However, he never realized the true magnitude of the plant until he set foot on the historic campus.
As a young professional, Mike was fascinated with the plant’s rich history and reputation for innovation. But it was fate that brought him to his work at HSAAP, where he has remained ever since.
"Beyond our mission, it's the people that make this place one-of-a-kind. We have a very special team at Holston that is incredibly talented and dedicated to working hand-in-hand with our customers. It’s just a great situation that makes me proud.”
Mike currently serves as the Research and Development Director at HSAAP. The BAE Systems Research and Development team is responsible for overseeing the formulation of new energetic materials that are safer for the Warfighters, BAE Systems employees, and the surrounding community. Their goal is to exceed customer expectations with new innovations.
While leading the Research and Development team, Mike has had the opportunity to be a part of a multitude of new advancements and innovations, many of which are award-winning and globally recognized, including winning a Time Magazine Top 50 Innovations award.
“When I think about our greatest accomplishment at Holston, I think about the team developing a new munition for the Army’s artillery rounds. There was a lot of innovation involved in achieving the Army's stringent safety criteria, and we made it happen.”
In addition to the innovative work of the plant, Mike knows that the family dynamic is why so many people dedicate their lives to the HSAAP mission.
"We are working on a common mission. That creates a brotherhood and sisterhood. It’s a tangible thing. It was just the relationship and closeness of the team that attracted people to Holston. Our R&D team is highly skilled – they can certainly leave for any job – but they stay here.”
The family atmosphere is also a big factor for Mike, who celebrates 35 years at Holston in 2022. And one thing he’s proud of is being able to leverage his experience to help advance the site and its team members forward.
"It's very special to be able to say that, like others who came before me and others who will be part of that next generation, you come in and you're able to contribute. It is truly something very special to be a part of the site’s mission. It’s a noble cause.”
Mike hopes that, in the future, BAE Systems continue its mission of supplying the warfighters with high-quality, reliable explosives so more individuals fighting for our country and way of life can return home safely.
"There's more technology to be developed, and there are more breakthroughs to be achieved. We're giving our warfighters the tools that they need to complete their mission, but there’s always new advancements on the horizon. There's so much more exciting work that's going to be done in the future. I'm almost envious of that next generation of employees who get to support it.”