Raymond’s time at HSAAP spans an impressive four decades, and his connection to the plant runs even deeper. As a young man growing up in Kingsport, Tennessee, Raymond knew the plant well, as his uncle worked and retired from HSAAP, having served as an equipment greaser and onsite cab driver.
Continuing in his uncle’s footsteps, Raymond started working at the plant in 1982. “When I started working at Holston, my uncle gave me the good advice to just stay focused. I came here, kept my head down, and did my job.”
This focus led to a long-term career at HSAAP, a rarity in the modern workforce. Raymond has served in various departments – from cleanup to production, before taking on his current role as HMX Team Leader, a position he has held for the past 14 years.
As a Team Leader, Raymond is responsible for all HMX-based products produced at the plant, including overseeing the production team and ensuring results are on time and on budget. He is also responsible for ensuring his team is always putting the Safety of themselves and their teammates first.
“In my area, we practice two-person verification, what we call 'take two.' We always have two people review a task and verify that nothing is in our way or would be the source of an unsafe process,” notes Raymond. “I want everyone to go home the same, or better, than when they came into work that day.”
When reflecting on his work, Raymond is proud of how his team at Holston has continually stepped-up during times of global conflict.
“During Desert Storm for example, we knew that we were going to be a vital factor in our country's freedom. We had to do our part to help keep the country and our warfighters safe – we worked around the clock to accomplish our mission.”
In addition to his work, Raymond also takes great pride in leading and supporting HSAAP and BAE Systems employee engagement events, such as Grilling for the Vets, an opportunity to honor onsite veterans, and Do One Thing for Diversity Day, which celebrates diverse thinking and different cultures.
“These events demonstrate that we are all working together and appreciating one another. We’ve also done a lot with diversity and inclusion, ensuring we are representing and including different groups of people to make the right decisions for our community.”
Raymond found more than just a rewarding career at HSAAP. He also found the love of his life. His wife Donna worked at HSAAP starting in 1979 and retired in 2021: “We met here, started our family, and have been together ever since.”
According to Raymond, the family connection, whether at home or at work, is strong at HSAAP: “The difference between Holston and other companies is that this is a family orientated business. This is one big family working together to accomplish a common mission. We know what we do every day helps someone else. We know we are working for our country.”
Looking ahead, Raymond hopes to continue coaching the next generation of Holston staff on how to effectively and safely make munitions for U.S. Warfighters, an essential responsibility that helps to ensure the security of our country and way of life.
And to Raymond, defining a Holston Hero is simple:
“A Holston Hero is someone who comes here and does their job correctly. They want to do their best for the team and at the end of the day. They are a proud employee of BAE Systems who knows the place they work helps keep our country safe.”