Pulse news magazine

Volume 18, December 2016

The Austin advantage

Engineer working in the Austin Business Center
The Austin Business Center is taking Electronic Systems to a new level of operational excellence.

With more than 60 years of experience in the defense industry, the business has become a full-capability facility offering key program support across all functions.

This is not the Austin Business Center’s first rodeo. Saddled up in east Austin, Texas, for more than 60 years, protecting the warfighter is nothing new.

But, with a new approach to its legacy business, the business center is reining in a diverse strategy to leverage BAE Systems Electronic Systems sector’s strengths to support emerging programs and key pursuits.

“We’re strengthening what’s good in Austin and bringing that to other businesses in order to introduce new and better solutions to our customers,” said Greg Zito, director of the Austin Business Center.

In the past, the facility found success in manufacturing a series of threat management and imaging and aiming products as its own product line. However, in 2009, it separated into three distinct product lines, and the campus began to disperse.

With no central leadership or unifying force, it was time for a change. Uniting the business under one leader with one objective, the Austin Business Center repositioned itself to create strategic partnerships within Electronic Systems (ES) and add value to the programs.

Erasing its stigma as a manufacturing facility, Zito and the team have taken Austin’s new approach by the horns, and it has paid off. With a group of highly skilled engineers, a 10 percent lower-than-average bid rate and more than 200,000 borderless engineering hours, it continues to make an impact and add to its proven track record.

The site refresh has not only brought the business together – it has also improved employee morale. The team is leading the way when it comes to innovation, and they are excited about the next big hit out of Austin. The team’s most-recent work relates to high-energy lasers and ground vehicle self-protection. The business sees an opening in these markets and looks to leverage their industry experience to create next-generation systems to meet customer needs.

“The folks here are truly excited about the work they’re doing and seeing how they contribute to the bigger enterprise,” said Steve Ford, a program director for ES’ Survivability, Targeting & Sensing Solutions business area. “They know what they do is important and impactful, and that shows in the way they work together to produce innovative products and technologies.”

Zito has a constant goal for the business: to provide superior services at a lower cost when it comes to engineering, manufacturing and business winning. He constantly follows three main imperatives in working toward this goal – meet your commitments, create strategic partnerships and constantly innovate.

More recently acknowledged for its low-cost manufacturing, the Austin Business Center is still a one-stop shop with the ability to design, build, deliver and support a wide variety of programs.

Now it is ready for its next chapter, and one thing is for sure: it is ready for the ride.

By Anthony DeAngelis and Jessica Roy, Communications, Merrimack, New Hampshire