Expanding our footprint
The acceleration of growth across our enterprise has spurred hiring, renewed our commitment to operational excellence, and increased the pace of innovation to a great degree within the Electronic Systems sector in the last two years.
One of the most tangible changes as we turn up the HEAT in ES is the influx of new employees to our ranks, a sign of the success in the execution of our Human Capital strategy. The growth of the last two years has positioned us to offer tremendous opportunities to our workforce, but has also stretched our facilities infrastructure to capacity.
To respond to the stress on our sites, ES has commenced expansion, with two new sites announced in Manchester, New Hampshire, and Huntsville, Alabama in addition to augmenting existing office space in Texas, New Jersey, and elsewhere in New Hampshire.
Finding the right space in the geographical regions we want to be in is a challenge,” said ES Vice President and Deputy General Manager Ray Brousseau. “We're being selective in the real estate we choose to make sure it meets both our business needs as well as allowing modernization of work spaces not only for today, but in the future.”
How are new sites identified? A combination of factors are taken into consideration, including proximity to customers, the strength and skillset of the local work force, and the presence of universities in the vicinity. As our business grows, it's important that we attract and retain people with the skills that match the work planned for each site.
New facilities also play a big role in the experience our new employees have when they join the business.
“Modern workspaces, with open floorplans and natural light, create a better working environment for all employees, but they’re particularly important for new hires, who are comparing our facilities to the likes of Google and Facebook,” said Ray Bradshaw, vice president of Human Resources at ES. “To attract and retain top talent, the minutiae matters.”
Human Resources is working with other functions to ensure that new hires have their computers available immediately, and that their office spaces are ready for them when they arrive. It's also pairing long-tenured employees with new hires to help in the assimilation process.
“It forces us to examine our culture and behaviors,” said Karen Harris, director of Human Resources. “We are adapting a mentality that's open to change rather than being fixated on, ‘that's not how we do things here.”
The new Manchester facility, which will open in 2020, will provide workspace for 800 employees. The work performed there will focus on next generation electronic warfare capabilities. The site also will offer secure space for technology innovation, allowing our business areas to deliver critical capabilities to the warfighter. According to Brousseau, one reason the site was ideal is that it's located near the core Electronic Combat Solutions business area work force, which will allow for rotational opportunities and other sharing of resources.
In Huntsville, which is known as Rocket City because of its legacy of work on space missions, the 83,000 square foot facility will house more than 200 employees. The state-of-the-art site will be used for the design, development, and manufacturing of precision munitions and aircraft survivability technology for the Survivability, Targeting, and Sensing Solutions business area.
Growth at our site in Austin, Texas also is receiving attention. The site has welcomed 100 new employees in the last several months, and expects significant additional growth in the next two years. We've made $5 million in improvements to its factory floor to help improve workflow and maintain quality standards. We're also researching, piloting, and implement 3D printing, advanced robotics, digitization, and cyber manufacturing to bring Austin's operations into the future and work on programs like the Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System® and the ALE-47 dispenser system.
Electronic Systems is poised to continue its growth trajectory, and modernizing and expanding its facilities will follow that path. As an influx of new colleagues joins our work force and new facilities augment our footprint, we are presented with the opportunity to meet new people, improve old processes, and invigorate our own careers. The Human Capital strategy touches every employee, long-tenured and new, in this way.
Shelby Cohen, Communications, Endicott, NY