Pulse news magazine

Volume 31, December 2020

Turning up the HEAT in Austin

Artist rendering of new Austin campus.

Austin is known for its live music, diverse culture, great BBQ and Tex-Mex food, high-tech companies, and proud slogan “Keep Austin Weird.” These are just a few of the many reasons why this city is a great place to live and work.

At BAE Systems, our Austin Business Center is home to nearly 700 employees. Our goal is to bridge the gap between idea and reality – bringing new technology to life to better serve our customers and community. With EO/IR engineering and manufacturing capabilities, STEM partnerships with local universities and organizations, and a passion for sustainable initiatives, there is no shortage of innovation at our Austin site.

In this issue of Pulse, learn about what makes this site special and how our employees are turning up the HEAT in Texas.

Fun Facts

  • In 2019, U.S. News and World Report listed Austin as the #1 Best Place to Live.
  • This capital city is home to the University of Texas, Formula F1 auto racing, SXSW interactive film, music and technology festival, and the Army Futures Command.
  • Austin is the 11th largest city in the country and is on its way to being in the top 10.
  • The city is pretty well known to be home for many celebrities including Matthew McConaughey, Sandra Bullock, Willie Nelson, Elijah Wood, and Joe Rogan.
  • Throughout several acquisitions, the Austin site changed names from Texas Research Associates Corporation, to Tracor, Inc., to Marconi Aerospace, to BAE Systems in 1999.

Human Capital

Austin employee Clarence Mitschke. Meet Clarence Mitschke, a machine tool operator for the Countermeasure & Electromagnetic Attack Solutions business, who joined the company in 1966. He has been the man behind the scenes working in the middle of all the action on the manufacturing floor – studying blueprints and layouts, preparing instruments, operating machines, and ensuring there are no defects in the parts. 

“I started working for the former Tracor business when I was 26 years old, working on fixture drilling parts,” he said. He went on to building special machine parts for defense programs handling six stations at a time and making special tools to install hardware into sheet metal parts. “I have enjoyed working at BAE Systems and the people I have met over the years – it really is a great place to work.” Clarence added.

Austin employee Kristine Anderson. Kristine Anderson, AREA512 program manager, plays a major role in overseeing the construction of the new Austin campus. She is responsible for the overall scope, budget, and schedule of the project. This involves working internally with the current Austin Business Center functions/employees and the business areas, as well as externally with the architect/developer and the city of Austin.

As a Mexican-American, Kristine is committed to diversity and inclusion initiatives, including mentoring young female engineers and participating in multiple Employee Resource Groups. Kristine started working at BAE Systems in Nashua, New Hampshire, seven years ago, and relocated to Austin in 2017.

External Focus

In August 2020, we announced our plans to expand operations with a new major campus development in Parmer Austin Business Park. This 390,000-square-foot facility will include state-of-the art engineering, manufacturing, laboratory, and office space with room to house more than 1,400 employees. Our expansion will continue our longstanding legacy of innovation in Austin to grow next-generation capabilities that include the design, development, and manufacturing of radio frequency and electro-optical/infrared countermeasure systems for our primarily defense customers.

Our growth fuels our continuous commitment to not only accelerate the development of key technologies for our customers but also give back to the communities we serve. We continue to establish new partnerships through our Tech Power grant program which focuses on using technology to improve lives and advance careers for veterans and underrepresented populations.

One of our Tech Power nonprofit partners in Austin is Skillpoint Alliance. This workforce development organization provides in-demand workforce training, including advanced manufacturing, to vulnerable members of the Central Texas community. When individuals have a chance to experience modern manufacturing firsthand, their attitudes and opinions about the industry shift. This is why we partner with organizations, like Skillpoint Alliance, who are dedicated to shaping the next generation of manufacturing professionals.

Achieving Operational Excellence 

Going Green in Austin

The Austin Business Center has a very active Sustainability Committee, composed of dedicated employees who lead “green” initiatives that can be practiced at home and/or in the local community.

Some of those initiatives on campus include:

  • “Green catering” options, including compostable containers and utensils for food service
  • A composting and recycling program
  • Volunteer workdays to remove invasive plants and trees
  • Rainwater harvesting tanks for educational gardens on campus
  • Reclaimed water for cooling towers
  • A program to save Monarch butterflies

For more information or to get involved, contact ES’ Sustainability program at: amber.silkenson@baesystems.com.

Technology Disruption

Austin is a well-known technology hub, with notable residents like the U.S. Army Futures Command and the Austin Capital Factory. Our employees are at the center of this robust innovation ecosystem, collaborating with local startups, small businesses, and universities to accelerate the development of key technologies in autonomy, cyber, sensor development, and electronic warfare. And, they’re manufacturing those leading-edge capabilities right on the Austin facility’s factory floor.

  • C4ISRS* provides actionable intelligence for our warfighters and decision makers through innovative technical solutions from the seas, to the skies, to the stars.
  • Countermeasure & Electromagnetic Attack Solutions specializes in next-generation threat detection, countermeasure, and attack technology to provide customers with full-spectrum electronic warfare capabilities to enhance mission survivability.
  • Electronic Combat Solutions delivers affordable and effective electronic warfare mission systems that provide operational advantages and protect our warfighters.
  • FAST Labs™ innovates science, technology, and engineering breakthroughs to solve our customers’ toughest challenges in the areas of advanced electronics, autonomy, cyber, electronic warfare, and sensors and processing.
  • Precision Strike designs and manufactures state-of-the-art systems and technology that enable our customers to execute their precision strike missions.
*Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Systems.