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L3Harris receives Army purchase orders for Leader and Manpack radios

L3Harris Technologies Inc. has been selected by the U.S. Army to manufacture 1,540 AN/PRC-163 two-channel handheld radios and AN/PRC-158 Manpack radios under a Firm Fixed Price (FFP) award as part of multi-vendor Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract.

As one of two companies selected by the Army to produce radios under the contracts, L3Harris in Rochester will produce 2498 Leader Radios under a $118,700,000 purchase order and produce 2,320 Manpack Radios under a $226,508,661.49 purchase order.

“These well-earned contracts will support jobs at L3Harris, boosting the recovery of the entire Rochester-Finger Lakes region after the economic devastation of the COVID pandemic,” said Sen. Charles Schumer )D-NY) in a statement. “These continued contracts show that the Army recognizes that L3Harris has proven time and time again that it can make superior radios for the U.S. military and our allies around the world. I was proud to work hard on behalf of this world-class producer of radios, and will always fight for investments that both protect our troops and provide a shot in the arm to the Rochester-Finger Lakes economy.”

Schumer is a longtime supporter of L3Harris in Rochester. In 2015, the Army selected the manufacturer as a supplier for the $3.9 billion IDQ Leader radio contract, and in 2016 selected the company as a supplier for the $12.7 billion IDIQ Manpack radio contract. Schumer had pushed for multi-vendor contracts so that all manufacturers, including L3Harris, would have a level playing field in the competitive process.

“I commend Sen. Schumer for his support of open competition and our efforts to deliver on a critical need for the U.S. Army,” said Christopher Kubasik, chairman and CEO of L3Harris. “This multi-year contract will maintain hundreds of jobs in Rochester and sustain small and large suppliers across New York State that will help the DoD stay ahead of the technology curve.”

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L3Harris awarded Marines radio order

L3Harris Technologies' AN/PRC-165 Handheld-Video Data Link tactical radio (provided)
L3Harris Technologies’ AN/PRC-165 Handheld-Video Data Link tactical radio (provided)

The U.S. Marine Corps has awarded L3Harris Technologies Inc. a full-rate production delivery order for its AN/PRC-165 Handheld-Video Data Link tactical radios that will enhance warfighters’ situational awareness and battlefield connectivity. The radios will be built in Rochester.

The L3Harris Falcon IV AN/PRC-165 is a software-defined radio that securely transmits and receives full-motion video and data with multiple manned and unmanned airborne and ground assets, improving the warfighter’s ability to conduct close air support as well as command and control.

“The AN/PRC-165 provides Marines on the ground with full-motion ISR video and data in a secure, resilient, low-SWaP (size, weight and power) transceiver, with full frequency support and modernized Type 1 encryption enabling secure capabilities with the most advanced algorithms,” said Bryant Henson, president, Tactical Communications at L3Harris. “As we move to the future the AN/PRC-165 and all of our Falcon IV SDR products allow for seamless feature and capability upgrades that will support current and next-generation resilient waveforms.”

The AN/PRC-165 leverages L3Harris’ intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance infrastructure, and delivers full compatibility with all existing CDL-based airborne products as well as its globally recognized ROVER product line. Additional features include fully modernized Type 1 encryption that allows secure, continuous and interoperable communications while operating in contested environments.

The Marine Corps is the first branch of the U.S. military to be equipped with L3Harris’ HH-VDL. In 2018, the Air Force awarded L3Harris a five-year, $130 million contract to develop and field the radios. Delivery will begin in L3Harris’ third quarter.

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L3Harris offers discounted tutoring

L3Harris Technologies Inc. is offering employees at each of its locations a new, first-of-its-kind benefit that will help parents who are trying to keep their children from falling behind in school studies due to the pandemic.

L3Harris has partnered with Varsity Tutors to help parents who are looking for educational help for their children who are taking part in online or in-person classes. The service is free or subsidized for L3Harris staffers.

“I’ve worked for large corporations (for) over 14 years and I’ve never taken advantage of company discounts because they either didn’t apply to me or were not that significant,” said Matt Navach, lead, trade compliance for L3Harris. “The timing of L3Harris to offer heavily subsidized or discounted tutoring services during the third semester of COVID-19 forced distance learning was perfect for my 16-year-old son taking four AP exams, SATs and ACTs, all while at home. We signed up the same day (L3Harris Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer) Jim Girard announced the partnership.”

Through the partnership, students can receive 10 hours of one-on-one private online tutoring at a 75 percent discount; 30 percent off additional hours; access to free online assessments; 24/7 homework assistance; and more than 3,000 subjects to interact with on the website. Varsity Tutors also offers celebrity-taught “StarCourses” instructional videos.

In its first month, L3Harris employees had 46 sessions with tutors, officials said. The average session rating provided by employees who participated in the sessions was 4.9 out of 5.

“We just completed the first 24 hours of AP Physics-II and AP Calculus one-on-one tutoring and I signed up for an additional 10 hours. His tutor is very flexible and communicates well, both during their sessions and with the parents. He listens to our goals and adjusts his teaching approach accordingly,” Navach said. “Varsity Tutors offers competitive rates, but with the L3Harris discount, it essentially removes cost from your criteria in selecting a tutor for your family.”

L3Harris employs more than 3,000 staffers in Rochester.

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L3Harris partners with bakery for ‘Pi Day’

In celebration of Pi Day on March 14, L3Harris donated $2,500 worth of locally-made pies from Special Touch Bakery to 88 organizations across Rochester including Regional Transit Service, Rochester Police Department, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and county-wide police and fire departments. (provided)
In celebration of Pi Day on March 14, L3Harris donated $2,500 worth of locally made pies from Special Touch Bakery to 88 organizations across Rochester including Regional Transit Service, Rochester Police Department, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and county-wide police and fire departments. (provided)

L3Harris Technologies Inc. has partnered with Rochester’s Special Touch Bakery to support the region’s first responders.

In celebration of Pi Day on March 14, L3Harris donated $2,500 worth of locally made pies from Special Touch Bakery to 88 organizations across Rochester including Regional Transit Service, Rochester Police Department, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and county-wide police and fire departments.

“We are honored to support the hard-working first responders across our area,” said L3Harris Process and Manufacturing Engineer Christopher Tumminelli. “Not only are they customers that rely on our communications technologies to get their jobs done, but the services they offer our community are so critically important, particularly during these uncertain times. This Pi Day donation is meant as a token of our gratitude.”

The Special Touch Bakery pies were delivered last weekend by a team of 40 volunteers employed by L3Harris.

“We are so pleased that our pies (were) donated to hard-working first responders in our area,” said Joe Perdicho, director of operations at Special Touch Bakery. “Through this effort, L3Harris is not only showing support for these vital organizations, but they are also helping to provide meaningful employment opportunities to people of all abilities at Special Touch Bakery.”

Special Touch Bakery is a nonprofit that provides skill-building and employment opportunities to people of all abilities. The bakery provides a variety of craft-made, premium pies to wholesale and retail customers nationwide and is an operation of School of the Holy Childhood, a local nonprofit that serves more than 200 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in its school program and in its adult program.

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L3Harris awarded $233 million contracts in Australia

L3Harris Technologies Inc. has been awarded contracts totaling $233 million from the Australian Defence Force to deliver secure communications and advanced night vision goggle technology to support the country’s key modernization initiatives.

L3Harris was awarded a three-year, $115 million follow-on FFP contract under the Direct Commercial Sale arrangements for the Australian Defence Force’s Delphic – Cryptographic Modernization program. L3Harris will deliver tactical radios, waveforms and ancillaries that support emerging cryptographic modernization standards.

The company also was awarded a $118 million contract to provide advanced night vision goggle technology to enhance Army soldiers’ ability to locate and engage threats, improving their situational awareness, mobility and safety. The award follows L3Harris’ successful delivery of night vision technology for Tranche 1 of the Land 53 program in 2020.

Both contracts include full in-country support and repair capabilities in Australia.

“These key modernization programs extend L3Harris’ long-term partnership with the Australian Defence Force, supporting mission needs for advanced secure communications and night vision capabilities, and will also leverage our expanded technical support capability in Australia,” said Dana Mehnert, president of L3Harris’ Communication Systems division, based in Rochester.

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L3Harris awarded $57 million Army contract

L3Harris Technologies Inc. has been awarded a $57 million competitive order for its Falcon IV AN/PRC-163 two-channel handheld radios that are produced in Rochester.

The U.S. Army will take delivery of the radios and related equipment and services beginning in early 2021, officials said. The order is part of the Army’s two-channel Leader radio IDIQ contract.

The radios enable warfighters to share information up and down the chain of command integrating voice and data across the Army’s Integrated Tactical Network. The radio enables robust command and control by integrating seamlessly into soldier systems such as the Army’s Nett Warrior and Enhanced Night Vision Goggle-Binocular programs.

“The AN/PRC-163 is the most capable handheld radio in the market. It provides warfighters with a broad range of secure interoperable communications capabilities today and the ability to host resilient waveforms required to address evolving future requirements,” said L3Harris President, Communication Systems Dana Mehnert.

This is the third Low Rate Initial Production order for L3Harris after two previous delivery orders on the contract. The IDIQ contract includes a 5-year base and an additional 5-year option, with a ceiling of $3.9 billion. The Army expects to purchase roughly 100,000 two-channel Leader Radios under the IDIQ contract, officials said.

It is one of numerous multi-million-dollar contracts awarded to the global aerospace and defense technology company this year. L3Harris has 48,000 employees, including several thousand in its two Rochester divisions.

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L3Harris awarded military contracts

Two of the L3Harris Technologies Inc. divisions based in Rochester have been tapped by the U.S. military to develop communications tools for land and air.

U.S. Special Operations Command has awarded L3Harris an initial $82 million full-rate production order for its new Falcon IV AN/PRC-167 multi-channel manpack radio that will provide Special Operations Forces with advanced communications capabilities. The radios will be produced in Rochester at L3Harris’ Communications Systems division.

Separately, L3Harris’ Space and Airborne Systems division will help the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) develop artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) systems to help reduce the amount of time it takes to decipher usable intelligence from increasing amounts of data collected from space and airborne assets.

L3Harris will research, develop and demonstrate an AI/ML interface using data science techniques under a new multimillion-dollar contract to support DOD applications.

“L3Harris’ work will allow the DOD to turn massive volumes of data into actionable intelligence,” said Space and Airborne Systems President Ed Zoiss. “The abundance of data collected by space and airborne assets is only increasing. The findings of this research will directly address the data processing challenges within the DOD and Intelligence Community.”

L3Harris will perform the Space and Airborne Systems work in Rochester, Melbourne, Fla., and Herndon, Va.

The Communication Systems order is part of a $255 million IDIQ contract awarded by USSOCOM under the Next Generation Tactical Communications program to deliver multi-channel manpack radios.

The multi-channel manpack and handheld radios are key elements of USSOCOM’s next-generation tactical communications. They provide complete DoD and coalition interoperability with the disruptive technology needed to enable mission success against current and future threats.

“SOF are constantly pushing boundaries to execute their missions with greater stealth and speed,” said Communication Systems President Dana Mehnert. “The AN/PRC-167 provides situational understanding between the tactical edge and command elements, allowing cognitive overmatch in any operational scenario.”

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L3Harris awards grants to six local charities

Six area nonprofits have received social impact grants from L3Harris Technologies Inc. as part of the manufacturer’s effort to provide relief to communities it resides in.

The L3Harris Foundation this month distributed grants in 19 states to organizations that applied for funds to address a wide range of needs, including the digital divide, food insecurity, veteran aid, mentorships for STEM students, economic opportunities for small businesses and more.

Local recipients include Cameron Community Ministries, Gigi’s Playhouse, Gilda’s Club, Rochester Education Foundation, Warrior Salute Veteran Services and Young Women’s College Prep Foundation.

“The pandemic has placed a tremendous strain on all facets of our Rochester community,” said Dana Mehnert, president, communication systems for L3Harris. The division is based in Rochester. “The L3Harris Foundation social impact grants will help provide some relief to those most in need, especially students, parents, communities and small businesses in areas where our employees work and live.”

Cameron Community Ministries’ goal is to serve the community and to break the cycle of generational poverty by teaching independence. The grant will fund full day and hybrid models of academic support for Rochester City School District students during the COVID crisis.

Gilda’s Club will use the grant to provide cancer transitions and survivorship classes to patients in the wake of COVID-19, while REF plans to use the grant to promote college empowerment and FAFSA aid, which has been absent due to the pandemic.

Warrior Salute Veteran Services will provide no-cost telehealth and tele-therapies for veterans dealing with isolation and depressions due to COVID-19, and the Young Women’s College Prep Foundation will use the grant to buy new Chromebooks for students in grades 7 through 12 that attend its charter school.

In addition to the grants, L3Harris has provided more than $450 million in accelerated payments to small-business suppliers in 45 states to sustain the nation’s supply chain. Company employees have volunteered to provide respirators, free communications apps and STEM-oriented “Tech in 10” videos for students.

Staffers also are volunteering to assist organizations through the company’s L3Harris Investing for Tomorrow volunteer program, which supports numerous initiatives throughout the year.

In New York state, L3Harris has donated $267,000 to charities. The company has 20 locations and more than 5,000 employees statewide.

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Gigi’s Playhouse receives L3Harris grant

Gigi’s Playhouse Rochester has received a $25,000 Social Impact Grant from L3Harris Technologies Inc. to support math education for school-aged children with disabilities who have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The math sessions will be offered throughout the year and are free to all participating GiGi’s families.

“Children with disabilities have been at a significant disadvantage during the COVID-19 pandemic because they tend to rely on direct, hands-on and individualized instruction to attain their academic goals,” said GiGi’s Playhouse Rochester president Jennifer Bustamante. “To fill this gap, GiGi’s is offering an in-person educational program for individuals with Down syndrome, with a focus on children who are attending full-time or part-time remote schooling in their school districts.”

A key focus area of the math programs will be parental involvement and support. GiGi’s will provide each parent with an introductory set of math manipulatives and will give each parent a guide on specific activities that can be done at home to support the lessons that are taught at the Playhouse.

“The L3Harris Technologies grant will help support the math component of our educational program. Many individuals with Down syndrome struggle with math because they have significant deficits in their working memory and the abstract nature of math relies on a strong working memory,” Bustamante said.

Working memory is the “workspace” where individuals keep information during processing or manipulation and it plays an essential role in mathematical learning, even in the most basic mathematical functions as comparing numbers and one-to-one correspondence and counting.

“Despite their challenges with working memory, individuals with Down syndrome tend to have very strong visual-spatial short-term memory, making the ability to learn from visual information a relative strength,” Bustamante added.

GiGi’s in-person educational programs – including math and literacy – will also serve a secondary target population of teens and adults with Down syndrome who were not given adequate learning opportunities when they were younger. Each student will have an instructional volunteer who has received training from a special education teacher.

“While shifting to online work is safer, we are seeing more and more students being impacted by inequities in educational access,” said L3Harris Community Affairs Director Erica Lemp. “GiGi’s Playhouse has continued to provide literacy programs, tutoring resources, language skills and one-on-one opportunities to keep students engaged throughout the pandemic. We applaud GiGi’s Playhouse and their impact on the community and the students they serve.”

GiGi’s Playhouse Rochester is a non-profit that serves people with Down syndrome from prenatal diagnosis to adulthood focusing on achievement, belief and confidence. Open since 2017, it is part of GiGi’s Playhouse network of 48 Down Syndrome Achievement Centers in the United States and Mexico — the only network of its kind that provides free, life-changing therapeutic, educational and career training programs for more than 30,000 individuals of all ages.

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L3Harris completes work on NASA telescope

L3Harris Technologies Inc.’s Rochester Space & Airborne Systems team has finished figuring, polishing and coating the primary mirror for NASA’s Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope, formerly known as the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope, bringing it one step closer to launch.

Roman’s primary mirror will collect and focus light from exoplanets, stars, galaxies and supernovae for the telescope, ultimately feeding scientific instruments. The telescope will allow scientists to study the cosmos in a complementary way to the Hubble Space Telescope, using a 100-times larger field of view than Hubble in order to study far more objects in the sky.

“Scientific instruments require precision and accuracy, which is what our technicians and engineers brought to developing the Roman telescope’s primary mirror,” said Ed Zoiss, president of L3Harris Space and Airborne Systems. “Fabricating space telescope mirrors is a craft, involving a painstaking process to remove molecules of glass that interfere with a mirror’s precision. Ultimately, our work will help scientists discover parts of the universe previously unseen, like exoplanets and dark energy.”

The primary mirror has undergone testing in L3Harris’ thermal vacuum chambers designed to simulate the cold, harsh space environment, and an optical test verified the performance of the mirror. Engineers and technicians will simulate zero gravity by offloading the weight of the mirror through specialty support equipment specifically developed for this purpose.

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L3Harris doubles down on commitment to Rochester

While many businesses struggle through the COVID-19 pandemic, L3Harris Technologies Inc. has experienced a number of recent wins, including new contracts, investments and support of small business suppliers.

The manufacturer, which has its Communications Systems and Space and Airborne Systems segments in Rochester, has jumped more than 200 spots — from 474 to 250 — in the recently released Fortune 500 rankings, which were based on preliminary reported revenues for the newly-merged company.

Rankings indicate L3Harris is the sixth-largest defense contractor nationwide, with $17 billion in annual revenue, 48,000 employees worldwide and customers in 100 countries. And the company, at least locally, continues to grow.

On Monday, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, a longtime supporter of the local facilities, said the company will have 300 new workers by the end of the year; L3Harris is looking for 125 new workers to join the 175 it already has hired. Eighty of those new hires are recent college graduates, the senator said.

The jobs L3Harris is hoping to fill are in both manufacturing and engineering.

“Our world-class Rochester workforce is eager to get to work, including our new graduates who are celebrating a huge milestone in the midst of a global pandemic,” Schumer said in a statement this week. “I have fought relentlessly over the years to level the playing field and make companies like 3Harris competitive for government contracts that create new jobs and fuel the Rochester-Finger Lakes economy. This new hiring announced by L3Harris is a win-win for Rochester’s job seekers, L3Harris’ continued success and the entire Rochester-Finger Lakes economy.”

In January, L3Harris was awarded a five-year, $100 million contract from U.S. Special Operations Command to work on the agency’s very small aperture terminals (VSAT), and in April, the company was awarded a contract with the U.S. Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) for up to $500 million.

Earlier in May, L3Harris reported first-quarter revenue of $4.6 billion, up nearly 170 percent from GAAP revenue a year ago.

But since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March, L3Harris has developed a number of initiatives that have little to do with the company’s bottom line.

The company’s Space and Airborne Systems has more than 20 engineers who have tapped into their creative side to produce a series of short, informal “Tech in 10” edutainment videos designed for teachers, parents and students around the world who are hungry for engaging science, technology, engineering and math content.

Mechanical Engineer Jonathan Missel, for example, traded in his computer screen for a video camera to help educate and entertain students out of school with a video that introduces the problems posed by space debris. In his video, available at the L3Harris YouTube channel, Missel introduces the problems posed by space debris and discusses potential solutions that industry and government could use to address the challenge.

The video series is part of the manufacturer’s overall efforts to support its employees, customers, supplies and communities combatting COVID-19. L3Harris has contributed $2 million — including $50,000 to the United Way in New York State — and provided additional equipment and resources to organizations involved in COVID-19 relief and recovery efforts, as well as provided a two-times match to employee designated gifts to those and other organizations, officials noted. The funds support initiatives globally, with special emphasis on regions where L3Harris has a significant presence.

L3Harris is supporting New York’s economic recovery in a number of ways including accelerated payments to more than 240 small business suppliers to support local companies that play a critical role in sustaining the area’s economy and ensure the nation’s security, officials said.

The company is making more than $100 million in accelerated payments to small businesses in 45 states nationwide that are part of its global supply chain.

“We would like to express our thanks to L3Harris for its decision to accelerate payments to small business suppliers,” said Christa Roesner, president of Triplex Industries Inc., an L3Harris supplier in Rochester “The COVID-19 pandemic continues to place stress on our economy and every individual, so we appreciate L3Harris’ commitment to supporting small businesses during this critical time.”

The company also plans to invest $115 million in internal research and development initiatives here during 2020, officials said. The investments will fund staffing and equipment and support suppliers throughout the state. The company annually invests roughly 4 percent of revenues in internal R&D to develop new products and solutions to address its customers’ critical missions.

“These initiatives reflect L3Harris’ commitment to support our employees, customers, suppliers and communities,” said L3Harris Chairman and CEO William Brown in a statement this week. “We are proud to help New York’s economic recovery, particularly during this difficult period.”

L3Harris was founded in Rochester in the 1960s and is now headquartered in Melbourne, Fla. The company has some 5,100 employees operating in more than 20 locations across the state including Rochester, Binghamton and Long Island.

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L3Harris posts 170 percent increase in Q1 revenue

L3Harris Technologies Inc. on Tuesday reported first-quarter revenue of $4.6 billion, up nearly 170 percent from GAAP revenue a year ago, beating Street estimates.

Net income for the quarter was $194 million, down 20 percent from $243 million in the year-ago quarter. On a per-share basis, earnings were 99 cents, down 51 percent from $2.02 a year ago.

Adjusted earnings for the quarter were $808 million, or $2.80 per diluted share, up from $693 million, or $2.32 per diluted share in the first quarter last year. Analysts polled by Zacks Investment Research had expected earnings of $2.61 on revenue of $4.59 billion.

“In these unprecedented times, we have remained focused on protecting the health and safety of our employees while meeting the mission-essential requirements of our customers,” said Chairman and CEO William Brown in a statement. “We are also focused on supporting our suppliers and the communities where we live and work.”

L3Harris’ Communication Systems division, headquartered in Rochester, reported GAAP revenue of $1.094 billion in the first quarter, up from $580 million a year ago. Operating income was $250 million, up from $167 million in the first quarter last year.

While the company is off to a solid start, Brown said, L3Harris is reigning in its guidance as a result of the uncertain environment caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. L3Harris updated its fiscal 2020 guidance for revenue in the range of $18.3 billion to $18.6 billion, with GAAP earnings of $6.95 to $7.35 per share.

Shares of company stock (NYSE: LHX) Tuesday afternoon were trading at $189.07, up from Monday’s close of $186.82.

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Area businesses switch things up for pandemic

As the pandemic continues to clamp down on numerous industries, more local manufacturers find ways to stay relevant and help those in need.

BeOn devices
BeOn devices

L3Harris Technologies this month began offering its BeOn software application for free to healthcare and public safety workers, allowing users to turn their smartphones, laptops and other devices into an encrypted public safety radio. This enables immediate communications to individuals or large talk groups.

L3Harris has made the service available for free for 90 days to agencies responding to COVID-19 operations.

Dana Mehnert
Dana Mehnert

“While first responders rely on handheld radios for their day-to-day communications, many of these healthcare heroes do not carry or have access to handheld public safety radios,” said Dana Mehnert, president of L3Harris’ Communication Systems, headquartered here. “Agencies that are currently using BeOn in their communities have called this offering a ‘game-changer’ for their COVID-19 response efforts as they are now able to connect many users from a variety of groups without having to issue, manage and sanitize handheld radios.”

Rochester-based Herogard, a health and wellness startup founded by scientists, doctors and engineers, is offering medical-grade filter face masks to the community. The masks are available for $25 for 30 and for every purchase, Herogard will donate masks to essential workers and marginalized communities who would otherwise not have access to vitally needed protection

The first beneficiary of the masks was Foodlink Inc., the regional food bank serving 10 counties in the Rochester area. Foodlink’s essential workers will receive the masks as they mobilize resources and distribute food to food-insecure households. Foodlink said the first donation of masks would be used by its kitchen workers.

Face mask produced by Century Mold (photo provided)
Face mask produced by Century Mold (photo provided)

In March, Century Mold, one of North America’s leading injection molders, began making medical face shields for local health care facilities. The arrangement was the result of a call from Rochester Regional Health and Rochester General Hospital, said Terry Hodge, Century Mold’s executive vice president.

“I could not be more proud of our team,” Hodge said in a statement at the time. “By working 20-plus hours a day … our team was able to apply our engineering, tooling and manufacturing expertise and fill a critical need for a very important new partner. We have always been willing to help others, but now we are helping our entire community better face the health challenge in front of us.”

BigSky Technologies LLC is a materials science company that manufactures textile finishes inspired by nature. The company recently said its GreenShield Co. division is responding to the global coronavirus pandemic by evaluating its products’ effectiveness in reducing the ability of the virus to contaminate and transmit on different surfaces.

20-0421-greenshield-logo-resizedA small amount of fluorochemical used in the GreenShield finish provides a surface that repels oil-based materials such as viruses. Because COVID-19 has an oily lipid outer layer, breaking the layer causes the virus to fall apart. Company officials said that when coming into contact with materials treated with GreenShield viruses do not adhere to the surface but rather roll off the surface structure, making the product particularly attractive for lab coats, surgical gowns and other protective clothing.

“The little bit of fluorochemical-based GreenShield C6XL goes a long way towards clean, safe surfaces on personal protective materials,” said Cathy Fleischer, managing partner and co-founder of BigSky Technologies. “In the crisis that we are dealing with, GreenShield treated fabrics are easy to clean, reduce their impact on the environment and increase health and safety.”

Xerox hand sanitizer (photo provided)
Xerox hand sanitizer (photo provided)

Xerox Holdings Corp. joins a list of local companies switching things up and manufacturing hand sanitizer from frontline healthcare workers. The document company expects to produce some 140,000 gallons of hand sanitizer by June 2020 at its facilities in Webster and in Toronto.

“This is a time for every company, every person, to look at what they can do to help society,” Xerox Vice Chairman and CEO John Visentin said in a statement last week. “Essentials like hand sanitizer will continue to be in high demand. The team moved fast, figured out how to get over the hurdles and are starting to deliver product — all in under a month.”

Xerox, in a partnership with Vortran Medical Technology, is helping to speed and scale the production of the GO2Vent ventilator and related Airway Pressure Monitor for hospitals and emergency response units fighting the virus.

Carestream Health has increased production of its portable diagnostic imaging systems, noting that as unlikely facilities begin to function as urgent care units, the Rochester company’s DRX-Revolution Mobile X-ray System and DRX-Revolution Nano Mobile X-ray System bring the X-ray exam to the patient’s bedside.

“Our manufacturing plans and warehouses are operating at full capacity with employees putting in long hours and extra days to support the healthcare professionals who are on the front line of this exhausting fight,” said Charlie Hicks, Carestream’s general manager for premium tier solutions. “Likewise, Carestream suppliers and partners are ramping up production to help support this humanitarian crisis.”

Similarly, L-Tron Corp., a Victor firm that offers technology products and solutions to automate data capture, has tripled its mobile X-ray components, based on increased customer demand. L-Tron engineers supply custom-configured components for seamless integration into mobile X-ray machines and antibody blood analyzing tests, both of which are used for COVID-19 diagnosis, treatment and study by medical professionals.

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L3Harris awarded $500 million U.S. Space Force contract

L3Harris Technologies Inc. has been awarded a contract with the U.S. Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) for up to $500 million.

Space payload (photo provided)
Space payload (photo provided)

The contract is for the Air Force and Army Anti-jam Modem (A3M). A3M provides the Department of the Air Force and Army with a secure, wideband, anti-jam satellite communications terminal modem for tactical satellite communication operations. The contract and order were received in the first quarter of 2020 with an initial order valued at nearly $31 million.

“With the proliferation and growing sophistication of threats in the electromagnetic spectrum, it has become increasingly important to enhance protected communications capabilities for the warfighter,” said Dana Mehnert, president of L3Harris’ Communication Systems, located in Rochester. “The A3M technology solution enhances the warfighter’s ability to communicate critical data by maintaining resilient and secure satellite communications in highly congested and contested environments that include the presence of adversarial jamming.”

L3Harris will collaborate with SMC for the design, development, fabrication, integration, certification and testing of Block 1 modems for use in the Air Force Ground Multiband Terminal and the Army Satellite Transportable Terminal. The jam-resistant modems support SMC’s Protected Tactical Waveform technology, an anti-jam capability operating on military satellite communication terminals through the Wideband Global Satcom constellation.

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Students get boost in job, internship searches at RIT job fairs

If there’s any doubt that Rochester Institute of Technology is still career-oriented, that doubt would evaporate quickly at one of the university’s job fairs.

The second of two career fairs for all majors this year was held last week, drawing some 5,000 students looking for co-op jobs or internships now or full-time employment once they graduate. Approximately 800 recruiters were on hand, representing 240 companies. 

The undertaking is so massive, students have to consult an app to find their way to the booths for company representatives they’re seeking out.  

The flip side of this massive fair, however, took place the day before at the much smaller Affinity Reception. Here, in a reverse image of the larger job fair, students from diverse backgrounds staffed the information tables, and it was the recruiters who milled about and called upon them. The reception was set up on a balcony overlooking the Gordon Field House’s arena that would house the big fair the next day.  

Numbers were much smaller at this reception. Just 43 students formally registered (organizers assumed others just walked in) to participate, and 52 recruiters, representing 30 companies, showed up to talk to them, often singling out students for an impromptu interview. 

“It’s a lot more intimate,” said Isabella Totino, a second-year computer science student from Boston. She was one of the students at the Women in Computing table. 

 At each of a handful of stations was a student group or university program. They included the Women in Engineering group, RIT chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers and the local chapter of the Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers.  

As companies realize diversity is a good thing, a job fair like this one allows them a chance to improve their labor pool.  

“I don’t think you can ever have enough diversity, no matter how good your metrics are,” said Diana Solt, an RIT alumna who was on campus to recruit for her employer, L3Harris.

 “Though Totino had already secured summer employment, she said the fairs and working with the Women in Computing club give her a chance to make connections. Recruiters seemed genuinely interested in hiring diverse candidates. 

“I feel they do feel a need in the computer industry,” Totino said. “They know they’re not reaching their full potential.”

Solt, in strategy development at L3Harris, was hoping to secure perhaps 40 interns and 50 new graduates for permanent jobs.   

“We’re coming for perspectives — different thoughts on how to solve the world’s biggest problems, she said.

 At the big job fair the next day, Solt expected to talk to more than 300 students. But at the decidedly more chill Affinity Reception, she was able to have in-depth conversations with job candidates without the din of thousands of others talking around them.  

 Since the merger of Harris and L3 in 2019, L3Harris has been growing, said Chandler Kozyra, who handles university relations for communication systems at the company. The merger has opened up opportunities for new contracts, causing the company to need to bring on people quickly who can grow with the new demands. The defense contractor employs approximately 55,000 worldwide, he said, and about 3,800 in Rochester.   

RIT students and graduates make excellent hires, Solt said, because of their background in STEM fields, the applied skills they gain through their education there, and their co-op experiences. 

“It’s unbelievable,” she said. RIT students are “so talented, so smart, so ambitious.”

Maria Richart, director of career services and cooperative education at RIT, said the university offers seven job fairs each year, with some tailored to specific disciplines. Fairs are organized specifically for packaging, civil engineering, creative arts and academic and job opportunities abroad. The university also hosts talks, presentations and other special events aimed at connecting students with employers or preparing the student to start looking for a job. 

Earlier this week, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and Proctor & Gamble were scheduled to make presentations. Tesla was looking to interview students in three specific majors for potential work, and a fair aimed at preparing creative arts students to seek employment were all scheduled.

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