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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