$34B merger to potentially trigger hiring in Rochester

October 15, 2018 09:52 PM

Company executives, and New York U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer insisted Monday that the proposed merger between technology contractors Harris Corporation and L3 Technologies would result in no job losses in Rochester. 

They say it could spur new hiring instead.

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"Overall, we'll be growing our presence and looking for new talent and additional talent in Rochester," declared Dana Mehnert, president of Harris' communications systems segment.

On Sunday, the two companies announced plans to link up in what press materials described as an all-stock 'merger of equals.' 

The merger would create a $34 billion company and America's 6th biggest military contractor, one poised to rival traditional titans like Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics in the competition for large military contracts.

The combined company was to be named L3 Harris Technologies.

"The combination of the two companies will be a stronger competitors, so we will win more business," Mehnert told News10NBC on Monday. "That will give us the potential, I think, to grow our businesses even more quickly than we would have been able to do." 

Melbourne Florida-based Harris employs more than 3,500 workers at its communications and space technology facilities in Rochester while New York City-based L3 has 140 employees developing satellite-ground communications at a plant in Victor.

On Monday, Senator Schumer announced he had conferred with Harris CEO William Brown who, Schumer said, reassured him the merger would trigger no job reductions, either at Harris in Rochester or L3 in Victor.

"In fact," Schumer added, "he said there's a good chance for growth. And he doesn't want to make it public but there are a few things they are thinking of doing that would expand job growth here in Rochester for Harris."

The notion of Harris expanding and doing more hiring was encouraging for Maria Richart, director of Career Services at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

"Harris is really one of our top, number one, employers," she said, "especially for College of Engineering and our College Engineering Technology."

Twice a year, Richard recounted, Harris would routinely hold hiring events seeking candidates skilled in technology. 

She cited an informal survey on LinkedIn which showed that, over the years, more than 1,000 RIT students or graduates had been hired or did training at Harris. 

"More opportunities," she exclaimed. "More opportunities for students in other majors, not just computing, but maybe some students in the business school or even more research opportunities would be awesome."

Mehnert anticipated minimal overlap in the two companies' specialties, one reason executives said there would be little to no need for job eliminations.  

While Harris' communications field largely concentrated on ground communications, L3 focused more on communications in the air and in space, he said.  

The new company, he predicted, would be able to integrate broad, complementary fields of expertise in ways the Pentagon would find extremely valuable. 
"It's not just bringing a widget or a product to them," he said. "It's 'how do you understand their mission? How do you give them a complete solution?' We'll be in a much better position to do that across the air domain, the ground domain, surface domain, the undersea domain, and in space."

Conditional upon approval by federal regulators, and company stockholders, the companies predicted the merger would be completed by mid 2019.


Charles Molineaux

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