Influentials - Top 150 Public Companies
Defense & Space
Nearly half of Harris Corp.’s 15,000 employees are engineers. Howard Lance has been CEO of the $5-billion company since 2003. [Photo: Jeffrey Camp]
The precise extent of Harris Corp.’s products (Public No. 15) is impossible to determine — some research areas at the Melbourne-based company are so sensitive they’re off-limits to even the most senior company personnel. Harris is clearly a standout, however, both among defense contractors nationwide and in the state’s high-tech business community. A major employer of top engineering graduates from UCF, UF and other state universities, Harris designs, builds and sells a variety of communications and IT equipment, ranging from military radios and satellite gear to maritime technology, air-traffic control, Census IT and public safety communications equipment. President and CEO Howard Lance, former president of NCR, has headed the company since 2003.
OUT-OF-STATE FIRMS: Big defense contractors like Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and DRS Technologies all have numerous facilities and business units throughout Florida. Northrop Grumman builds the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye, a Navy carrier-based early warning aircraft, in St. Augustine at a plant that employs more than 800. Lockheed Martin does advanced radar research and conducts other operations in Melbourne and operates several defense-related business units in the Orlando area. In Palm Beach County, United Technologies has a number of operations, including the Sikorsky Aircraft plant. In Brevard County, United Launch Alliance and United Space Alliance — both joint ventures of Lockheed Martin and Boeing that conduct rocket launches for the government — are among the big employers of thousands of technicians and scientists whose jobs are threatened by cutbacks in the country’s space program. — Mark Howard