Northrop Grumman to close FW location

October 4th, 2013

News Coverage:

Northrop Grumman to close FW location

Posted: Friday, October 4, 2013 11:30 am | Updated: 2:40 pm, Fri Oct 4, 2013.

By Doug LeDuc

The Fort Wayne operations of Northrop Grumman Corp. will relocate to the Chicago area in the coming months as the company adjusts along with other defense contractors to reduced U.S. military spending.

Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems employs about 20 at its offices at 6112 Constitution Drive and “by the end of the year the employees, the ones transferring, will transfer and the building will be closed,” said Scott Maddox, site manager.

The Falls Church, Va.-based defense contractor plans to fold the work they are doing into its operations in Rolling Meadows, Ill., where a company website states it employs more than 2,100.

“The decision was made early in September and the reasoning was the same as (the reasons for) Raytheon and Exelis and General Dynamics having reductions in force: It’s the budget turmoil on the DOD (U.S. Department of Defense) side,” Maddox said.

Not all of Northrop Grummans local employees will choose to transfer, and it has sought the assistance of WorkOne for employees of the company who will remain in the area.

"Even though Northrop Grumman’s operation here is relatively small, these jobs and this talent are exactly the kind we want to retain in northeast Indiana," said Kathleen Randolph, president and chief executive officer of the Northeast Indiana Regional Workforce Investment Board, in a prepared statement.

"WorkOne, through the Northeast Indiana Regional Workforce Investment Board, has been meeting with Northrop Grumman employees to offer employment and training services that are customized to meet the needs of each person," she said.

"We’ve also been contacting other employers in the region that have open positions to let them know that this highly skilled talent is available for hire."

Northrop Grumman has seen some fluctuation in the size of its local work force during the 13 years it has had operations in Fort Wayne, Maddox said. Its local employment reached a peak of about 35 during 2007 and 2008.

“It’s cyclical,” he said. “I’ve been in the industry quite a while and have seen buildups and draw-downs, so it’s kind of the ebb-and-flow nature of the business.”

Northrop Grumman opened the Fort Wayne office with five employees in 2000 after learning some of the engineers it was trying to recruit from the local defense electronics talent pool did not want to leave the area.

With expertise in communications, computers, intelligence, reconnaissance, surveillance, command-and-control software, software engineering, systems engineering, and threat and operational analysis, the local operations have done a lot of work with military communications, information and sensor systems.

Much of that work has related to communications systems support — such as the installation of two to a dozen or more military radios in a co-location environment — and to the development of algorithms capable of getting coherent information from disparate information sources, including a variety of military sensors.

At one point, the office was involved in the installation of communications equipment on unmanned aerial vehicles.

Northrop Grumman’s corporate citizenship in the area has included the sponsorship of at least a dozen full-tuition scholarships at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne.

“We hired several people here locally from that, and in two cases, people were hired at other (Northrop Grumman) sites from those scholarships,” Maddox said.

“It helped them focus exclusively on their studies versus having to have a job or second source of income to support themselves,” he said. “All the feedback I’ve received has been extremely positive from that program.”

Maddox said Fort Wayne is a good environment for the kind of work Northrop Grumman does and it could return to the area when the nation sees another defense-industry buildup.

"There's always a chance our sector or another sector of Northrop Grumman could set up an office," he said. "We're in the ES (Electronic Systems) sector, and there are three other sectors that are equally as likely to recognize the talent here and establish an office.

"There are seasoned veterans we can find, and with the quality of the universities in the area, it's not hard to find good quality talent for entry-level positions."

Categories LayoffsClosures