Harris Corp. announced its corporate headquarters will stay on Florida's Space Coast, calming worries the company would leave Brevard County and possibly relocate to Washington after buying defense contractor Exelis earlier this year.
The announcement Friday came after Harris decided to reorganize into four segments, keeping its headquarters in Melbourne, where Harris has been based since 1978.
Harris currently has about 6,000 employees based in Florida. With the Exelis deal, announced in February, Harris will become an $8 billion tech company with 23,000 employees worldwide, including 9,000 engineers and scientists.
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Below is the full news release from Harris Corp., issued Friday:
Harris Corporation announced that it will maintain corporate headquarters and base two of its newly formed segments in Florida. The announcement follows the company's acquisition of Exelis Inc. and its decision earlier this month to reorganize into four market-focused segments.
Harris will maintain corporate headquarters in Melbourne, Florida. Harris has been headquartered in Florida since 1978 and has had a significant presence in the state for more than 65 years. The company today has about 6,000 Florida employees, including 3,200 engineers and scientists, and is the only top 10 defense contractor headquartered in the state. Florida is the primary hub for the company's $1 billion research and development activity — principally located at its new Harris Technology Center in Palm Bay, Florida.
Harris is a major contributor to the local economy and community — annually conducting $250 million in business with 1,200 Florida suppliers and obtaining half of its new college graduate hires from state schools. In the past five years, the company and its employees have contributed $15 million and volunteered 300,000 hours in support of community charities.
"Florida's strong educational system, available pool of highly skilled talent and pro-business climate — led by Governor Rick Scott and other state and local officials — help attract and retain companies like Harris," said William M. Brown, chairman, president and chief executive officer. "We are pleased to reaffirm our commitment to the state where we have a shared vision to grow Florida's reputation as a center for technology innovation."
Additionally, the company will base the Electronic Systems as well as the Space and Intelligence Systems segments in Palm Bay, Florida. The businesses combine multiple operations from Harris and Exelis. Electronic Systems provides an extensive portfolio of solutions in electronic warfare, avionics, wireless technology, C4I, undersea systems and aerostructures. Space and Intelligence Systems provides complete earth observation, weather, geospatial, space protection, and intelligence solutions from advanced sensors and payloads, as well as ground processing and information analytics.
Harris also announced that its newly formed Communication Systems segment will be based in Rochester, New York. The organization combines the former Harris RF Communications and Exelis Night Vision and Communications Solutions businesses. It provides tactical and airborne radios, night vision technology, and defense and public safety networks. Harris has operated in Rochester for more than 55 years and has about 4,000 employees in New York.
The company's new Critical Networks segment will be based in Herndon, Virginia. It combines elements of Harris and Exelis businesses and provides managed services supporting air traffic management, energy and maritime communications, and ground network operation and sustainment, as well as high-value IT and engineering services. Harris has maintained a strong presence in Virginia for more than 40 years and has about 3,000 employees in the state.
"Harris is a technology company with a highly skilled workforce of engineers, scientists and business professionals," said Brown. "With the acquisition behind us and our organizational model aligned with the markets we serve, the Harris team is committed to continuing to bring the most innovative, mission-critical technologies to our customers."