Military contractor expands radio operations
Suniti Nayar rose to become Harris’ director of engineering and has helped grow the operation to 90 employees in response to increasing demand for tactical radios.
A group of dislocated engineers found new employment at Harris Corp. in Sunrise four years ago. Now one of them is leading and expanding the company’s operations at the site.
In 2014, about 30 General Dynamics C4 Systems workers in Sunrise were hired by Harris Corp., which decided to open operations in the region. General Dynamics was getting ready to shutter its Sunrise location, as part of a consolidation move at the time.
One of those engineers, Suniti Nayar, rose to become Harris’ director of engineering and has helped grow the operation to 90 employees in response to increasing demand for tactical radios.
Melbourne-based Harris is a provider of communications, electronic systems and space and intelligence systems that had $6.2 billion in fiscal 2018 sales. It is poised to become even larger through a merger with New Yorkbased L3 Technologies, which provides communications equipment for the military.
Nayar said Harris plans to hire more than 20 employees, both college graduates and experienced professionals, as software engineers, test engineers and software developers.
Harris’ growth “is a great testament to the talent that’s been here through the years,” said David Coddington, vice president of business development for the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance.
Harris has expanded its operation at 1000 Sawgrass Corporate Parkway, where it now leases 25,000 square feet of space, up from 16,000 square feet.
The Sunrise location also supports public safety communications in Coral Gables, West Palm Beach, Homestead and Aventura. The emergency alert systems are used to warn about incoming storms and other critical communications.
Harris has 7,000 employees in Florida and a total of 17,500 company-wide, including 7,900 engineers.
Nayar said she doesn’t expect the Sunrise site to be affected by the mid-October agreement to merge with L3 Technologies, creating a $33.5 billion military technology giant.
“We don’t see any negative im-
pact,” Nayar said. “We are going to be pursuing bigger contracts — that’s the reason we are hiring.”
The Sunrise operation’s focus is programming for the Falcon III tactical radio, which provides
secure voice, data and video without need of a cell tower and is used by all branches of the U.S. military. The Falcon III is a lightweight, long-range radio that uses a single battery.
Harris has delivered 1 million models, which are manufactured in Rochester, N.Y. Recent contracts include 1,540 twochannel handheld radios for the
U.S. Army in September.
Harris also was selected by Australia for modernization of its Army’s communications network, a project that the Sunrise site also is working on, Nayar said.
The expansion “is really good news on the heels of Amazon HQ2. It’s another affirmation there is technology talent here,”
Coddington said. While South Florida was a finalist for Amazon’s second headquarters, the e-commerce giant on Nov. 14 announced its choices of the New York City area and Northern Virginia as split sites.