Mil­i­tary con­trac­tor ex­pands ra­dio op­er­a­tions

South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday) - - Money - By Mar­cia Her­oux Pounds

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.

AMY BETH BEN­NETT/SUN SEN­TINEL

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