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Lockheed Martin has impact locally, globally

Stephen Ramsey, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin Systems Integration in Owego, discusses Lockheed’s business practices during the Harpur Forum breakfast May 18 at the Binghamton Club.

Lockheed Martin Systems Integration brings worldwide notice to Owego as it competes in the global marketplace, yet lends a helping hand to the Southern Tier as well, Stephen Ramsey, executive vice president of the firm, told members of the Harpur Forum last week.

Ramsey provided an overview of the Owego mainstay, noting that Lockheed Martin has hired 1,500 employees in the past two years and is on a path to hire 500 in 2007 — one-third of them from the local region, another third from colleges nationwide and the final third from industry across the country. “We have an annual payroll of $300 million,” he said, “and we work with over 400 vendors from Broome and Tioga counties.”

Ramsey spoke of Lockheed Martin’s unique customer base. “Our customers are unique from those in the commercial market because every dollar has to be appropriated,” he said. “We have to work with both Congress and the executive branch.”

Calling Lockheed Martin “the most diverse military establishment that exists in the United States,” Ramsey said the company’s work on the presidential helicopter is just one opportunity it has taken advantage of. “We look for customers with big problems and the money to push at solving them, then we bring in the high-technology skills to solve them,” he said.

About 75 percent of Lockheed Martin’s work is with the federal government, Ramsey said, but it’s not all for the military. “We diversified when the defense budget was cut and continue to be a leading electronics manufacturer for products across the board,” he said. “We have great technology and we continue to invest in it as a core part of our business.”

One aspect of that diverse business connects Lockheed Martin with every piece of mail sorted in the United States through its mail distribution systems, which are used by the U.S. Postal Service as well as Royal Mail in Great Britain and Swedish mail.

Future opportunities include bidding to design the electronics for the cockpit for A-10 planes to provide close-air support, revising a bid for work on a helicopter for the U.S. Air Force, competing for the next generation of tactical vehicles for the Army and Marine Corps, partnering with a small firm to provide unmanned military helicopters and contracting with the United Kingdom to take over its civil search-and-rescue services.

Locally, Lockheed Martin has established a scholarship fund to retain the brightest minds in the Southern Tier, and has hired 24 Binghamton University graduates from the Class of 2007. Additionally, “We continue to look to expand our local footprint and expect our business to grow,” Ramsey said. “We want to be good stewards for this community, and good partners.”

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Last Updated: 10/14/08