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After Merger Between The Two Companies Was Announced In February, Schumer Urged Harris-Exelis CEO Bill Brown In Personal Call To Grow Joint Workforce In Rochester – Now, New Company Will Create 100 New, Good-Paying Jobs In Rochester to Start, With Plans to Later Add 50 More; Also Will Make Rochester the HQ of One of Harris’ Four Divisions 

Schumer Also Played Integral Role In Brokering Meeting Between Harris-Exelis And NYS Economic Development Representatives To Make The 150 New Jobs Plan a Reality and Successfully Compete to Bring This Out-of-State Work to Rochester  

Schumer: Rochester & Harris-Exelis A Perfect Match That Will Bring Even More Good-Paying Jobs To Rochester 


Today, U.S. Charles E. Schumer announced that, following the new merger of Harris-Exelis Corporation, the company has agreed to bring 100 new, good-paying jobs to Rochester over the next twelve months with the potential to later add an additional 50 jobs, for a total of up to 150 new jobs. The announcement comes after Schumer urged CEO Bill Brown to grow and expand the company’s operations in Rochester after Harris Corporation announced its planned purchase of Exelis in February of this year.  The 150 new jobs will support the production of a new Single Channel Ground-to-Air (SINGAR) military radio production line that Harris will consolidate from out-of-state to Rochester. Additionally, Harris is designating Rochester as the headquarters of one of the new company’s four business segments; Schumer, in a call, had earlier urged of Harris’s CEO to make Rochester a hub for the new combined company’s future growth.  Specifically Rochester will be the headquarters of Harris’s Communications Systems segment that will oversee all of Harris’s work on tactical and airborne radios, night vision technology, and defense and public safety networks.

“This is a win-win for Harris-Exelis and Rochester. With 150 new jobs coming to Rochester over the next year the newly merged Harris-Exelis radio company is broadcasting loud and clear that Rochester is open for business. We have fought long and hard to ensure this company would be able to grow and expand in Rochester – and today its top-notch workforce, with more than 3,600 employees, will be able to do just that,” said Schumer. “Harris has had great success in Rochester producing life-saving radio units for our troops and this merger will ensure the joint company will continue that success with even more resources to stay on the cutting-edge of technology. What’s more, the combined R&D and production resources of the new company will be a huge boon to the Rochester manufacturing industry and regional economy.”

Prior to their merger, Harris employed 2,060 workers in Rochester and Exelis employed 1,438 employees in their Geospatial System division in Rochester. With the additional 150 jobs, the new combined Harris-Exelis will employ up to 3,648 total workers in Rochester, making it one of Rochester’s largest employers. Schumer said the combined research and development and manufacturing capabilities will ensure the new combined Harris remains a leader in their industry while providing good-paying jobs to Rochester residents. Schumer pushed for the company to keep these good-paying jobs in Rochester post-merger, and look to Rochester as a place where the company can grow and expand following its merger.

Schumer explained for the past 55 years Rochester has served as the home of Harris RF Communications, and now by adding the additional military tactical radio production that was being done at an Exelis facility out of state, Harris has created a fully integrated division specializing in tactical and airborne radios and defense and public safety networks in Rochester. Schumer said this news is a win for the company and the top-notch Rochester workforce. Following Harris Corporation’s announcement in February 2015 that it would be acquiring Exelis, Schumer wrote and called CEO Bill Brown to urge him not move any work out of Rochester and instead challenged him to continue his company’s investment in Rochester by adding jobs and making Rochester a hub where the new combined company could add new work.  At the time, Schumer said Brown did not anticipate any workforce reductions and would consider Schumer’s challenge to invest in Rochester.  Therefore in May Schumer organized a meeting in his Rochester Senate office to bring Harris officials together with the New York State’s economic development agency for the first time in order for New York to compete against other states and regions to win this new production line and the new 150 jobs. 

As a result of these efforts, Harris will be investing approximately $1.5 million in new equipment and $500,000 in renovations to their Jefferson Road operations center in the Town of Henrietta, where these new 100-150 jobs will be based.  A New York State ESD incentive agreement to support this expansion has been offered to Harris and can now be finalized and executed.  Schumer said the initial 100 jobs are expected to be added over the next 12 months. These jobs will include manufacturing, engineering, management and administrative support jobs. Schumer today lauded Harris CEO Bill Brown for meeting the challenge to make Rochester a source of new growth for the company by adding these new jobs to the company’s workforce in Rochester.  Schumer said this announcement was welcome news and would further ensure Harris is a global leader in military telecommunications and a jobs-leader in the Rochester-Finger Lakes area.

Schumer has long fought to keep Harris Corp. and its local subsidiary in Rochester by advocating for their programs during the Congressional appropriations process and working the Department of Defense to ensure their products were being utilized by the military. In 2013, following Schumer’s personal call and letter to then-Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, the Pentagon reversed course and agreed to pursue an open and competitive acquisition process to determine which company would develop the new Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) “manpack” and “rifleman” radios. In April of this year Schumer urged federal appropriators to provide full funding for the U.S. Army’s tactical radio modernization programs in Fiscal Year 2016. Schumer said this program is aimed at producing and modernizing tactical radio units for the U.S. military. Schumer said Harris Radio in Rochester was recently awarded a developmental one-year test contract for its handheld radio system, and this funding would allow it to continue that contract if it were selected following the test period. Now that Harris has acquired Exelis, the company will have access to an increased workforce and research capabilities that will benefit the Army.

In May of this year Harris Corp officially announced that it had acquired Exelis Inc. The new company will have a combined worldwide workforce of 23,000 employees.

A copy of Senator Schumer’s original letter to Harris Corporation CEO Bill Brown appears below:

Dear Harris Corporation President and CEO Bill Brown,

As you approach the anticipated closing date to merge Exelis with Harris Corporation, I write to reiterate my request that you look to Rochester, New York as a place where the new combined company can leverage and expand your workforce to grow your new business.  

As you are well aware, Harris’s 2,200 employee RF division is top notch, and as one of Harris’s largest business units, has delivered exceptional value to the firm’s bottom line.  Similarly, Exelis’s 1,300 employee Geospatial System division, headquartered in Rochester, has pioneered innovative products and solutions to fuel its company’s growth, in technologies from remote sensing to communications and imaging satellites. 

Rochester’s highly-skilled and innovative workforce is a competitive asset and part-and -parcel of the success achieved by both Harris and Exelis.  This labor force, together with the significant investments made by both companies to locate cutting-edge equipment and state-of-the-art manufacturing and R&D capabilities in Rochester, creates a fertile environment for the “new” Harris’s future growth and expansion.

I appreciate your view that the two companies complement and enhance each other’s ability to compete for new work and new markets and your desire to create a stronger company with greater scale and positive impact than either company could achieve on their own. 

Simply put, as you formulate and implement your integration strategy over the next 12-18 months – and assess where it may make sense to consolidate operations among the companies’ various worldwide locations – I strongly urge that you make Rochester a hub for new jobs, investment and future growth.  I stand ready to assist you in this pursuit and thank you in advance for your consideration of my request. 


Charles E. Schumer

United States Senator