Lockheed Martin has found success in Orlando for decades. The region’s steady pipeline of aerospace engineers and technicians combined with Florida’s friendly and collaborative business climate allows the company to keep growing in Orlando.
- Lockheed Martin invested $50 million in a 255,000 square foot Research & Development II facility in Orlando.
- Lockheed Martin has created more than 1,000 jobs to support this facility and others, with hundreds more expected over the next three to five years.
- The company was able to construct the facility in under one year.
Like many of today’s fast-growing companies, Lockheed Martin’s biggest growth challenge is recruiting a large pool of qualified talent. So, when it came to the decision of where to locate the new R&D facility to support its Missiles and Fire Control (MFC) site, a robust talent pipeline and workforce in engineering, program management and business operations was critical to the company’s location decision.
Orlando’s robust pool of aircraft and aerospace engineers has allowed Lockheed Martin to take on major contracts for decades. The company employs more than 2,200 graduates from the University of Central Florida (UCF), and continues to collaborate with local universities UCF and Valencia College and invest in its future talent pipeline.
Orlando’s educational ecosystem has a long history of creating programs that provide qualified talent to local employers like Lockheed Martin; for example, UCF’s College of Optics & Photonics (CREOL) provides talent for the laser-guided missile operations in Orlando at Lockheed Martin and other companies like Northrup Grumman.
Lockheed Martin was able to quickly develop and construct in Orlando; from groundbreaking to ribbon cutting, the company completed its new facility in exactly a day less than one year, breaking ground on the six-story building on Feb. 14, 2018 and completing the building on Feb. 13, 2019.
“Lockheed Martin is further solidifying its already robust presence in Florida and supporting our business growth,” explains Frank St. John, Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control executive vice president. “We think Orlando is an ideal location to grow our footprint and employment base given the city’s diverse, strong talent pipeline, available and affordable land with room to grow, and low taxes.”
The company choose to invest $50 million into the 255,000 square-foot Research & Development II facility, which was completed in one year. Lockheed Martin has created more than 1,000 jobs in Orlando to support the new facility since 2017.
Long before Orlando became the theme park capital of the world, Lockheed Martin decided to open a complex in Orlando to support America’s space race. Its presence has grown ever since. With more than 8,000 employees located in Orlando, the company continues its commitment through partnerships with education, dedication to STEM programs for students at every level, and projects that expand its footprint in the region. Lockheed Martin is partnering with UCF and Valencia College to ensure the next generation of skilled engineers and STEM workforce. The company invested $300,000 in a second advanced manufacturing training program at Valencia College and $1.5 million for a new, state-of-the-art Cyber Innovation Lab at UCF. Lockheed Martin also announced 200 STEM scholarships of $10,000 per student for individuals from underrepresented or under-served communities. The program will grow to 1,000 students by 2023 and $10 million in scholarships annually.
Partnerships and Collaboration
The Orlando Economic Partnership worked with the state of Florida, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, Orange County Government, and the Orlando Utilities Commission on this project. All of these partners are crucial to supporting the relationship between Lockheed Martin and the Orlando community, which is over 60 years strong.
“We’ve had remarkable success with accessing employees here, as they’re attracted to the area and want to stay because of the moderate cost of living with no state or local income taxes; renowned, best-value educational institutions; lots of outdoor activities; and tourist destinations. The schools we recruit from in Florida have robust and diverse populations in majors that are of interest to Lockheed Martin. That, coupled with our relationships with more than 10 universities/colleges in Florida, have helped us recruit some of the best engineers in the world who contribute to the success of our company.”Frank St. John, Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control executive vice president