Business

'Defining the future' for Collins Aerospace, a talk with two executives overseeing parts of a major change

Two executives with Iowa roots oversee business units as parent mergers with Raytheon

Felix Turcios, staff engineer in the advanced concepts group, gives a demonstration in the concept flight deck at Collins Aerospace in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday, June 5, 2019. The large screen is a representation of a low-visibility flight, aided by three-dimensional topography and enhanced vision. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
Felix Turcios, staff engineer in the advanced concepts group, gives a demonstration in the concept flight deck at Collins Aerospace in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday, June 5, 2019. The large screen is a representation of a low-visibility flight, aided by three-dimensional topography and enhanced vision. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
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CEDAR RAPIDS — United Technologies Corp.’s $30 billion acquisition of Rockwell Collins barely had receded into the rearview mirror — at least, in local memory — when a newer, bigger deal emerged over the horizon.

Now the parent company of Collins Aerospace has agreed to merge with U.S. defense contractor Raytheon, with an expected closing date around mid-2020.

The two companies have said the newly formed Raytheon Technologies Corp. will become a “premier systems provider with advanced technologies” they say will “define the future” of aerospace and defense. It will have an anticipated market value of around $100 billion.

For Steve Timm, becoming the leader of avionics under Collins Aerospace was a testament to what he said was the absence of a "mold" in the evolving modern aerospace business.

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The current president of Collins Aerospace's mission systems business unit still can remember his captivation with the U.S. space program growing up in Lamont.

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Though numerous questions remain as to the specifics of the deal, Collins Aerospace representatives said Thursday that “business as usual” will continue for the company’s Cedar Rapids operations, encompassing two of its six business units formed through last year’s UTC acquisition, until it and Raytheon Co. close on a final deal.

The Gazette conducted interviews with the heads of those two units — Phil Jasper, president of mission systems, and Steve Timm, president of avionics — days before the announcement of the proposed merger, on Sunday, June 9.

Both men come from Iowa backgrounds, landed their latest positions after decades of career work with Rockwell Collins and now aim to continue in the key roles as Collins Aerospace’s newest transition gets underway.

Collins Aerospace employs approximately 9,350 employees in Cedar Rapids, Coralville, Decorah, Bellevue and Manchester, and contributed $6.5 billion to UTC’s $18.4 billion in first-quarter revenue this year, according to company filings.

• Comments: (319) 398-8366; thomas.friestad@thegazette.com

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