Business

Top stories of the 2010s: United Technologies buys Rockwell Collins

About 10,000 jobs remain in Iowa, at least for now

A sign identified Rockwell Collins by its new name - Collins Aerospace, a unit of United Technologies Corp. UTC bought R
A sign identified Rockwell Collins by its new name — Collins Aerospace, a unit of United Technologies Corp. UTC bought Rockwell, the largest employer in Cedar Rapids, for $30 billion. (The Gazette)
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The eve of a new decade presents a perfect time to reflect on the past 10 years, to look at the changes in our lives and in our state and nation. For Iowa, The Gazette chose 10 storylines of the decade that have changed or will change the state’s trajectory. This is one of those stories. See the full list and read them here.

In what was the largest deal ever in the aerospace industry, United Technologies Corp. in 2018 completed its $30 billion purchase of Rockwell Collins, the largest employer in Cedar Rapids.

UTC, based in Farmington, Conn., combined Rockwell with UTC’s Aerospace Systems in Charlotte, N.C., to form Collins Aerospace Systems, based in Cedar Rapids.

The new UTC unit — encompassing avionics and mission system — develops and produces equipment for communications, landing gears, plane temperature controls, interiors, engines and engine casings, various sensors and flight control devices.

Collins Aerospace employs about 8,000 people in Cedar Rapids and 1,350 in its plants in Bellevue, Coralville, Decorah and Manchester. The company’s influence in Cedar Rapids is enormous in terms of economic impact and community leadership.

After the purchase, UTC promoted Kelly Ortberg, Rockwell Collins chief executive officer and president, to CEO of Collins Aerospace, and UTC Aerospace President Dave Gitlin to president of the new company, which has 70,000 employees.

It also moved Ortberg and other Collins Aerospace leaders to Palm Beach County, Fla.

Steve Timm and Phil Jasper now lead the avionics and mission systems, respectively, in Cedar Rapids.

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In 2019, UTC announced a merger with Raytheon Co. — a $135 billion deal. Raytheon has its own GPS division, which prompted federal antitrust regulators to request Collins Aerospace sell its military GPS business, which employs hundreds in Cedar Rapids and Coralville.

A number of defense contractors potentially could bid on the Collins Aerospace’ military GPS business, analysts told The Gazette this month. If that happens, it’s possible the division would be moved out of Cedar Rapids, but it’s also possible it could stay — just likely not on the Collins Aerospace campus in northeast Cedar Rapids.

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