The Corridor’s largest employer expects the federal budget sequestration process and related across-the-board spending cuts to continue for the foreseeable future.
“When we issued guidance for FY13 we estimated the impact could be $120 million,” Phil Jasper, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Rockwell Collins Government Systems, told those attending the Marion Chamber of Commerce annual meeting on Wednesday.
“We’re planning for a $200 million impact for fiscal year 2014 that’s baked into our plans,” Jasper said. “Obviously, we don’t want it to get any worse than that because that could have an effect on our workforce and the momentum we have in our business.”
“We think we have the company sized about right, and we will continue to plan for sequestration for the foreseeable future.”
Jasper said the Cedar Rapids-based avionics and communications developer and provider has taken steps to use the same manufacturing processes and many of the same products across its commercial and government systems divisions.
That has allowed Rockwell Collins to shift employees between the business segments to minimize potential layoffs. The company employs 8,000 in the Corridor, 10,000 in Iowa and 20,000 worldwide.
Jasper noted that Rockwell Collins employs 1,800 Marion residents, with one in every six homes in the community housing an employee.
“We support the STEM activities — science, technology, engineering and math — in the Marion and Linn Mar school districts,” he said. “It’s very important for us to get our children and future generations interested in math, science and engineering.”
Jasper said Rockwell Collins is engaged in a “war” for engineering talent, adding that Iowa State University’s software engineering programs have 18 to 20 job openings beckoning every graduate.
“We get a lot of students who come into Rockwell Collins as co-ops,” Jasper said. “Before they leave for their senior year, they’re walking out with a job offer in their hand before they graduate.”
Rockwell Collins will release its fourth-quarter and annual financial results on Friday.