By Marjorie Censer
Monday, December 20, 2010; 11
Major defense contractor Raytheon is moving the last of its employees out of its Falls Church office by the end of this month and readying to formally open a Northern Virginia campus at AOL's corporate park in Dulles.
The move consolidates four area Raytheon sites and reflects a drive for efficiency that company officials said aligns with the Pentagon's call for contractors to be leaner and more cost-conscious.
When the move is complete, about 1,400 Raytheon employees will be housed in a four-building campus comprising 660,000 square feet, according to Frank Werman, the site executive. As a result, the company is vacating two offices in Reston, a site in Herndon and a very visible Falls Church site in Fairview Park, near contractors General Dynamics and CSC.
Raytheon began moving employees to the new campus in April, and in October started moving the largest chunk -- the roughly 1,200 employees at the Falls Church location. By Dec. 31, the company is required to fully vacate that building.
Werman said the campus approach will result in cost savings as well as increased collaboration. At the new campus, the company's divisions are sharing conference rooms, food service and even a fitness area that he said is the company's largest.
Additionally, the buildings -- under a 10-year lease with five five-year options -- reflect a significant upgrade from the Falls Church facility, originally built in 1950. Werman said that site's outdated look -- including salmon-colored tiles lining the halls -- didn't match the company's high-tech reputation.
But taking over AOL's former facilities, which came with their furniture, required some changes. Raytheon painted over the bright colors on office walls and replaced the carpet. The company also had to adapt the building to meet various government requirements, including setting up secure, compartmented spaces in some instances. Werman said there's work still to be done, such as adding Raytheon signs outside the buildings and in the lobbies.
The consolidation comes as many defense contractors are taking a closer look at their organizational structures and locations. Pentagon officials have said contractors need to adjust to doing more without more -- pushing companies to seek savings wherever they can.
Bethesda-based Lockheed Martin announced in November it would close an Eagan, Minn., facility and relocate work now done at a Middle River, Md., site, affecting about 1,000 jobs in Minnesota and 60 in Maryland. About 650 jobs are to be transferred from Eagan to three sites -- Manassas, San Diego and Owego, N.Y.
In a statement, Lockheed said the move would help the company "drive down costs and optimize capacity" at its facilities. Lockheed estimated it would save about $150 million over the next 10 years.
"It looks like some of the larger defense contractors are trying to get ahead of the curve and institute some internal efficiencies to better prepare themselves," said Todd Harrison, a defense analyst with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. "I would expect that we'd continue to see more efforts like that."