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SRCTec employees in its manufacturing facility in North Syracuse demonstrate the use of facemasks as well as social distancing due to the COVID-19 threat.

‘Riding Out the Storm’

SRC, Inc., a high-tech Syracuse-based nonprofit research and development corporation, continues essential mission in midst of COVID-19

By Lou Sorendo

src covidFor SRC, Inc., a nonprofit research and development corporation headquartered in North Syracuse, a successful response to COVID-19 is not only good for the economy, but it’s also critical for national security.

Its research and development in radars and electronic warfare systems — including developing state-of-the-art counter unmanned aerial systems program — help to defend the nation’s military and security.

SRC’s major customers include all four major branches of the U.S. military, as well as the intelligence community.

“We are fortunate that SRC is considered essential for our country’s security and we have been able to keep everyone employed,” said Kevin Hair, president and CEO of SRC.

In Onondaga County, SRC has more than 1,000 employees and more than 1,600 nationally.

The business, which produces high-level technological solutions to solve challenging threats to the nation’s defense and intelligence communities, was able to have more than 70% of staff work from home and kept its facilities open in order to provide vital products and services to its customers.

Hair noted the company invited back its first wave of employees that had been working from home on May 18, in conjunction with phase one of the New York state business re-entry plan.

“We are requiring that all employees must fill out health screening forms, wear face masks and follow CDC-recommended precautions when in SRC facilities,” Hair said. “Based on local directives and our employee opinions related to returning to work, we will assess the next steps for safely reintegrating additional employees.”

About 80% of manufacturers expect that the pandemic will have a financial impact on their business, according to a recent survey of the National Association of Manufacturers.

Hair said that SRC is a nonprofit company and that the bottom line is not its primary concern.

“Providing the highest-quality products and services to help keep America and our allies safe and strong is our driver,” he said. “We have been able to continue delivering our systems so far and as a result, our projected revenue is on track, barring any changes in our supply chain.”

The majority of those in the manufacturing sector — 53% — expect COVID-19 to impact their operations, the NAM survey also reported.

Adhering to protocol

Hair said SRC employees have been working over staggered shifts, adhering to social distancing guidelines and wearing personal protection equipment due to challenges posed by COVID-19.

“The team has been working diligently to mitigate material challenges due to temporary facility COVID-related shut downs in our supply chain,” he said.

“Even with all these challenges, we have been able to get our life-saving products to our customers,” he said. “We have been creative, partnering with government agencies to conduct acceptance tests and product inspections via videoconferencing rather than in-person to keep operations moving forward.”

Hair noted among all the concerns that COVID-19 raises on a business level, SRC’s priority is providing a safe work environment for its employees and delivering upon promises to customers.

“We have been able to invest in our employees and the infrastructure to do this,” he said. “We continue to focus on the importance of practicing proper precautions and staying in communication with our employees, suppliers and customers.”

Hair touched on SRC’s business continuity plans and what the business’ priorities are in the first phases of recovery.

“Our crisis management team was created years ago and practices for various scenarios, including business continuity during a crisis and how to best recover afterwards,” he said. “While no one could have predicted that the current situation would impact so much for so long, we believe our previous work in business continuity planning will help us be effective in the ‘new normal.’”

He noted SRC continues to follow CDC and local authority guidance as it brings back more employees to work in the facilities and also allows extended working from home.

“We will also continue to make it a priority to have ongoing communication with employees, customers and suppliers,” he said.

Hair became CEO and president of SRC, Inc. on Feb. 1, succeeding retiring Paul Tremont.

In January, the U.S. Army awarded SRC a $22 million contract for technology that counters small, low-flying drones on the battlefield. The contract extends a previous Army agreement with SRC for this technology worth $108 million.

SRC’s mobile systems use radar, cameras, jamming technology and other sensors to help the Army detect, track, identify and defeat hostile drones.

SRC recently completed a 61,000-square-foot addition to its SRCTec Cicero location.