Blogs

Launching Into the 21st Century

Continuing our series of milestone projects from Austin's 100 years of serving the aviation, aerospace and defense industry ...

The end of the 20th century launched an amazing opportunity for The Austin Company – a chance to further its longtime partnership with Boeing by designing and building facilities needed for their new Delta IV family of rockets.

Early in 1998, Boeing awarded Austin a contract to design, engineer and construct a 2.5-million-square-feet facility that would be used to build the largest structural component of the Delta IV rocket series. The Delta IV is an expendable launch system in Boeing’s Delta series, and the rockets are used for commercial satellite and U.S. defensive purposes (U.S. Air Force Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV)). The new Delta IV would have the capability of carrying a much heavier payload – up to 28,000 pounds.

Boeing's Everett Expansion: Building 777's Heaven

Continuing our series of milestone projects from Austin's 100 years of serving the aviation, aerospace and defense industry ...

In the early 1990s, Boeing and The Austin Company set out to increase the size of the world’s largest industrial building. The facility wouldn’t be just a bit larger. This expansion of Boeing’s 747/767 Everett, Washington, facility would be jaw-dropping.

Aviation and Aerospace - The Second 50 Years

The Austin Company celebrates our centennial of serving the aviation and aerospace industry this year. This centennial is marked by many significant milestone projects, beginning in 1916 with the creation of a facility in Buffalo, NY, to manufacture training aircraft for the U.S. War Department as it prepared for the important role aviation would play in military, and later, civilian roles. A mere twelve years after Kitty Hawk, the industry was committed to producing nearly 7,000 JN-4 “Jenny’s” to train pilots. After the war was over, these planes sold for $200.

No Room for Complacency: Building Quality Culture

Quality, like safety, is a constant journey of fighting complacency, human nature, and in some ways, the basic laws of physics. 

The second law of thermodynamics states that all things tend to chaos unless acted upon by an outside force. I have written on this before and it bears repeating, as it relates to quality and safety. The essence of Newton’s law as it relates to quality and safety is that it takes effort to be safe and to apply quality practices. It takes extra effort to check your PPE, to remove a tripping hazard, to make sure barricades are properly anchored.

State-of-the-Art-Solutions in Long Beach

Continuing our series of milestone projects from Austin's 100 years of serving the aviation, aerospace and defense industry ...

The considerable C-17 Globemaster III cargo plane required an equally significant manufacturing facility, and again, The Austin Company delivered.

That was the situation McDonnell Douglas found itself in during the mid-1980s when it was awarded the contract from the U.S. Air Force to begin building the C-17 Globemaster III cargo plane at its aircraft manufacturing complex in Long Beach, California.

Classic Austin Approach to Designing and Constructing Classified Lockheed Martin Facilities

Continuing our series of milestone projects from Austin's 100 years of serving the aviation, aerospace and defense industry ...

By the latter part of the 1900s, both Lockheed Martin and The Austin Company had established operations in Southern California. Lockheed’s Advanced Development Company (LADC) had been based in Burbank for 50 years (Lockheed would merge with Martin Marietta in 1995 to become Lockheed Martin); and The Austin Company was serving the Western U.S. out of Irvine.

In the early 1990s, Lockheed Martin made the decision to move its research and development arm, known as “Skunk Works” from the Burbank facility to the company’s Palmdale campus, in the Antelope Valley north of Los Angeles. Sherm Mullin, then-president of Lockheed Advanced Development Company (LADC), committed to getting the design and construction finished in just three-and-a-half months.

Aviation and Aerospace - The First 50 Years

As The Austin Company, Boeing, Aviation Week and others celebrate their centennial of Aviation in 2016, it is also, ironically the 50th anniversary of the start of Boeing’s Plant in Everett, Washington. In 1966, Boeing contracted with Austin to Design and Build the giant Everett Plant; and it had been fifty years since Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company made the same decision in Buffalo, New York.

For Austin, these are the bookends of the first fifty years in designing and constructing aviation facilities. There are striking similarities between the projects, while the proportions of the facilities are representatives of the magnitude of advancements in the industry. 

Expanding into a New Generation of Jumbo Jets

Continuing our series of milestone projects from Austin's 100 years of serving the aviation, aerospace and defense industry ...

With double-digit inflation, high unemployment, an oil embargo and energy crisis, the early years of the 1970s dealt a wicked blow to Boeing and the aerospace industry. Orders for jumbo jets dwindled and Boeing witnessed its workforce plummet from 100,800 employees in 1967 to nearly 38,700 in 1971.

It was perseverance and ingenuity through those turbulent economic times, however, that enabled Boeing to soar into the 1980s. As airlines looked for more fuel efficient jets, Boeing responded in the mid-1970s by designing two new jets, the 757 and twin-aisle 767.

Doing the Right Thing: Corporate Social Responsibility

I have always kept a motto that if you do the right things, the right things will happen for you. This philosophy lends itself well to Company cultures and the environment we all work in. Our parent company, Kajima Corporation, has a significant portion of their website and annual report dedicated to CSR, or Corporate Social Responsibility. A closer look at the website shows that Kajima’s CSR has several component strategies, including Compliance, Ethics, the Environment, Safety, the Community, and being a company that people are proud to work for.

A true benefit – a blessing even – that I get in my position is a front row seat to seeing how this dedication to Corporate Social responsibility works.

Boeing’s Everett Plant – Home of the 747 and a New Era of Air Travel

Continuing our series of milestone projects from Austin's 100 years of serving the aviation, aerospace and defense industry ...

In 1968, the door to global air travel was flung wide open by The Boeing Company.

And that door — which happened to be close to the size of an NFL football field — was just one incredible feature of the 1.9-million square foot Boeing 747 assembly plant that The Austin Company designed and built in Everett, Washington.

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