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Opening of manufacturing facility signals ‘continued growth’ for Huntsville’s Dynetics

HUNTSVILLE — The excitement over the opening of a new facility at Dynetics — and what it means for the company — was evident to visitors who received a sneak peek of the building on the company’s Huntsville campus this past week.

The new Dr. Stephen M. Gilbert Advanced Manufacturing Facility is the sixth building on the Dynetics property and adds 78,000 square feet while employing more than 200 engineers, technicians and machinists. The building is named for Dr. Stephen Gilbert, one of the company’s founders, who passed away in 2017.

Headquartered in Huntsville’s Cummings Research Park, Dynetics provides engineering, scientific and IT solutions to a wide-range of sectors including national security, space, cybersecurity, automotive and critical infrastructure security.

Matt Bender, Product Development and Manufacturing Division manager for Dynetics, provided some insight into why there was so much enthusiasm surrounding the opening of the new facility.

Prompted to explain what the Gilbert  building meant for the company and what was next for Dynetics, Bender responded with optimism.

“Continued growth,” he said. “We’re hiring a lot of people. We are continuing to grow into space markets, continuing to grow into defense markets and commercial markets. The piece we have only begun to scratch the surface on is the commercial products market.”

One of the commercial product lines Dynetics hopes to expand with the opening of the Gilbert building is GroundAware. GroundAware is something akin to ground radar, which the company describes as “a family of reconfigurable, short and long-range surveillance sensors for real-time situational awareness of critical infrastructure.”

“The GroundAware product is going to be an area we are going to advance a lot more in and have more and more products like that we are going to sell,” noted Bender.

In addition to GroundAware, the four other major areas of production under the roof of the new facility will be automotive configuration and test equipment, electronics manufacturing for avionics, cable harness solutions for the aerospace and defense industries and final product assembly of large and small systems.

“We are a very broad company,” Bender explained. “Really ten years ago we were pretty much defense and commercial. The space aspect of that has really changed the last two years. It’s been very exciting. That’s what has been added in and is a major piece of our company’s business now.”

By providing control over its own schedules and mistake-proofing built in with the investments the company has made, it believes it will have even more flexibility to respond to its customers’ needs.

That’s something the company prioritizes with products that end up all over the world.

“This allows us to continue to develop things that support our partners and our customers,” said executive vice president Steve Cook. “Whether they be astronauts or war fighters in the field, this is what Dynetics is all about. How do we help expand our scientific frontiers while we make sure to protect the homeland and protect our troops and give them the best technologies in the fastest, most agile way possible.”

Bender reinforced the notion that the this new effort is a way of taking care of its customers.

“The reason this facility exists is that we are trying to be responsive to our customers’ needs,” he said. “We have invested our resources to create something that hasn’t existed before. Particularly something local here where a lot of our customers are.”

Even with all the state-of-the-art equipment housed in the Gilbert facility, Bender said Dynetics relies most heavily on the expertise of its people.

“Really it comes back to our people,” he concluded. “We’ve got people that support all those different areas. Whether they work on a space problem or a defense problem. We’ve got people that were working in the automotive industry that transitioned to work in the space industry and we’ve done that very successfully.”

The company has planned a grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony for May 30.

Tim Howe is an owner and editor of Yellowhammer News