4 months ago

Raytheon announces $500M corporate responsibility initiative — ‘We’re improving the communities where we live and work, especially in Huntsville’

Raytheon Technologies on Wednesday announced Connect Up, a 10-year, $500 million corporate responsibility initiative intended to drive generational positive impact related to critical societal challenges.

A release from the company advised that this focused philanthropy expands upon and elevates Raytheon’s legacy of community investment through lifelong learning, veteran and military family support, and localized community engagement.

Raytheon, one of America’s top defense contractors, has a large presence in Huntsville, including the company’s highly automated Missile Integration Facility on Redstone Arsenal. Raytheon and Northrop Grumman have also based their joint Next Generation Interceptor (NGI) program headquarters in the Rocket City.

“The measure of business success must include community growth,” stated Greg Hayes, CEO of Raytheon Technologies.

“The Connect Up program leverages our global reach, the expertise and passion of more than 180,000 employees, a heritage of era-defining engineering and technology ingenuity, with a track record of solving some of society’s biggest challenges,” he continued. “Through focused investments, volunteer commitment and strategic partnerships, we will create lasting, multi-generational impact in education opportunity, armed services support and local community relief.”

Connect Up reportedly combines philanthropic capital, public/private partnership and employee volunteerism to support underserved communities by:

  • Advancing lifelong learning, with a focus on providing access to STEM education to underrepresented communities — particularly communities of color — by partnering with groups like National Academy Foundation, SMASH and Girls Who Code.
  • Honoring public service by helping military personnel and their families advance education goals and supporting post-service transition to the civilian workforce with key partners including Student Veterans of America, American Corporate Partners and The Mission Continues.
  • Driving local community impact with organizations such as Feeding America and Boys & Girls Clubs of America that address social welfare to create a more equitable future.

In addition to philanthropy, employee volunteerism is central to the mission of Connect Up, and Raytheon this week launched an enterprise-wide employee volunteer initiative to provide opportunities for employees to connect with and give back to their communities. The company will challenge its employees to unlock the power of connections through 1 million acts of service in 2021, starting with the launch of its first-ever Global Month of Service in April.

Raytheon head of global corporate social responsibility Randy Bumps said in a statement to Yellowhammer News, “Through strategic investments in organizations serving military families, educational attainment and an array of social welfare needs, we’re improving the communities where we live and work, especially in Huntsville. And, through skills-based volunteerism, our employees are making a lasting impact on the lives of our neighbors everywhere we do business.”

RELATED: Raytheon engineers in Huntsville are tackling some of the world’s toughest problems while keeping Americans safe, free

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

2 hours ago

Boeing’s Starliner capsule cleared for launch on ULA’s Atlas V — ‘We are ready to fly’

Teams from NASA and Boeing completed the flight readiness review on Thursday for the Starliner space capsule’s upcoming trip to the International Space Station (ISS).

The unmanned Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) is set to launch from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

Giving Starliner a lift will be United Launch Alliance’s (ULA) Atlas V rocket. The Atlas V was built at the company’s 1.6 million square foot manufacturing facility in Decatur. Boeing’s design center in Huntsville has provided all of the structural design for the Starliner, while its Phantom Works division, which has an operation in Huntsville, has provided the power systems for the capsule.

Kathy Lueders, NASA associate administrator, announced completion of the review at a press conference with Boeing officials.

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“These are very important reviews where the station and commercial crew and Boeing teams really stop and scrutinize the work that they have done to get ready for this flight,” Lueders outlined. “After reviewing the team’s data and the readiness of all the parties, everyone said ‘go’ for launch, today, and moving on for the mission. It was an incredibly detailed review and the team really showed all the work that they have done to get us here.”

OFT-2 is the final test before Starliner carries crew into space.

Establishing Starliner as a qualified spacecraft to carry astronauts to the ISS is essential to the program, according to Steve Stich, manager of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

“It is very important for the commercial crew program to have two space transportation systems,” he said. “This will be the second of those.”

SpaceX’s Dragon is already qualified for the program and has flown with crew. It returned to Earth from its most recent mission to the ISS on July 9.

In an effort to maximize the testing opportunities of this flight, ULA’s Atlas V rocket has been configured exactly the same as it will be for crewed flights.

Stich noted that numerous systems will be tested as part of OFT-2, including the rendezvous and docking systems.

“Boeing and NASA teams have worked side-by-side to resolve numerous issues to go through and close our requirements,” he said. “We’re ready to go flying now. It’s an exciting time. This mission is key to the crewed flight.”

A thorough review of the Starliner’s software and hardware has been an ongoing process for Boeing.

“This is not the first day we have been working on readiness,” stated John Vollmer, vice president and program manager for Boeing’s Commercial Crew Program. “We have literally been working on this for months and months. And so this is really the culmination of a lot of hard work by all the teams.”

“We are ready to fly,” he concluded.

A successful OFT-2 will allow NASA and Boeing to move forward with the Starliner’s first crewed mission later this year. NASA astronauts Barry “Butch” Wilmore, Nicole Mann and Mike Fincke have already been selected for the flight to the ISS, a mission which will extend more than two decades of human presence on the orbiting research facility.

In anticipation of their flight, the astronauts have been actively engaged in the readiness process.

Norm Knight, director of NASA’s Flight Operations Directorate, provided his perspective on what OFT-2 will mean for the upcoming crewed flight.

“Spaceflight is hard,” he explained. “It’s definitely not easy. I will just tell you that the crew greatly appreciates the effort by NASA, Boeing and the ULA partnership for safe space flight for our astronauts.”

OFT-2 is scheduled to launch on July 30 and dock at the ISS 24 hours later. It will stay at the ISS until August 5 and return to Earth on the same day with a landing in the New Mexico desert.

It will carry cargo on both legs of its trip.

RELATED: ‘From Alabama to the Moon’ — Richard Shelby is the driving force making America’s space dreams a reality

Tim Howe is an owner of Yellowhammer Multimedia

2 hours ago

Tuberville delivers for Alabama’s defense priorities as NDAA passes committee

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2022 reported out of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) Wednesday night with U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) securing amendments during the markup process which will play a crucial role in benefiting Alabama’s defense installations and strengthening United States military readiness.

Since assuming office earlier this year, Alabama’s junior senator has made it a top priority to advocate for the position Alabama holds in supporting initiatives that are vital in protecting U.S. national security. Tuberville says he believes it is critical that the state of Alabama holds a seat at the table in defense appropriations discussions.

“I’ve made it my mission to visit our commanders in the field and Alabama’s military communities to hear from our service men and women directly so I can be their voice on the Senate Armed Services Committee,” said Tuberville. “This year, in every vote I cast during the National Defense Authorization Act, I asked if it would be in the best interest of our country and responsible to the taxpayer. I’m proud of how Alabama supports our military and I’ve encouraged my colleagues in the Senate to rise to meet the grave threats facing our nation.”

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Jim Inhofe (R-OK), the top Republican on the Committee and SASC ranking member, praised Tuberville for his focus on supporting national defense objectives.

“Senator Tuberville has made important contributions to this year’s National Defense Authorization Act as a first-year member of the Senate Armed Services Committee,” said Inhofe. “His provisions will strengthen our national defense by leveraging the expertise and abilities of Alabama’s military installations and industry, including world-class shipbuilding, a vibrant defense workforce, and Army modernization, Space Force implementation, and missile defense efforts.”

The following is a summary of funding priorities secured by Tuberville in the NDAA for fiscal year 2022. The objectives relate to an array of funding areas that will serve to benefit Alabama’s military installations and its robust aerospace and defense industry:

● Increased overall Department of Defense (DOD) topline by 3%
● Prioritized funding for hypersonic development and testing with an emphasis on Huntsville’s Missile Defense Agency (MDA)
● Targeted funding for further development of high-energy lasers (HEL)
● Accelerated investment in satellite systems to address cyber vulnerabilities in support of the Space Command
● Secured a new Force reserve component within the National Guard for the U.S. Space Force
● Authorized funding toward supporting repair and maintenance for Dannelly Field in Montgomery
● Provided authorization of two Expeditionary Fast Transport vessels in support of the Gulf’s shipbuilding industry
● Secured funding toward resources for a second Guided Missile Destroyer, fulfilling the U.S. Navy’s top funding priority
● Fought for small business innovators by advocating for public-private partnership to incentivize employee ownership for government defense contractors
● Sought $6.6M toward the improvement of Fort Rucker’s dilapidated barracks

Dylan Smith is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News

16 hours ago

Taziki’s founder launches new Greek cuisine concept in Birmingham area

Greek Street is a new addition to the state’s fast-casual restaurant market.

Inspired by the fast-paced approach to food found in the urban areas of Greece, Alabamian Keith Richards recently opened the first location for Greek Street in Hoover’s Inverness Village shopping center.

Richards has taken his more than two decades of Mediterranean cooking and developed a Greek street food offering through this first test kitchen concept. He hopes to expand Greek Street across the United States.

“We are thrilled to open our first location ever in the Birmingham area,” said Richards in a release from the company. “Our mission with this new concept is to provide nutritious, fresh greek street food at economic prices.”

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Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato welcomed Richards and his staff to the city as part of a ribbon-cutting ceremony at its new location.

“The Hoover community is excited to welcome the first Greek Street location as our new neighbor,” Brocato stated. “The City of Hoover is known for its unique and diverse restaurants; Greek Street is the perfect addition.”

Upon entering the restaurant customers will enjoy the festive stringed lights and a map of places the Richards family has visited in Greece. Abstract Greek-inspired hand paintings drawn by Keith’s daughter, Charlie, adorn the walls.

Customers have the option of utilizing Greek Street’s convenient App-Thru service which is designed to assist with quick order pickup. Customers can download the app, order their meal before they arrive and pull up to receive it through the App-Thru window. The restaurant also offers curbside takeout and delivery options.

The restaurant is hiring for several positions including cooks, shift leaders and cashiers. Applicants can apply by visiting Greek Street’s website.

Menu items at Greek Street include a variety of appetizers, salads, gyros, bowls, kids’ meals and desserts.

16 hours ago

Tracie West to seek second term on Alabama State Board of Education

Alabama State Board of Education member Tracie West on Thursday announced that she will run for a second term on the state board of education. A Republican, West was elected in 2018 after serving nearly 10 years on the Auburn City Schools Board of Education.

In announcing her reelection bid, West pointed to her record as a state school board member.

“When I ran in 2018, I pledged to push for a master plan for our state school board,” said West. “Now, for the first time, our state board of education has a 5-year master plan designed by citizens from across Alabama. We finally have a blueprint for how we will improve our education system and increase student achievement.”

West expressed her desire to ensure Alabama’s public schools remain open for in-person learning.

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“I will continue to fight for our schools and aggressively advocate for our students,” vowed West. “Before COVID hit, we were really starting to make good progress for our schools. Right now, we’ve got to make sure that our schools stay open and that we help students catch up,” she stated.

West noted her opposition to the implementation of Critical Race Theory.

“In addition to the pandemic recovery, there are many other emerging issues. I am strongly against the teaching of Critical Race Theory in our K-12 classrooms. Critical Race Theory is not part of our state curriculum and I intend to keep it that way. I’m not going to let the federal government use grants or other education funding to pressure our state into teaching critical race theory or any other liberal attempt to promote socialism or ideologies that don’t reflect our Alabama values,” concluded West.

Tracie West is a native of Lee County and is a 1991 graduate of Auburn University. A year after graduation, Tracie met and married her husband, Lt. Colonel Paul West (US Army Retired).

In 1997, Tracie began operating PakMail, a retail shopping business which she grew to two locations before selling the company in 2018. Tracie is also a licensed Realtor. The couple has three daughters: Lydia, Marion and Kathryn. They attend Church of the Highlands, Auburn campus.

Tracie has invested her time in the community by serving in leadership positions with the Lee County Salvation Army Board, the Lee County Youth Development Center Board, the Auburn Chamber of Commerce Board, the Auburn Rotary Club and the Auburn Commercial Development Authority.

Tracie was named the Auburn Chamber of Commerce 2001 Small Business Person of the Year and received the “Spirit of Auburn” award in 2008, in recognition of her community service.

District 2 of the Alabama State Board of Education covers all or parts of Barbour, Chambers, Clay, Cleburne, Coffee, Coosa, Dale, Geneva, Henry, Houston, Lee, Randolph, Russell and Tallapoosa Counties.

Dylan Smith is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News

18 hours ago

Aderholt: Woke liberal culture wants to destroy the fabric of sports

There are few things in everyday life that teach our kids life lessons better than sports. As they grow up and play for different teams they learn about commitment, hard work, how to win with grace, and how to pick yourself up and move on after a loss. These lessons stay with them forever, and as a parent I know how valuable those experiences are.

This is why we have to ensure sports, especially high school sports, remain fair and free of political influence. When Title IX was enacted, it did just that for female athletes. It gave them equal opportunity to compete and provided protection for girls’ sports across the country. Title IX also created more pathways for girls to become college athletes, giving many the collegiate chance they wouldn’t have had without sports.

But now, woke liberal culture has set aim on destroying the fabric of sports by pushing for transgender athletes to compete against girls. Across the country more and more states are passing laws allowing this to happen, and it is taking away opportunities and equality for females.

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In Connecticut, two transgender track runners that are biologically male won 15 high school state championships while racing against biological females. In a mixed martial arts fight, a transgender fighter that is biologically male fought a biological female, winning by nearly killing the female fighter and fracturing her skull. And now, a transgender weightlifter who competed against men until 2013 will compete against women in the Olympics, which they qualified for by outlifting all the female competitors by a whopping 40 pounds.

The problems here are obvious. Not only are opportunities to get scholarships and accolades diminished, but the safety and wellbeing of these girls is at stake. It’s hard enough staying healthy while competing in physical sports, but when the opponent can take you down with ease that task becomes nearly impossible.

Additionally, one can see how allowing transgender athletes to compete against girls ultimately diminishes the values learned from equal competition. Rather than learning lessons about life, they will learn that the political agenda of the far-left trumps fair play, and that they will use people as pawns in order to reshape society as they see fit. The confidence, trust, and toughness girls are supposed to learn through sports will be a thing of the past.

Those on the left will try and downplay all of this and say it’s really not a big deal, and this is just a “culture war” that conservatives created. But the fact of the matter is this: girls are now at risk because far left policies are eroding our values.

And this argument really has nothing to do with transgender rights or gender dysphoria. Simply put, we shouldn’t be imposing a sports ceiling that will make girls feel less valuable. If we are going to allow biological males to compete against biological females, we might as well tell young women, “don’t even bother.”

Just watch the Olympics this year and see for yourself. Witness what happens when a transgender athlete competes in weightlifting against biological females. And see how the left will celebrate it all and tell our kids that it was heroic.