CBJ Editorial

Even though Collins Aerospace is still the largest private employer in the region, and whatever impacts it inevitably ripples through our region, the recent announcement that Collins’ parent company, United Technologies Corp., plans to merge with defense contractor Raytheon to create an aerospace giant in the same league as Boeing and Airbus had us surprisingly ambivalent.

It’s as though the Corridor lost its innocence with the acquisition of Rockwell Collins by UTC. Whatever happens to Collins now is still impactful, but it lacks the visceral emotion that came with being a regionally headquartered company.

Connecticut-based UTC supplies engines and an array of electronics, interiors and aerostructures through its Collins Aerospace and Pratt & Whitney units, with two of six Collins business units — avionics and mission systems — based in Cedar Rapids. Raytheon Co. is a Massachusetts-based supplier of military aircraft and missile systems, with $27 billion in sales in 2018.

The combined company, to be called Raytheon Technologies, will have the size and scale to better survive down business cycles, the companies said. The merger will also allow the company to accelerate its R&D efforts and push back against customers like Boeing and Airbus, who have long been seeking cost concessions from suppliers.

We’re hopeful that this merger will go through, and that the bigger-is-better strategy continues to pay dividends for investors and the region.

Harreld to remain as UI president

The Iowa Board of Regents voted unanimously to retain University of Iowa President Bruce Harreld through June 2023. His contract was set to expire in the fall.

Board members cited Mr. Harreld’s “steady, deliberate and thoughtful leadership” and strong advocacy for increased funding from the state in support of the extension.

Mr. Harreld was named the 21st president of the UI in August 2015. A former Harvard Business School faculty member and corporate executive with IBM, he has worked to broaden campus involvement in budget and policy decisions through shared governance and academic leadership.

“I came to make a contribution, and I am excited to continue the work we’ve started,” Mr. Harreld said in a statement. “While, together, we have moved the university forward, there is much left to do in developing, executing and funding our long-term strategy. It is in that context that I am excited to extend my contract.”

“My wife, Mary, and I love it here,” he added.

We are particularly excited about the UI’s shift in its approach to economic development with a new chief innovation officer, and Mr. Harreld’s continued effort to make higher education funding more predictable and sustainable.

We’re also hopeful that over the next three years Mr. Harreld will better engage the business community in the region and lend his expertise and leadership to help move the region in a more collaborative and unified front. •