Officials celebrate Raytheon's new warehouse
FARMINGTON — Throughout remarks made at today's event to celebrate a new $5 million warehouse at the Raytheon Diné Facility, company officials focused on the structure's contribution to increased efficiency in service of the country's defense and foreign policy.
"It's hard to believe this was a patch of dirt … but this dirt has turned into a beautiful warehouse," Raytheon Missile Systems President Taylor Lawrence said at the event attended by New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye, other officials and employees.
The 30,000-square-foot warehouse opened in February and it consolidates the use of three warehouse sites in Arizona and Texas and eliminates travel time and repeated material handling, officials said.
Martinez said the missile components produced at the facility contribute to the state's long history as a leader in national defense, including the 59 Tomahawk missiles used by the U.S. military in an April 6 air strike against Syria. She said components for those weapons were built at the facility.
Raytheon has operated the Diné Facility for more than 25 years; it is located south of Farmington along N.M. Highway 371 across from the Navajo Agricultural Products Industry headquarters.
It supports 12 missile programs that are used across the military branches and by its coalition partners.
Lorenzo Cortes, a Raytheon spokesman, in response to questions emailed by The Daily Times, said the warehouse was "part of an ongoing effort that includes an additional 70 jobs to include assembly line operators, engineers, supervisors and managers."
Those additional jobs will increase the total number of employees at the facility to 350, he said, adding that the workforce is 93 percent Navajo.
Raytheon officials said the warehouse also continues the relationship the company has with the tribe, county and state.
Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye said tribal members rely on the salaries earned at Raytheon to support families, which helps support the area economy.
"You are privileged to be able to be here under this tent," Begaye said, referring to a shelter set up outside the warehouse where the ceremony was held.
He added that he would like to see Raytheon increase its production at the site to included items such as drones.
"I would like to see us being out there on the forefront in that type of industry," Begaye said.
Martinez was described as a "strong" supporter and partner of the facility in remarks during the event.
Martinez said each time she visits the facility, she sees quality job skills and employee dedication.
"I've never seen such an amazing team," the governor said. "We can also be proud that Raytheon and other industries have been the backbone of the economy for many, many years."
Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636.