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Thursday, Oct 6, 2022
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Aerojet Sky High Over New Air Force Orders

The Chatsworth campus of Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings Inc. was already on the cusp of a growth spurt as the location for the development and manufacture of an engine slated for use by the Space Launch System, NASA’s new heavy lift rocket. Now joining that program is the AR1, an engine the Sacramento-based company is making as a replacement for Russian-made engines used to launch military payloads into orbit. Aerojet announced a partnership Feb. 29 with United Launch Alliance, in Centennial, Colo., and the Air Force valued at $804 million for the AR1 engines that will be delivered by the end of 2019. The two companies will initially invest $57.7 million in the project, with a total investment of $268 million if all options are exercised. Aerojet Chief Executive Eileen Drake said the Chatsworth facility will play a large role in the development of the AR1 as it is home to many design engineers as well as the company’s primary additive manufacturing, or 3-D printing, site. The design of the AR1 combines rocket technology advancements that Aerojet has made over the decades with new low-cost, high-performance features, Drake said. “We will be using new materials and we will also be using a lot of the additive manufacturing methods we have along with the automated machining and inspection to further reduce the cost of the engine,” she told the Business Journal. The AR1 engine will replace Russian-built RD-180 engines used for launching Atlas V rockets. Drake called the AR1 the lowest-risk and lowest-cost alternative and the fastest path to independence from the Russian engine. “We clearly know how to design and produce engines and really believe we’d be the best one to select,” she said. Sober Business Simi Valley business owner Rick Roussin knows what it’s like to hit rock bottom. While operating a business selling printer ribbons from his L.A.-area home some 30 years ago, Roussin was also abusing alcohol and cocaine. Getting stabbed in a fight over a beer keg set him on a path to recovery – and in a place to meet and help others coming from similar circumstances. Today, Roussin owns Coast to Coast Computer Products, a company with $60 million-plus in revenue with locations in Simi Valley, Woodland Hills and Los Angeles. Its more than 200 employees collectively have 400 years of sobriety among them. “We have the ability to maybe offer somebody an opportunity that other people wouldn’t because of their tainted past or whatever the case may be,” Roussin said. “The more people we employed that were members of 12-step programs or in recovery, they would continue to tell their friends about employment type opportunities.” While Coast to Coast offers a variety of computer and printer products, Roussin considers its core business to be ink and toner sales. It contracts with a third-party manufacturer to make its own brand, Diamond Series Plus. Those products are similar in quality to ink cartridges from such heavyweights as Hewlett-Packard Co. and Sieko Epson Corp. but at a lower cost, he said. The policy to hire from a labor pool looking for a second (or even third) chance was not intentional on Roussin’s part but evolved out of attending 12-step meetings. He finds it rewarding to help people who are down on their luck, he said. As an employer he finds that people who struggle with addiction are bright and driven. “If they can clean up and you take that drive and energy and channel it into positive things, you end up with a productive worker,” he added. Medical Maintenance Biomed services provider enBio continues to add more hospitals to its customer roster as well as employees for servicing medical equipment. Late last year, the Burbank company became the equipment service provider for five hospitals in Southern California operated by Alta Hospitals System, joining the hundreds of other medical facilities it contracts with throughout the Western U.S. Alta has a psychiatric hospital in Van Nuys. Chief Operating Officer Mike Murray said that the Alta deal speaks to the relationships EnBio has with the medical community in the region. “They see us as a key partner to manage their programs,” Murray said. Chief Executive Arthur Zenian started enBio in 2008 after having owned two other biomed companies. EnBio technicians work on site to make sure equipment — ventilators, infusion pumps, image machines and the like — are working and get preventive maintenance. Staff Reporter Mark R. Madler can be reached at (818) 316-3126 or mmadler@sfvbj.com.

Mark Madler
Mark Madler
Mark R. Madler covers aviation & aerospace, manufacturing, technology, automotive & transportation, media & entertainment and the Antelope Valley. He joined the company in February 2006. Madler previously worked as a reporter for the Burbank Leader. Before that, he was a reporter for the City News Bureau of Chicago and several daily newspapers in the suburban Chicago area. He has a bachelor’s of science degree in journalism from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
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