Lockheed Martin honored local aircraft contractor Crissair Inc. on Tuesday with the 2017 Elite Supplier Award for the company’s work on products for the F-35 fighter.
Local business leaders, high school students and dignitaries attended as the Valencia firm, which has been in the SCV for four years, received the honor. After the presentation, attendees had an opportunity to “fly” the F-35 in a simulator.
The “Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II” was developed in 2006. Crissair’s 200 employees help make 30 types of products for the aircraft, which Lockheed Martin executive Jack O’Banion said was essential for the advancement of the program.
“It’s always nice to receive awards from our customers,” Crissair President Mike Alfred said. “There’s a lot of synergy going on here. And it means jobs in the valley.”
Holly Schroeder, director of the Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corp., said the company is a great example of the strength of the aerospace industry in Southern California.
“We were thrilled when Crissair moved here (from Palmdale),” she said. “They are a star in the aerospace defense cluster.”
Saugus High and Valencia High School students interested in aerospace engineering were selected to observe the event.
“It’s interesting that we get to look at these crazy jets,” Valencia High senior Logan Suffredini said. “And we also get to see what’s actually behind this manufacturing.”
“The cockpit display and getting to hear from the displayers is really exciting,” said Zach Fineburg, a senior at Saugus High School. “It’s cool to see what we learn in school applied to real life.”
Rep. Steve Knight, R-Palmdale, also spoke at the event.
“Crissair is working on our frontline product for the Marines and Navy, and this achievement is a testament to the significance of the people of the Santa Clarita Valley,” he said. “There are thousands of suppliers of F-35 around the country. But this shows the employees and folks working on the program here are producing a good product, on time and on budget.”
Event attendees received an update on the status of the program as well as the opportunity to try out the F-35 flight simulator to gain an understanding, from a pilot’s perspective, of how to operate the fighter jet.
In 2018, the F-35 program has more than 1,500 suppliers in 46 states and Puerto Rico, employing more than 194,000 people (direct and indirect) and generating an annual economic impact of over $31 billion, according to a prepared statement released by Lockheed Martin.