Elbit Leader: Many don’t know what Fort Worth has to offer

Raanan Horowitz, president and CEO of Elbit Systems of America-designed AR smartglasses 

The Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce hosted a speaker event on Thursday to examine ways of developing and attracting tech talents in Fort Worth.

Raanan Horowitz, president and CEO of Elbit Systems of America, was the presenter at Thursday’s event, a part of the Leader Insights Series. About 120 local business representatives joined the midday event.

Fort Worth-based Elbit Systems of America designs and develops modernized systems for use in defense, commercial aviation, security, medical and public communication industries.

Among other specialized projects, the company is the primary contractors for Homeland Security’s integrated fixed towers program. Elbit recently deployed communication-linked towers with radars and sensors in about 250 miles of Arizona’s southern border.

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Elbit is on track to generate business worth more than $1 billion this year.

“Yet, it’s likely you don’t know much about us,” Horowitz said. “In regard to that, Elbit’s pretty similar to Fort Worth. Most people don’t know what Fort Worth is, what it has to offer and they don’t know how great the city is.”

To grow and develop, Fort Worth needs to change the perception people have about the city, Horowitz said.

His company is applying an approach that Horowitz thinks delivers results.

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“An ‘outside-in approach’ to everything we do,” Horowitz said. “Those amazing products we talk about, they were created based on discussions, interface and intimacy with customers, and understanding what they’re looking for. We know the customers and we know what their needs are. We helped them project what the future needs will be. We’re taking risks with them.”

As an example, Elbit developed the F-35 Helmet Mounted Display System for Lockheed Martin. The one-of-a-kind system projects all aircraft-related information on the visor of the helmet, not on the head-up display.

“[We were] working with Lockheed [Martin] on something that has never been done before,” Horowitz said. “We adapted their needs. And, we just don’t try to get them to accept what we have to offer but create what they really want and need for their needs. It’s the outside-in approach.”

Elbit started operations in the early 90s with less than 10 employees. At present, the company operates out of six different locations, which has about 1,800 employees, including 400 in Fort Worth.

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Apart from innovative thinking, Horowitz said that companies need to build strong relationships with their employees and friendly working environment.

But as times change along with trends, so does business landscapes.

“We are in business and it’s harder to adapt to those changes,” Horowitz said. “Because it’s very tempting when you have an ongoing program and business to just sit down, relax and enjoy the fruits, deliver results. It’s very tempting to not to make those changes.”

He added: “We are trying to be in-tune to know when you have to really start changing, despite the fact that you’re doing well. Because doing well is not a guarantee that you’ll do well in the future.”