This piece was originally published on May 3, 2021 by Fort Worth Inc. Magazine. Reprinted here with permission.
Do the right thing. It’s a simple yet profound statement, and it guides the way Elbit Systems of America interacts with its customers, its employees, and the communities where its employees live and work. In short, this statement is the company’s compass.
Headquartered in Fort Worth for nearly 30 years, Elbit Systems of America is a leading provider of high-performance products supporting the defense, homeland security, commercial aviation, and medical instrumentation markets. More than 700 Texans are employed at the company’s two Fort Worth facilities; more than 3,000 people nationwide. And during the pandemic, Elbit America went to great lengths to support local students by ensuring its paid internship program could continue and provide them with meaningful work experience.
“Do the right thing. It isn’t just a tagline for the employees at Elbit Systems of America. It’s embedded in the very culture of our workforce,” said Raanan Horowitz, President and CEO of the company. “Our One Elbit Family is committed to our mission of providing innovative solutions that protect and save lives. This mindset extends to how our workforce relates and contributes to its home communities throughout the DFW Metroplex and it’s inspiring to see.”
Fort Worth-based employees take part in a multitude of service activities, volunteering their time at key nonprofits within the community and fundraising for various causes. Since 2008, employees have raised more than $2 million to support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society through the Red River Region.
Penny O’Donnell is a 27-year employee of Elbit Systems of America, working as a Manager of Transaction Services. Since 2000, she’s volunteered for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and in 2015, she took on the lead role for LLS fundraising activities such as the annual Light The Night walk.
“Giving back through LLS not only provides me the opportunity to work with an amazing organization, but to also be a part of something bigger than myself – to help realize life-changing events in others’ lives,” O’Donnell said. “I’m thankful to work for a company that understands the importance of volunteering in the community and provides resources to support this commitment.”
“When someone hears the words, ‘You have cancer,’ it’s often the darkest day in someone’s life. Elbit America employees bring light to that darkness,” said Leah Swanson, Executive Director of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society – Red River Region. “Companies like Elbit America help us to fund leading-edge research to advance new therapies and bring them to more patients faster than ever before.”
Elbit Systems of America employees have also actively participated since 2017 in raising funds for the Tarrant Area Food Bank through a Virtual Food Drive benefitting TAFB’s mission to provide food and resources to eliminate hunger. Company teams have also volunteered with the TAFB Community Garden Program to harvest and prepare goods for distribution.
In addition to the examples above, numerous volunteer efforts are made on an individual level. Employees take pride in mentoring students at local high schools to build STEM skills, while others “adopt” angels through The Salvation Army North Texas Angel Tree program annually. Making contributions, however big or small, is encouraged and celebrated within Elbit Systems of America.
Ben Gaffield, a Senior Director of Ethics, Trade Controls & Regulatory Compliance at the company, barks up a different kind of charitable tree: supporting the Fort Worth Animal Care & Control’s Out & About Program. “I like to think of it as a sort of dog library,” Gaffield said. “My wife and I have three cats and no yard, so having our own pups would be difficult. Out & About provides us a great opportunity to spend time with dogs, while getting them some exercise and much-needed time away from the shelter.”
“Our mission as a company is to create and deliver innovative solutions that protect and save lives,” said Brett Cohen, Vice President of Human Resources and Employee Development at Elbit Systems of America. “Ultimately, the approach our workforce takes to business bleeds over into how they interact and live in Fort Worth and the surrounding communities. Our employees are eager to create solutions, to help where needed, and to ensure they make a difference.”