USS Constitution Museum honors Raytheon CEO
Tom Kennedy receives community service award named for long-time company leader
The U.S. Navy became a pioneer in technical superiority more than 200 years ago and continues to embrace naval innovation, Raytheon Chairman and CEO Thomas Kennedy told those gathered for the USS Constitution Museum’s 2017 annual chairman’s dinner.
“We used U.S. ingenuity and technology to create a special ship; a ship that could compete against the many ships of the British, the French and the Spanish,” Kennedy said. “Fast forward a couple of centuries later, and we’re still introducing new technologies.”
Kennedy made his remarks after receiving the museum’s Charles Francis Adams Award for Community Service, which recognizes leaders who give back to their communities and create profound, positive change. Adams was one of the museum's founders and a long-time Raytheon leader.
“The USS Constitution Museum is privileged to honor Dr. Thomas Kennedy with the Charles Francis Adams Award for Community Service recognizing, by doing so, two skilled leaders of Raytheon,” museum Chairman Paul George said. “Today, under the leadership of Dr. Kennedy, Raytheon, like the Museum, is committed to STEM education so that students can become the skilled employees, citizens and leaders essential to keeping the United Stated sailing ahead briskly in the 21st Century.”
Under Kennedy's leadership, Raytheon has supported community programming benefiting veterans, military families and STEM-focused educational initiatives.
The Points of Light Foundation has named Raytheon to its Civic 50 list, which recognizes the nation’s most civically minded companies. In 2016, Raytheon employees performed 134,000 hours of direct volunteer service in their communities. Raytheon also has dedicated millions of dollars to both the Student Veterans of America to help veterans earn their college degrees, and to the Boys and Girls Clubs to fund STEM programming for military communities.
In addition, Raytheon sponsors the MathAlive! traveling exhibit; MATHCOUNTS, a bee-style math contest for middle school students; and the Museum of Science’s Engineering is Elementary curriculum.
The USS Constitution was ordered by the U.S. Navy in 1794, built in Boston Harbor and launched in 1797. Shipbuilder Joshua Humphrey’s design featured a number of innovations, such as a long, narrow keel and heavy planking that allowed it to carry very heavy guns and outrun a typical ship of the line.
Kennedy compared it to the USS Zumwalt, which was commissioned in 2016 and is considered the world’s most technologically advanced destroyer. Because of its stealth design, the 600-foot long destroyer gives off the radar signature of a 50-foot fishing boat. Raytheon was the prime systems integrator for the USS Zumwalt, which was designed and built in New England.
Charles Francis Adams was Raytheon’s first president, and served in a top leadership role with the company from 1948 until 1975. He remained a member of the Raytheon board of directors until 1997. Adams, a descendent of two American presidents, helped establish the USS Constitution Museum in 1972, serving as the first chairman of the museum’s board of trustees.
“His leadership and dedication to the founding ideals of our nation set the USS Constitution Museum on the path to success,” George said about Adams.
During Adams' tenure at Raytheon, the company matured from a manufacturer of vacuum tubes, transistors and home appliances into a global innovation leader designing and building radars and defense systems.
“I am proud, and I can tell you the entire Raytheon family is proud, to continue his legacy,” Kennedy told the more than 400 people in attendance, including U.S. Navy Cmdr. Robert S. Gerosa, the USS Constitution’s 74th and current commanding officer.
“To be recognized with this award does have significant meaning to me, since it is named after one of the foremost leaders in Raytheon history.”
The USS Constitution Museum, which last year hosted more than 525,000 visitors, offers STEM-based exhibits and programming for children.
“[I’m] pleased that Raytheon continues to support the mission of the USS Constitution Museum,” Kennedy said. “We are a company of engineers and scientists who believe in inspiring and developing the next generation of engineers and scientists.”
Dr. Lisa Norling, a history professor at the University of Minnesota and instructor at the Munson Institute of American Maritime Studies at Mystic Seaport, received the Samuel Eliot Morrison Award at the dinner for her literature on the lives of women and men in 18th and 19th century American port communities. She also has served as a consultant for some of the museum’s exhibits.
Kennedy was named CEO of Raytheon in April of 2014 and became chairman in October of that year. A veteran of the United States Air Force, where he attained the rank of captain, Kennedy first came to Raytheon in 1983 while finishing his doctorate in engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles. He began his Raytheon career working on radar systems and holds several patents. Over the years he has also served as chief operating officer and president of the Integrated Defense Systems business.