Brian Baldrate – Raytheon
As a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army, Brian Baldrate commanded his fair share of missions, many involving Abrams tanks—massive machines whose mobilization required impeccable coordination and constant communication.
The tactics and terrains may have changed, but for Baldrate, general counsel for Raytheon’s international and Washington, D.C., operations, the aim remains the same: to support his people with the best possible strategies.
Beginning as a compliance officer when he joined Raytheon in 2012, Baldrate’s role grew to overseeing the company’s international legal operations including the legal work for foreign subsidiaries, joint ventures and international offices.
Last October, the company announced a $135 billion merger with United Technologies Corp., creating the world’s second-largest defense contractor as well as the largest public company in Massachusetts. The new entity is focused on the defense and aerospace industries, which translated into a new title for Baldrate: head of global legal affairs and government relations.
“The challenge is how to take two unique and established companies— each with its own deeply-routed culture and idiosyncrasies—and combine them to form a new cohesive team,” Baldrate says.
Mixing apples and oranges
Over the past few months, Baldrate’s focus has been on supporting organizational change.
Planning for the merger, each company was simultaneously making internal changes of its own. For Raytheon, the process involves consolidating its four business divisions into two larger ones, with each totaling over 30,000 employees and approximately $15 billion in annual revenue. For UTC, the merger happened at the same time it was spinning off its Otis and Carrier businesses.
“This internal change was a massive transformation to the way Raytheon previously did business,” Baldrate says.
Beyond the internal Raytheon change, preparing for the merger was equally daunting. The companies are organized differently: While Raytheon operated as one centralized corporation with four divisions under its control, UTC had four separately-branded companies with decentralized control.
Mission and integration
Integration began in earnest when the company rolled out a new name in early 2020—Raytheon Technologies Corp.—as well as set plans for a new suburban Boston headquarters.
“Pre-merger, we still needed to go about business as usual, but we set up an integration team that included teams from both companies,” Baldrate says. “The merger process involves a million different steps trying to figure out best practices and a joint focus. We’re now blending the different models together.”
Ninety percent of Raytheon’s business was defense, with the majority supporting the U.S. government. By contrast, most of UTC’s business was commercial with a significant global presence and the majority of its business outside the United States. The new company plans to strike a balance: half defense, half commercial, and equally split between domestic and international contracts.
The goal, Baldrate says, is to draw upon the company’s nearly 200 years of combined experience to be an innovator of aerospace and defense initiatives.
“We’ll benefit in areas we overlap,” he says. “By combining the complimentary portfolios of advanced technologies and research, Raytheon Technologies plans to set the standards on how we can travel, communicate and defend ourselves, creating a safer more connected world.”
Managing internal changes within the two companies is one thing, but adapting to variables such as a global pandemic is another.
In the wake of COVID-19, many of the company’s global employees have been impacted by the travel restrictions and safety measures needed to ensure public health.
“We’re relocating people and creating organizational change during a period of unprecedented chaos,” Baldrate says.
Foremost is the safety of employees, which means instituting precautionary measures; working remotely where feasible; personnel protective equipment; detailed cleaning and disinfecting of facilities; and outreach to third-party environmental response teams.
Few things have proved quite as challenging, however, as keeping pace with the latest COVID-19 orders and regulations— local, state, tribal, federal and international alike. Since February, mandates have been issued by everyone from the Navajo Nation to the departments of Homeland Security and Defense.
“We’re trying to understand and adapt to what it all means because Raytheon Technologies does critical infrastructure work related to the nation’s security and often must keep performing these essential services” Baldrate says.
In some instances, staying at home is not an option.
Added to that are logistical challenges of getting products and equipment from suppliers; scheduling its workforce; and figuring out the best ways to partner with customers. The goal is to accomplish these tasks while protecting 195,000 employees.
“It’s non-stop trying to understand how the latest orders affect everything,” he says. “You can cross state lines and things may be applied differently. We have to make sense of all the variables. We owe it to the people to give them the best guidance.”
As with so many missions he’s lent a hand in, Baldrate draws confidence from his background, one in which every operation had one thing in common: teamwork.
It was his sense of patriotism that first drew him to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in political science in 1995.
“It was difficult, and at first I hated it, but I quickly came to see its value,” says Baldrate, a 24-year veteran says of the military school. “They throw chaos at you and you quickly figure out what you’re not good at, and that everyone needs help to succeed. It’s a useful process for developing leadership and teamwork skills.”
In 1996, he took that skillset to Kuwait, where he commanded a tank platoon. Upon his safe return, he switched gears to attend law school through the Army, simultaneously earning a J.D. and a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Connecticut in 2000.
Beginning in 2001, Baldrate served in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General Corps for seven years, primarily as a criminal prosecutor in Fort Carson, Colorado. By the time of the second Iraq War he shifted to general counsel and chief prosecutor in the Anbar Province in Iraq from 2003 to 2004.
“I loved using my legal skills as a part of the team to advise commanders to help achieve a critical mission in an ethical manner,” he says.
Returning home, he earned a masters in international law in 2005 from The Army JAG School in Charlottesville, Virginia, and spent several years detailed to the Justice Department as both a trial attorney and special assistant with the U.S Attorney’s Office in Washington, D.C., followed by four years as a litigator at Gibson Dunn.
Baldrate joined Raytheon in 2012. It’s been a whirlwind career, he says, one that’s entailed everything from investigating foreign corruption, to responding to cybersecurity threats, to negotiating international arms sales throughout the world.
“You can forget how many pieces go into solving these complex decisions for real-world problems,” he says. “You put in the extra time to make sure the best possible decisions are being made with the information you have.”
Thankfully, all that training—and the experiences it created—have helped make those choices easier.
“I love my job and I’ve joked how I like to run toward the gunfire and into the chaos of a new challenge,” Baldrate says. “My comfort lies in being a trusted adviser and integral team member in solving real-world problems and accomplishing a mission.”
Showcase your feature on your website with a custom “As Featured in Vanguard” badge that links directly to your article!
Copy and paste this script into your page coding (ideally right before the closing