Michael Wall to retire after three-plus decades at L-3 KEO
GAZETTE FILE PHOTO Michael Wall is retiring Saturday as president of L-3 KEO, formerly Kollmorgen Electro-Optical.
NORTHAMPTON — The head of the city’s largest manufacturer is turning in his security clearance Saturday, retiring after more than three decades at defense contractor L-3 KEO.
L-3 KEO, formerly known as Kollmorgen Electro-Optical, announced Thursday that Michael Wall will leave his position as president, effective March 30, to spend more time with his family and pursue other interests.
“I’ve had the honor and privilege of working with a team of incredibly talented, knowledgeable and dedicated associates at KEO for many years,” Wall said in a press release.
During his 30-plus years with the company, which makes imaging equipment for the U.S. Navy and other branches of the military, Wall served in several leadership positions before being named president in 2005.
He shepherded the company through two significant transitions in recent years: its 2011 move from King Street headquarters to a much larger facility at Village Hill Northampton and its 2012 sale from Danaher Corp. to L-3 Communications, a New York City defense contractor. L-3 renamed the Northampton facility L-3 KEO.
City officials have long praised Wall for being a strong advocate for Northampton over the years, calling Kollmorgen’s decision to stay in the city and relocate its then 340-employee work force to Village Hill one of the most important developments to affect the local economy.
Wall, 60, lives in the city and has worked at the Northampton facility his entire career. The company has had a presence in Northampton for six decades.
L-3 officials also said Wall was instrumental in transitioning the company into L-3’s Integrated Sensor Systems Sector, which includes L-3’s electro-optical and infrared businesses for the air, ground and maritime markets.
Matthew J. Richi, L-3 KEO’s vice president of submarine imaging systems, will replace Wall as president. Richi has more than 27 years of leadership experience in business development, program management and product line management, L-3 said.
“While I’ll miss everyone, I’m confident the business will continue to grow and thrive under the leadership of Matt Richi and the management team and resources of L-3,” Wall said in a press release.
Wall will continue to work with the L-3 KEO management team to ensure a smooth transition, the company said.
In addition to the optronic imaging equipment it makes for submarines, L-3 KEO manufactures antenna pedestals, telescoping masts and weapon handling systems for submarines, surface ships, combat vehicles and other defense platforms.
L-3 employs about 51,000 people worldwide. As part of its move to Village Hill Northampton, the company expects to add 30 high-paying engineering and skilled assembly jobs over the next several years.