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Manufacturing Pro to Lead Bell; Garrison’s Legacy

By Staff Writer | October 16, 2015

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An aerospace manufacturing expert will take the helm of Bell Helicopter when Mitch Snyder succeeds John Garrison as president and CEO. 

An 11-year veteran of Bell, Snyder is currently executive vice president of military program. Previously, he served as vice president and program director for the Bell Boeing V-22.  For much of his time at the company, Snyder has overseen a range of manufacturing and production functions. He was responsible for Bell’s Fort Worth facilities that produce transmissions, advanced composite structures, rotor blades and subassemblies for military and commercial aircraft and he oversaw production engineering and tooling, as well as the maintenance of the facilities and equipment. His responsibilities included day-to-day management of some of the company’s most problematic production areas. He also built a solid working relationships with leaders of Bell’s union workforce. 

Prior to joining Bell in 2004, Snyder held senior leadership positions with Lockheed Martin in engineering, business and manufacturing. 
 
Garrison leaves, after six years of leading Bell through the Great Recession and the launch of three aircraft development programs, to become CEO of the construction and materials handing firm Terex effective Nov. 2. When he was named to the Bell post in 2009, Garrison became the company’s fifth top executive in eight years. He often joked that the “over-under” bet on how long he would last at the helicopter manufacturer was 18 months.
 
Garrison took over while Bell was still recovering from the U.S. Army’s cancellation of the $5 billion ARH-70 Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter contract and coping with the recession and a six-week strike’s disruption of production activities. He oversaw the recovery from those crises and the launch of the 525 Relentless super-medium twin, the light single 505 JetRanger X and the V-280 Valor contender for the Army’s Joint Multi-Role technology demonstration program. 
 
Garrison’s greatest legacy, though, may be executive of the Business Systems Modernization program, a multi-year effort to integrate a wild patchwork of accounting, engineering, production control and other systems developed over decades at Bell. Garrison convinced Bell parent Textron to make a massive investment in the initiative while still in the throes of the recession. One payoff of the program, Garrison told R&WI last week at Helitech in London, is the efficiency with which Bell is integrating parts and designs from diverse supply chains into production activities of its new rotorcraft programs.  
 
Photo courtesy of Bell Helicopter
 
 

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