National Nuclear Security Administration

When one door closes, another opens: KCNSC welcomes former Harley Davidson employees

November 14, 2019

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KCNSC has hired more than 65 employees from the Kansas City Harley Davidson motorcycle plant that closed in May.
KCNSC has hired more than 65 employees from the Kansas City Harley Davidson motorcycle plant that closed in May.

When Harley Davidson announced it was closing its doors after 22 years, the Kansas City National Security Campus (KCNSC) began recruiting efforts at the high performance motorcycle facility in Kansas City.

Honeywell Federal Manufacturing & Technologies, the management and operating contractor at KCNSC, hired 65 of the 800 employees who lost their jobs at Harley Davidson’s Kansas City Plant when it finally closed in May.

Some former Harley Davidson employees say the main difference between the two cultures is the speed of production at the motorcycle manufacturer versus the high level of quality and accountability at KCNSC.

Those hired include quality engineers, material suppliers, senior mechanical engineers and quality inspectors.

“At KCNSC, the focus is on quality,” said Sean Chancellor, a material supplier, who joined KCNSC in 2018 after seven years at Harley. Chancellor says the biggest change in the transition to his new job is focus. Getting the job done correctly the first time is paramount. At KCNSC, you “slow down and take your time,” he said.

Joseph Hellmer joined KCNSC in July as a senior mechanical engineer after 12 years at Harley Davidson as a senior manufacturing engineer. He says one key difference between the two is the manufacturing environment. “At KCNSC, it’s unacceptable to have any defects at all leaving the factory,” he said. “As I learn more about the Nuclear Security Enterprise, I recognize the importance of what we do here. There’s more personal fulfillment in our mission.”

Talon Wilder joined KCNSC in June as a mechanical inspector and physical tester after nearly 20 years at the Harley Davidson factory. He says KCNSC’s manufacturing process requires much more fabrication and skill than anything at Harley Davidson. “That works very well for me as I have always been very mechanically inclined and love working with complex parts and assemblies. As such I am right at home working with engineers, helping operators, as well as understanding and identifying defects from a quality perspective.”