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Marvin Test Solutions Moves Ahead with Military Work

While many OC businesses have temporarily closed or cut back during the COVID-19 crisis, aerospace test and measurement company Marvin Test Solutions Inc. in Irvine says business is moving forward after making some key adjustments to its working routines.

“We’re busier than ever in many, many respects,” Chief Executive Stephen Sargeant told the Business Journal on April 29.

Marvin, which makes precision testing and measurement equipment for the military, is part of the federal “Critical Infrastructure Sectors”’ that are vital to national security. Thus, the company is exempt from Gov. Gavin Newsom’s statewide stay-at-home executive order. Newsom has already approved an easing of some restrictions.

Maverick, Hellfire

Marvin’s products include a portable tester for Maverick and Hellfire missiles, as well as its MTS-3060A Smart Can test, which checks that bomb racks, launchers, pylons and pods on a military aircraft are ready for use.

“A big part of what we do here at Marvin Test Solutions is in military and aerospace,” according to Sargeant, a retired major general for the Air Force.

The CEO posted a letter on the company’s website emphasizing Marvin’s “special duty and responsibility to continue to execute our critical and essential military-aerospace mission to keep America strong during this uncertain time.”

Key Adaptations

Marvin Test made some key adaptations to keep moving forward safely, including widespread use of video-conferencing technology.

Some business trips were canceled and the employees were “reoriented.” Many of the company’s 108 employees have been working from home since the start of the COVID-19 epidemic, so that no more than 40 people have been in the firm’s roughly 31,000-square-foot facility near the intersection of Red Hill Avenue and Alton Parkway at any one time.

“We’re working very hard to have minimal contact and maximizing social distance between our folks. It’s paid off extremely well,” Sargeant said.

Design, Develop

“We design and develop right here, and then we have a lot of our manufacturing done by a fairly large U.S. supply base mainly here in Southern California for the cables and cords and that sort of thing,” according to Sargeant. “We bring them all back together here for integration, testing, and shipping directly to the customer.”

As the crisis was heading to a peak, Sargeant says Marvin did “everything we could” to come up with a plan to build testing equipment for life-saving ventilators, but ultimately the help wasn’t needed.

“We were prepared to do our part.”

Tyvak, Ducommun

Another local company in the critical sectors’ Defense Industrial Base is Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems Inc. of Irvine, which says it “remained operational throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.” Tyvak’s projects include working with NASA, and the company is developing two advanced radar satellites able to see through clouds and darkness.

In Santa Ana, Stephen Oswald, chief executive of Ducommun Inc. (NYSE; DCO) told investors on April 30 that “90% of our team members show up at our operations every day,” while its “defense business has really started showing its strength, especially in Q1.”

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Kevin Costelloe
Kevin Costelloe
Tech reporter at Orange County Business Journal
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