The iconic corporations of Long Island’s past live on in their descendants. Grumman Corp., now part of Falls Church, Virginia-based Northrop Grumman Corp., employs about 400 workers on Long Island, down from more than 20,000 when it produced military aircraft such as the F-14 Tomcat fighter during the Cold War. The workforce at Symbol Technologies, a pioneering Long Island tech company, shrank as it went through two acquisitions, in 2007 and 2014.
CA Technologies, the former Computer Associates, has moved its headquarters from Islandia to Manhattan. But executives groomed at these companies over the years have created a crop of startups on Long Island, some of which have tens of millions of dollars in annual revenue.
Mark Lesko, executive dean at Hofstra University’s Center for Entrepreneurship, said that executives who spend time in major corporations have advantages when they strike out on their own.
“They bring a high level of expertise,” he said.
Executives at Long Island’s seedling companies said their new enterprises carry the DNA of the giants they sprang from. Here are profiles of some of those companies and their founders.
Former Grumman workers have created about 10 smaller companies that maintain a strong aerospace ecosystem on Long Island.
A prime example of what might be called the Grumman effect is GSE Dynamics Inc., a Hauppauge aerospace manufacturer founded by former Grumman executive Daniel Shybunko.
Shybunko’s father Stephen, an immigrant from Eastern Europe, joined Bethpage-based Grumman in 1933 and became foreman of the paint shop.
Daniel Shybunko began working summers at Grumman as he pursued an engineering degree at the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn, now a part of New York University. He joined Grumman full time in 1955 and remained there for a quarter-century.
Shybunko, who turns 84 later this month, said that Grumman looked after its employees.
“It was like a family company,” he said. “My father got sick — I don’t remember what it was — and they sent him to Mayo Clinic [in Rochester, Minnesota] at the company’s cost.”
Shybunko formed his own company in 1971 while still working for Grumman, which he said gave him its blessing.
Shybunko left Grumman in 1980. GSE now employs 70 workers and manufactures structures and assemblies like the engine cowl for the C-5 transport jet and the engine duct for the C-130 turboprop. The closely held company doesn’t disclose its annual revenue, but said it has an order backlog of $44 million.
His daughter, Anne Shybunko-Moore, born the year he founded the company, is president.
Daniel Shybunko, who is CEO, said he has no interest in retiring: “It’s not the money, it’s the joy of doing what I like to do.”
Grumman also helped shape the career of Peter Rettaliata, 66. Rettaliata’s father and uncle worked at Grumman. Rettaliata joined the company after working there during summer breaks as a history major at Niagara University.
“You went up the ladder,” he said. “Grumman was the household name on Long Island in those days.”
Grumman sent Rettaliata, a procurement executive, to a semester-long management development course at Harvard Business School, and on projects around the world.
He left Grumman in December 1994 as Northrop Corp. was closing its $2.1 billion acquisition of Grumman.
“I decided the new company was not the Grumman Corp. I grew up in,” he said.
Rettaliata used the stock options he accumulated in 21 years to buy a stake in Air Industries, a machine shop in Bay Shore with annual revenue of about $10 million, he said.
In 2005, Rettaliata took Air Industries Group public and became chief executive. It now manufactures flight controls for the Black Hawk helicopter and landing gear for the F-18 fighter and E-2D command and control aircraft.
He left Air Industries as CEO in January 2015. Three months ago, Rettaliata returned as acting chief executive after the exit of his successor, Daniel Godin. The annual revenues for the 366-employee Hauppauge company were nearly $67 million in 2016.
Psychologist Anita D’Amico was team leader of Northrop Grumman’s information warfare group, leaving that company in 1999 after 14 years. The following year she launched Secure Decisions, a new unit of Northport-based software company Applied Visions. Secure Decisions helps U.S. government officials make sense of cybersecurity data. D’Amico is director of Secure Decisions and chief executive of Applied Visions’ 2015 spinoff, Code Dx, which makes software to plug software security holes.
“What I got from Northrop Grumman was a sense of fearlessness,” D’Amico said. “When I went to a small business, I came with a sense of empowerment and the processes and procedures that are needed to run a business: bidding, budgeting, customer reporting.”
Another Grumman veteran, Arthur August, in 1980 founded CPI Aerostructures, a publicly traded, Edgewood-based maker of components for military and civilian aircraft, with 259 employees and revenues of $81.3 million in 2016. August died in 2014.
Bar code pioneer
Bar codes and handheld scanners were pioneered by Holtsville-based Symbol Technologies.
Jerome Swartz co-founded the company in 1973 and by the 1980s and ’90s had signed on clients such as retailing giant Walmart Stores Inc.
Mitch Maiman was in the middle of his career when he joined Symbol in 1991. He held a variety of posts, including running a group that developed advanced data-capture technologies.
“I learned a ton of things at Symbol,” he said. “It was innovative. It was very fast moving. There was a huge sense of possibilities.”
By the time he left in March 2004, he was vice president of engineering. But the pace of Symbol’s innovation slowed, and Swartz had stepped down as chief executive.
“Many of my peers were gone,” Maiman said. “The company was no longer the same place.”
Swartz’s successor, Tomo Razmilovic, and several other Symbol executives were charged in 2004 with fraud. Razmilovic fled to Sweden, where he has citizenship; Sweden refuses to extradite him. He has asserted he is the victim of a “witch hunt.”
The company was acquired by Motorola in 2007; in 2014, Zebra Technologies bought the Motorola unit that included Symbol.
After a two-year stint at a consulting company, Maiman co-founded Hauppauge-based Intelligent Product Solutions Inc. in December 2007. IPS develops products such as a smart pill bottle, which lets you know if you miss a dose, and bicycles that report their location via wireless technology.
Maiman said that he learned from Symbol “how to recruit and hire really talented people,” including some from his former employer.
Privately held Intelligent Product Solutions had revenue of about $15 million in 2016.
Russell Artzt and Charles Wang co-founded Computer Associates International in 1976 and moved it from Queens to Long Island three years later. In 1981 the company went public. In 1989 Computer Associates became the first software company to reach $1 billion in revenue, according to its corporate website, beating Microsoft to the milestone.
Artzt, who oversaw research and development while Wang ran the business side, said that he “personally hired over a thousand people” there.
Wang left Computer Associates in 2002; two years later, Sanjay Kumar, CA’s chief executive and chairman, resigned over a $2.2 billion accounting scandal.
The company, now known as CA Technologies, moved its headquarters from Islandia to Manhattan in 2014. Artzt left the company in September 2015.
These days, Artzt, Wang and other former executives have moved on to new projects.
Artzt and another CA veteran joined RingLead, a Melville company, in December. Artzt is executive chairman and head of product development. Christopher Hickey, a former sales and marketing executive at CA, is chief executive at the 35-person company, whose product manages data used by sales professionals. Hickey describes the company, founded in 2003, as a “relaunch” and a “turnaround startup” with openings at 25 new positions.
NeuLion Inc., a Melville-based digital streaming company, was formed by CA veterans including Wang, his wife, Nancy Li, and others. Li is the executive chair of NeuLion, Wang is a director, and the company’s chief executive, Roy Reichbach, was vice president for legal affairs at CA until 2000.
NeuLion had revenue of $99.8 million in 2016.
erwin Inc., CA’s data modeling software unit, was bought in April 2016, by Laguna Hills, California, private equity firm Parallax Capital Partners. At that time, Adam Famularo, a former executive of CA’s cloud computing and storage business, became chief executive of the company, now based in Melville.
Famularo said erwin has more than 150 employees, including about 20 on Long Island. The chief operating officer is Jim McGarry, an operating partner at Parallax Capital and former sales and business development executive at CA.
Data modeling wasn’t considered a core business of CA, Famularo said: “We had this bigger vision.”
Brings a corporate culture
Serial entrepreneur David Hershberg carries his corporate culture with him.
Hershberg got into the satellite business when he founded the space communications unit of conglomerate ITT in 1968.
ITT moved that business to North Carolina. A few years later, in 1976, Hershberg founded Hauppauge-based Satellite Transmission Systems, which was acquired by California Microwave in 1981.
In 1994 he launched Worldcomm, which changed its name in 1997 to Globecomm Systems Inc. Hershberg said he grew the revenue at Globecomm, based in Hauppauge, to $350 million and head count to more than 500.
Private equity firm Wasserstein & Co. in December 2013 bought publicly traded Globecomm for $340 million.
Hershberg, now 80, waited until his noncompete agreement ran out, then started yet another satellite company, STS Global Inc., in March 2015.
“It’s the third time around,” he said.
He staffed the Stony Brook-based company with former Globecomm colleagues. The new private equity owners “laid off a lot of key individuals. That’s why we started this company,” he said.
Bookings are strong at STS, he said. He is trying to find an investment bank to raise $2.5 million for the startup, which has nine employees, plus contractors around the world.
Customers at STS include the United Nations, U.S. Air Force and DirecTV. “I think we’re going to grow this company just like we did the last two,” he said. STS “was a ready-made company,” Hershberg said. “They’re all good people. They’re the people who made [Globecomm] worth $340 million.”