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Westinghouse Power Generation in Orlando – the early days

The plan developed in the late 1970s was to reorganize and consolidate, on “neutral ground”, two tradition-bound operations of Westinghouse Electric Corporation’s Power Generation Group.  They were located on opposite ends of Pennsylvania, where George Westinghouse himself placed them in the late 1800s and early 1900s:  the Large Rotating Apparatus (a.k.a. Generator) Division located in E. Pittsburgh, PA (an original foundation of the Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company) and the Steam Turbine Division, located in Lester, PA,  just south of Philadelphia (known as “The Lester Plant” or “South Philadelphia Works”).

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Westinghouse Electric Corp. Large Rotating Apparatus Division, E. Pittsburgh, PA

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Westinghouse Electric Corp. Steam Turbine Division, Lester, PA

The goal was to find a new location to give a fresh start to a more streamlined operation combining these sister divisions.  The personnel to be relocated and consolidated into one business entity – The Steam Turbine Generator Division - represented both divisions’ professional staffs in their engineering, marketing & sales, project management, purchasing and service departments.  Before it would be over, the move would involve more than 1500 personnel.

After a long search, which kept pointing further and further south, it was decided that the new Westinghouse Power Generation World Headquarters was to be located on the east side of Orlando.  The selected site was on to be on Alafaya Trail, just across  from the growing campus The University of Central Florida.

The property selected for the site was to become known as The Quadrangle and it covered a large corner tract of land extending from Alafaya Trail on the east to Rouse Road on the west and from University Boulevard on the south almost to McCulloch Road on the north.

Westinghouse purchased the entire property but only developed and occupied a small part of it for its new World Headquarters building, shown here in an original architect’s model.  The rest was sold off to others for future development.

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To lead the way for the big move, a small contingent of facilities engineers and planners moved to Orlando in 1981.  Temporary operations were set up at a vacant strip mall at 1011 E. Colonial Drive and then larger quarters were secured and prepared at 6655 E. Colonial Avenue, at a vacant shopping center, for the new arrivals to temporally to call home as the World Headquarters building was being constructed.

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Dedication of the cornerstone for the new building took place in February, 1982.   Steam Turbine Generator Division General Manager, Dr. Stan Quick, led the ceremonies.  Power Generation Group Vice President Eugene Catabiani (seated just behind Dr. Quick in photo) was the special guest to dedicate the new building.

The cornerstone reads as follows:  CORNERSTONE OF SUCCESS:   MEET COMMITMENTS IN ACCORDANCE WITH REQUIREMENTS ON TIME, ALL THE TIME.  WORK TOGETHER AS A TEAM SYSTEMATICALLY.  ENCOURAGE AND SUPPORT ONE ANOTHER.  Westinghouse Steam Turbine Generator Division, February 14, 1982.

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This bumper sticker was popular among the early Westinghouse employees who were relocated from Pennsylvania to the new Power Generation World Headquarters in Orlando.

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View from circular drive at entrance to new building, known initially as The Quad and, later, as Quad I when other buildings (Quad II and III) were added to site. The Quad was ready for occupancy in 1983.

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View of rear of office space. Overhanging structures provided shade for offices located at windows facing west and looking out over Lake Ruth.   Those lucky enough to occupy those offices enjoyed beautiful sunsets.

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Internal view of new office space, showing open central atrium design, the scene of numerous “bell-ringers” when employees gathered for important announcements.

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Photo of Westinghouse Power Generation Business Unit Headquarters in 1993, ten years after it was first occupied. 

By 1987, two additional segments of the Power Generation Group, the Power Generation Service Division and the Combustion Turbine Systems Division, had also been relocated from Pennsylvania, so that all non-manufacturing operations of the Power Generation Business Unit were located in Orlando. 

In 1998, the PBGU was acquired by Siemens AG, of Germany, which in 2017 still occupies the greatly expanded site as a global leader in the supply of Power Generation equipment and services.

Westinghouse Power Generation in Orlando – the early days