Aris Melisseratos, head of the state's largest manufacturing operation and one of the leaders of Maryland's business community, has been promoted to a top corporate job at the Westinghouse Electric Corp. that will take him to the defense and nuclear giant's Pittsburgh headquarters.
Mr. Melisseratos, a longtime Maryland resident who was general manager of Westinghouse's 15,000-worker design and manufacturing operations division in Linthicum, will become general manager for the 120,000-worker corporation's productivity and quality division at the end of the week.
Area business leaders said yesterday that while they were happy for the 47-year-old engineer, Maryland was losing an enthusiastic booster of the area's manufacturing sector and an important contributor to university research and education.
Mr. Melisseratos, a Romanian native whose family settled in Baltimore in the 1950s, "has been terrific for Baltimore and Maryland," said Tom Chmura, deputy director for the Greater Baltimore Committee.
Mr. Chmura said that Mr. Melisseratos helped create the state's new Foundation for Manufacturing Excellence, pushed Westinghouse to contribute thousands of dollars to area schools and recently started a project designed to help residents of the Cherry Hill neighborhood find jobs.
In addition, Mr. Chmura said that Mr. Melisseratos has helped the Westinghouse plant here escape severe job cuts during the recent round of defense cutbacks. Mr. Melisseratos was instrumental in developing non-defense business for his division, Mr. Chmura said. "He's been very far-sighted," he said.
Contacted in Pittsburgh yesterday, Mr. Melisseratos said he was sorry to leave Maryland just as the GBC and other business leaders have announced their hope of making the Baltimore region a leader in biotechnology businesses.
Mr. Melisseratos said that in the more than 25 years he has worked in Maryland factories he has noticed an "evolution . . . away from traditional blue-collar manufacturing" toward high technology.
Mr. Melisseratos, whose father once told him to learn a trade as a watch repairman in order to ensure himself of a living, received his bachelor's in electrical engineering, a master's in management engineering from George Washington University and has completed course work for a doctorate in international affairs at the Catholic University of America.