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Former GE/Ericsson employees tour former workplace

October 2, 2012 : Liberty University News Service

Former employees of GE/Ericsson pose for a group photo with Liberty University Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr. in the LaHaye Student Union during a special tour of their former workplace on Thursday, Sept. 27.

About 100 former employees of GE/Ericsson visited campus on Thursday, Sept. 27, for a reunion that included a tour of the former Ericsson Complex, now home to Thomas Road Baptist Church and Liberty’s Green Hall.

Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr. greets former GE/Ericsson employees in the LaHaye Student Union.

The 113-acre, 888,000-square-foot facility was donated to Liberty and Thomas Road Baptist Church in 2003. It was formerly a manufacturing plant for cell phones and other telecommunications equipment.

Liberty has utilized the facility in a number of ways, including for administrative offices, Liberty University Online, the LaHaye Student Union, Tilley Student Center, and Tower Theater.

Paul Perrone, a former employee for GE/Ericsson’s engineering and marketing departments, said he and the other guests were “blown away with what has happened here on Liberty Mountain.”

“We were flabbergasted by the investment in the property that Liberty has made,” Perrone said. “The university is going out of their way to prepare students to be effective the day they walk out the door, and that is very impressive.”

The tour began at Thomas Road Baptist Church in the Main Street lobby, and wound its way past the playground at the church, where Ericsson’s field service department was located. It then passed the former employee dining hall (now the location of the Liberty Christian Academy cafeteria), and Room 1491, which served as the company’s human resources department.

After showing the guests Liberty’s executive offices, the tour moved upstairs to Liberty University Online and Resident Enrollment, the former site of GE/Ericsson’s engineering department, and Liberty’s Marketing and Military Affairs departments, which once house engineering laboratories.

The tour concluded at the 2-year-old Tower Theater, where Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr. addressed the group. The theater, which hosts all of Liberty’s mainstage productions, began life as a test facility for high-voltage generators using lightning strikes.

Falwell spoke on how the former Ericsson Complex allowed Liberty to grow and announced the campus transformation now under way.

Former employees of GE/Ericsson meet in Tower Theater, which used to be a high-voltage generator test facility.

Heath Kimmel, guest services coordinator at the Hancock Welcome Center, which organized the tour, said the event was a great opportunity for the former GE employees “to reminisce about where they used to work and to see how the building is currently being used by Liberty University to train young Champions for Christ.”

Terry Falwell, community liaison for the Welcome Center, said it was a privilege to show the guests how the building is being used.

“They were amazed with how well we kept the building and how clean it looked, and how they want to come back and see more of Liberty in the near future,” he said.