The Confederation of Stars is host to several multi-world corporate entities. These companies are the core of the Confederation economy and are well known. C.Moran Interstellar, Knuteria Warwerks, and Y-13 are almost interstellar powers unto themselves, but they all pale in comparison to the juggernaut that is Jordan Westron.
Jordan Westron Heavy Industries (JWHI - Siegenthal Industrial Index) was founded more than four hundred years ago by Jordan West, a young woman with a mind for mining. She was deeply involved in geological exploration, particularly in marginal to unihabitable worlds in globular clusters and stellar dust fields. This led her to the hellish world of Kimberly IV. With a 6x Terran standard density sulfuro-CO2 atmosphere and temperatures well below human tolerances, Kimberly IV was considered worthless for colonization. The storms and hideous atmospheric conditions hid a fortune of germanium. This strategic metal is vital for building faster than light starships. The planet was also rich in precious metals and heavy metals. Basic exploration quickly led to exploitation of the mineral wealth of the planet. West made a fortune in this game as her claims were on top of the best deposits and ore loads.
This started the colonization of Kimberly IV, and the foundation of West-Kimberly Mining. WKM ran for two generations, with control of the company being passed to West's daughter, and then to her granddaughter. The colony had a population of just under a million when a ludicrously wealthy Jordan passed away at the advanced age of 114 years. As the rest of the Carinelle Cluster was being explored, the Kimberly colony continued to grow and prosper. The mining companies had to biosphere to worry about, and could work at maximum efficiency, and once mass drivers and refineries were in place, it was nothing but caviar dreams and luxury... for the owners and investors. Living conditions on the planet were poor, but the camps run by WKM were the best and when the miners started revolting, WKM retained order and control over its holdings. After the various other mining interests retreated offworld or simply collapsed, the temporary governing of the colony fell to WKM.
The next two hundred years are well known history. The Carinelle Cluster, rich in resources, was heavily taxed by Terran interests until the cluster banded together under the aegis of the Confederation of Stars. Kimberly IV, along with LaCrosse and Knuteria were the three initial founding worlds, but by the end of the colonial era more than 34 worlds joined the Confederation. With expansions into heavy industry to replace equipment no longer being sent from Earth, WKM evolved into a multi-interest company. Mining remains its most lucrative business, but it is heavily invested in manufacturing, including war materiel, industrial equipment, and special building materials. Without access to Terran shipyards, the company started building ships on the planet and assembling them in orbit. With ample supplies of know-how, and raw materials, WKM evolved into Jordan Westron Heavy Industries.
The face of JWHI is always well represented by the company's large PR department. The company is the largest producer of military equipment in the Confederation and it is the largest employer of private military companies and security contractors as well. This is not obvious in the public eye, as it is better known for producing water purification equipment, and building things like power plants, spaceports, and sitting atop a pyramid of supporting companies that make everything from holovision sets, to rescue equipment.
Guns and Steel
While JWHI provides many vital goods and services across the Carinelle Cluster, it is an undeniable fact that the company is most vital in its role as a producer of military grade equipment. The most visible of the weapons produced by JWHI are battle mechs. These machines are invaluable in fighting on the hostile enviroments that are the norm across the cluster, ranging from dense toxic planets, to airless asteroids. In recent years, the company has been seen to loose some of its edge. Smaller companies are now producing what are considered the most cutting edge of designs, such as Moonscar Battlemechs and Blackwater Mechwerks. These companies are much smaller, and unlike JWHI a single bad design or incident can make or more easily break their companies.
Financial planners and military logisticians have made several observations. Mechs and tanks produced by JWHI might not be as flashy and dazzling as the new cutting edge machines being put out by the new small companies, but those flash and dazzle machines are proving to have short production and deployment lifespans. Some JWHI mechs, such as the venerable ATS-99 Atomos, have been in service and are planned to remain in service for decades. With the last Atomos rolling off the assembly line 76 years ago, the assault mech with its twin heavy particle cannons and slab sided armor is expected to remain in service in secondary roles for another forty to fifty years. In comparison, Moonscar's GN-777 Genesis Assault mech has been in service for less than ten years and is planned to be decommisioned and replaced within the next ten years. What JWHI makes might not be visually stunning, but it will last forever and is generally known for being easy to maintain and repair. Atomos cround crews claim that you can knock an Atomos down, but you cant keep it down.
After being the leading producer of war and industrial mecha, JWHI also produces a large number of combat vehicles, notables being the war tried and true Jackson railgun tank, the Hammerhead Missile tank, and the Guttersnipe, an IFV with a turret mounted light particle cannon.
Many people want to find the chinks in the giant's armor, how could something as big as Jordan Westron not have any weaknesses? It is usually a political game, the strawman arguement. Jordan Westron is hindered by its greatest strength, its size. Spanning a dozen worlds and employing hundreds of thousands of people, operating a thousand factories, mines, and habitats there are cities devoted to sorting our beaurocratic procedure and red tape. Espianoge and sabotage are the most common threats faced by the company, and like most world and interstellar powers, JWHI has an internal security and intellegence department.
Internal Security and Intelligence
The letters ISI are generally enough to get even honest men sweating under the collar. The ISI is the ruthless semi-secret police and investigators for the Jordan Westron company. Like a traditional intelligence agency, it is divided into the black hat and suits type of agents and the they could be anyone type of suits. It is constantly denied, but there are rumors that ISI agents are actively involved in clandestine operations infiltraiting other companies, both those inside the Carinelle Cluster and in other stellar powers.
Kimberly Interstellar is the starship branch of JWHI. KI principally builds mining ships, merchant and cargo ships, and special one off ships such as search and rescue, and special case mining operations. These ships are assembled on the surface of Kimberly IV and thrown into space with mass drivers where they are assembled in orbit. Since the ships aren't washed after beign assembled, they are very recognizable by the sulfer oxides and such on their outer hulls. This color is frequently called Kimberly orange.
(seriously, why are Klingon ships all green, this is my answer, all KI ships are a ruddy brownish-orange)
KI is contracted to build military ships as well. The biggest ships used by the Confederation, the battleships and super-carriers are built by KI. Launched one every three to five years, these behemoths are the naval might for which the Confederation is feared. The only stellar powers that can match or surpass the shipwrights of the Carinelle cluster are the ship builders of the Sol system, principally Mars and Titan. The other stellar powers can match numbers of ships, but only the Terran Hegemony can match tonnage.
At the Feet of The Giant
Jordan Westron doesn't make everything, they just make most of the big stuff. There are hundreds of companies that exist for the sole purpose of providing sub-assembled parts and goods to Westron factories. This can range from vending machines for factory and assembly worlds to sub assembling instrument clusters for construction mechs, to the biggest piece of the pie, weapons. Westron builds almost no weapons of their own, instead their weapons systems are sub-contracted to smaller companies. Nine companies provide electronics systems, fourteen provide small and medium lasers, three provide particle cannons, and so on and so on.
Jordan Westron Heavy Industries has existed since approximately 2001, the company was named after a porn actress and functioned as my in house Mech production company. As years passed and my experience with industrial occupations and manufacturing grew so did JWHI, going well beyond the crapshot factories of Battletech. Instead of being hand built like exotic sports cars and then performing like dump trucks, Westron mechs are built on assembly lines, like dump trucks, and still handle like dump trucks. It is a massive company on par with real world contemporaries such as GM. The biggest difference between the real world companies and JWHI is that Westron exists in a fantastic setting without enviromental concerns (how do you ruin an airless moon?) with a staggering economy.