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In This Issue Mike Petters Discusses HII’s First Year Shipbuilders Protecting the Environment


Photo by John Whalen

NNS’ First Year After the Spin-off

A Publication of Newport News Shipbuilding

April 2012

Longtime second-shift employee Michael Brice watches the sun set across the shipyard almost every night. But it’s his job to make sure his co-workers never have to work in the dark. As a veteran of the shipyard’s electrical department, installing temporary lighting onboard Virginiaclass submarines is a big part of his job today.    “We provide electrical services for the trades, from lighting to welding equipment to power tools,” said the

46-year Master Shipbuilder. “They can’t do their jobs unless they get temporary service. All of the trades rely on electrical services. They can’t build a ship without them,” he said.

“I was drafted to go onto second shift for 90 days. And that 90 days lasted 40-plus years,” he said. “Once I got over here I enjoyed it so thoroughly that I never looked to leave.”

Brice has worked in the Electrical Dept. for most of his career, which got started in 1966, when he was just two weeks out of high school. He worked with the riggers for a while until he left to join the Army. When he got back, he moved into the Electrical Dept. and onto second shift, where he’s been ever since.

Over the course of his career, Brice has worked on all of the aircraft carriers since USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), including overhauls and refuelings, as well as roll on/roll off ships, sealift ships, liquid gas carriers, Virginia-class frigates and Los Angeles-class submarines. “I’m kind of fond of aircraft carriers,”

he admits. “I spent 30 some years on them. I’ve seen them come up from the keel block until they were commissioned. It’s quite an experience to know you took part from the very beginning to a ship’s launching.” Brice remembers building Vinson in Dry Dock 11. “We only had the 310-ton crane. Then we moved to the north yard and had Big Blue,” he said. “We could do super lifts of 900 tons at that time, which made the process a lot simpler. We were kind of like trendsetters when it came to

super lifts. It was great the way the trades were able to fit them together like a big puzzle.” After years onboard carriers, Brice has found that submarines offer him new challenges and experiences. Forty years ago, working outside in all kinds of weather and climbing, up and down and around a 1,000-foot ship was easier on his young body than it is today. Now, Brice says he enjoys the weather-free environment of the Module Outfitting Facility and the compact work area of a Virginiaclass submarine.

As Brice nears his 65th birthday, retirement draws closer. When it’s time to leave, Brice says he will miss his co-workers the most. But with nine grandchildren to spend time with, being retired is a heartening prospect. “I’m old now,” he laughs. “There’s a younger generation that’s going to take over and continue to build good ships.”

Master Shipbuilder Michael Brice checks for power at an electrical distribution box in the Module Outfitting Facility. Photo by Chris Oxley

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Shipbuilders Greener Future for a

This year, it’s estimated that one billion people around the globe will participate in Earth Day activities. Among them will be more than 100 shipbuilding volunteers who will participate in the annual Earth Day Park Clean-up at Christopher Newport Park on April 19. “In the last two years, NNS volunteers have picked up 3,700 pounds of trash and debris, spread 100 cubic yards of hardwood mulch and planted 10 trees at Christopher Newport Park,” said Environmental Engineer Erin Magee. “But that is just one day. All throughout the year, Environmental Engineering, Facilities and Waterfront Support, and approximately 120 employee volunteers manage a variety of initiatives and programs to build long term, sustainable and sound environmental practices for the shipyard.” Last year, NNS created 95,184 tons of solid waste – 86 percent of that waste was recycled. “Reusing is recycling,” says Facilities Planner Mark Sink. “In the grand scheme of things, we do not have much that is sent to the local landfill for disposal. We are also working on several ideas that will further reduce the waste that we send to the landfill.”  Year-round projects to create a greener shipyard include focusing on energy efficiency, waste reduction and recycling.

In 2011, shipyard recycling materials included: 15,750 ferrous and non-ferrous metals; 2,230 tons of concrete; 988 tons of cardboard and paper; 28 tons of newspapers, bottles and cans; 17 tons of batteries, 17 tons of tires, and seven tons of mercury light bulbs.

Since 2010, Facilities and Waterfront Support has replaced more than 50,000 lamps throughout the yard with more-efficient lamps that provide better light. The electrical savings exceed $500,000 per year. 

Installation of an air compressor master control system completed in 2011 optimizes the performance of eight large compressors and will reduce NNS’ electric bill by $140,000 annually.

A recent Chemical Waste Treatment Plant project to reduce water consumption will save 250,000 gallons of city water every year.

An ongoing leak minimization program for air, steam, and condensate systems prevents the waste of hundreds of thousands of gallons of fuel oil and saves more than $100,000 in electricity each year.

“I enjoy doing my part,” says Heather Shrieves, one of the shipyard’s employee volunteers who help to ensure materials in their work area are properly disposed of and recycled. “Caring for our planet takes commitment, planning and dedication. If every shipbuilder will remember to reduce, reuse and recycle materials in that order, we should have a greener shipyard and planet.”

CVN 78 Engineer Todd Smith hauls some of the 1,100 pounds of debris Newport News shipbuilders collected during the 2011 Earth Day Clean-up at Christopher Newport Park. Photo by Ricky Thompson

At the


of the Shipyard Twenty-five years ago when a sewage pipe backed up or a work area flooded, the Facilities Division relied on the first person who discovered the problem to call or alert them by two-way radio. Today, the highly-sophisticated operation that alerts Facilities to issues affecting critical systems across the 550-acre shipyard has evolved into “Base One.” Jim Albert, Michael Roberts, William Hiner III and Greg Merryman make up the four-man team that operates “Base One” in rotating, eight-hour

shifts to provide 24/7 coverage. Roberts, who has worked at “Base One” for 12 years, describes the operation as the “shipyard’s central nervous system.” This little-known operation at the center of the yard keeps an eye on critical levels, such as gas, sewage and water systems. The “Base One” team monitors all buildings in the shipyard and knows when tunnels, trenches and vaults are accessed. High-tech tools help them gauge temperatures, pressures and steam

levels across the yard. They are also alerted to fires and other situations that could potentially occur in the shipyard. “Managing and maintaining all of the systems in the yard is also critical to our overall focus of lowering costs,” said “Base One” Supervisor Willis Griffin. “When we locate a small issue early on, we can prevent it from becoming a larger problem or crisis.” At the center of the “Base One” operations is an enormous monitor, which has multiple screens that

allow the team to see the systems of numerous buildings and facility systems at once. Operators are immediately alerted on-screen when something goes wrong with any of the operation, maintenance or utility functions. In all, there are 5,000 alarm points in the yard linked to about 2,000 alarms. “As the monitoring process became more digitized, our systems expanded to house more alarms,” said Albert, who has worked more than half of his 40 years with the shipyard at “Base One”.

The systems at “Base One” are highly intuitive. For instance, if there is an issue with one of the ballast levels, the monitoring system can pinpoint the specific section on colorful digital charts displayed on the screen. The advancements in communication technologies have also allowed “Base One” operators to be more engaged with emergency personnel in the yard. They regularly work with Security and the Fire Dept. Fully committed to their work, “Base

One” operators display a strong sense of pride in the unique job they own. “When I walk through these gates and sit down at this desk for eight hours, I consider this MY shipyard,” Albert said. “When I leave the shipyard, I want it to be as good as or better than it was when I arrived.”

Powerhouse Operator Michael Roberts has an eagle-eye view of the shipyard’s critical systems that are monitored from the “Base One” operations room. Photo by Chris Oxley

A Highlights LEGEND. Reborn Of Newport News Shipbuilding’s first year as a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries




May 21 USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) moves from dry dock to Pier 3.

July 2 California (SSN 781) finishes successful sea trials.



2011 March 31 Newport News Shipbuilding becomes a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries. April 21 534 Master Shipbuilders honored at annual dinner.

Se Sh 22 Ha



May 29 CVN 79 named in honor of late President John F. Kennedy. May 19 Historic 945-ton superlift made on Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78). May 9 California (SSN 781) crew moves aboard. April 26 Ninth NNS-donated Habitat for Humanity home completed.

.Photo by Ricky Thompson

August 7 USS California delivered to the Navy eight and a half months early.

June 30 The Apprentice School celebrates 92nd anniversary.

May 20 Minnesota (SSN 783) keel laid.

April 27 Capt. Ambrose tugboat christened.

August 18 CVN 78 structure re 50 percent complete

July 29 USS Albany (SSN 753) redelivered to the U.S. Navy. August 6 “Always Good Ships” exhibit opens at Mariners’ Museum.

Septemb Construc Virginia-

November 11 Carrier Classic Trophy, designed and created by NNS, is presented to UNC Tar Heels.

eaches e mark.

eptember 9 hipbuilders donate 2,000 school supplies to ampton Roads students.

November 25 USS Enterprise (CVN 65) celebrates 50th anniversary.

September 24 NNS opens gates for Family Day.


October 6 Steel structure for new Supplemental Module Outfitting Facility (SMOF) completed.


February 4 Shore steam testing begins on CVN 71.

December 19 $13,500 and more than 28,000 pounds of food donated to VA Peninsula Foodbank.




March 31 CVN 78 structure reaches 75 percent complete mark.




September 12 825-ton superlift completes CVN 78 stern.

ber 2 ction begins on the 14th -class submarine, SSN 787.

November 8 NNS name returns to “Big Blue� gantry crane.

March 5 NNI awarded The Shaw Group contract for fabrication work.

December 30 NNS assumes maintenance services role at Kesselring.

November 15 NNS breaks ground on 10th Habitat for Humanity home.

February 24 NNS receives $383 million contract for USS Abraham Lincoln Refuelling and Complex Overhaul preparation.

Mike Petters shares thoughts on HII’s Anniversary Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) celebrated its one-year anniversary as an independent, publicly traded company on March 31. HII’s Corporate Communications interviewed President and CEO Mike Petters a few weeks before the milestone. HII: Can you characterize our first year as an independent company? Petters: I think it was a very successful year. We did a lot of things for the very first time in standing up a public company and creating the various functions that go along with that—financial, legal, our Washington office, those kinds of things. Not only did we stand them up, but we did very well with them. We did all the Securities and Exchange Commission filings we had to do, and we got through all of that with really no issues. And the last thing we will do for the first time is the annual shareholders meeting in May. After that, we’ll be doing most things for the second time, and I expect we’ll get even better. In many ways, we’ve been running this business now for four years—not just one—and I think a whole lot of work done over that entire four-year period began to reveal itself in 2011. We had high-quality deliveries from both shipyards—California, the best submarine ever delivered; San Diego, the best amphib delivered; William P. Lawrence, the best destroyer delivered. Those are the kinds of things that happened in 2011, but the work was done in the three to four years before. Those are the kinds of things in our business where you work over a sustained period of time to build a reputation that extends to the marketplace. I think we’re continuing to work through those kinds of things

and I’m very pleased with how we’ve done so far.

HII: You mentioned successes generally and specifically. What were some of the challenges? Petters: There’s probably a couple of different levels of challenges. Clearly, the budget environment that we find ourselves in is going to be a challenge for everyone in the next few years. We’ve done pretty well in that environment, but we will continue to keep working the issues and making our case. We have an advantage in that we are involved in products that have long life-cycles and require a long-term view. The challenge for us is that budget debates are typically more short-term and focused. The work we already have under contract is what we’re going to be focused on for the next three to five years. That’s what we’ll be measured by—how well we do that. We certainly are engaged in the budget discussion for 2013 this year and the 2014 budget debate next year. We have a lot of issues that we’re dealing with in the five- to 10-year period. And we’ll be working those very, very hard. But again, the work we have under contract is already here, and it will carry us in the next three to five years. So that’s the external piece of it. The internal piece: We have to continue to perform. The nuclear business—our challenge there will be making sure what we do is affordable, and I think there will be a lot more scrutiny about affordability over the next couple years than there may have been in the last decade.

Mike Petters, HII President and CEO

On the non-nuclear side of the business, we’re in competition. We had our first competition on the Gulf Coast in 2011—the first one in a decade. The bad news is we lost, but the good news is we competed. We have a chance to learn from that competition—to set targets for improving our performance so we can go and be competitive in the next round. It’s important for us to embrace competition as we go forward. HII: Let’s look at this year specifically, 2012. Petters: Well, this has the makings of a pretty exciting year. We have in our plan to deliver two more LPDs. We identified the LPD 22-25 ships as major elements of risk for the first couple of years as a public company. We’ve delivered one of those- LPD 22 and it’s a great ship. We’ve got two more to go this year. We also have in our plan the launch of America,

HII: What message would you communicate to employees in terms of what they can do on an individual basis to help HII reach its goals? Petters: Our overall philosophy is that we want to build value in this business. We talk about building value in three dimensions: our customers, our employees and our shareholders. We do that differently in each dimension, but all of them come together to create increasing value for this business. And the more valuable the business is, the more successful we can be.

LHA 6. Successfully executing those milestones, getting those ships delivered, will be an indication to our stakeholders—our customers, shareholders and employees—that the business continues to move ahead on track. Those milestones have special visibility, so we’ve got to make sure we get that right. As we retire those major elements of risk, we have new work that we’re starting up. We’re doing advanced work on CVN 79. We are getting ready for Block 4 of the Virginia Class Submarine program. We’ll be getting ready for the next refueling overhaul. We’ll be working to get to the next competition in the destroyers. New contracts on LPDs—LPD 26 and then ultimately we expect to have LPD 27 coming. Years and years ago, when I ran a little bit of cross country, my coach used to tell me that people always have energy left for the last 100 yards. But you actually determine your place in the race in the first half of the race. If you were running the mile, a four-lap race, the third lap was the one that mattered because

you would set your position for the fourth lap. On the fourth lap, you could see where you needed to be. You could catch that guy who was in front of you, or you’d know where the people were behind you. But on the third lap, it’s all about positioning. And if you took it easy on the third lap to save energy for the fourth lap, you’d have a bad race. If you push on the third lap to set yourself up for success on the fourth lap, you’d be successful. I think this year we’re in the third lap. We’ve got a lot of that kind of work to do. We’ve got to get good starts on all of the new contracts that we have on the Gulf Coast. We need to position CVN 79 for ultimately going to contract next year. And we’ve got to position the submarine program to go into Block 4 with success. Across the board, I think that’s the kind of year it’s going to be. People will be watching to see: Are we conserving energy for the sprint at the finish? Or are we actually pushing hard now to set ourselves up for success? And my ambition is that we will be pushing pretty good.

From an employee standpoint, investing the time in building the relationship between supervisors and their people, making sure the training is right, making sure the tools are right, making sure the schedules and the plans are effectively laid out—that’s not easy stuff. That requires a little bit of extra elbow grease from time to time to get that right. But if you get that right, you’re increasing the value of what you’re doing. And if you’re increasing the value of what you’re doing, then you are, by extension, increasing the value of our business together. That’s really the way we want to think about this: What are we doing today to increase the value of what I’m doing, to increase the value of this business? If we do that, we will make all of our stakeholders very, very happy. HII: Is there anything else you want to talk about, such as HII just celebrating its first anniversary? Petters: I’d like to extend congratulations to the entire team. You can’t have the kind of year we had without everybody pulling in the same direction. I’m really proud of that, and I really appreciate everyone’s effort. HII President and CEO Mike Petters tours the Module Outfitting Facility (MOF), where Virginiaclass submarines are built, with Superintendent Scott Whitmore. Photo by Ricky Thompson


Unbeatable Determination

On Marilyn Jones’ first day at Newport News Shipbuilding in 1981, a few of her male co-workers were taking bets on whether or not she’d last on the job six months, or even through lunch that day.

“There was no money for me to go to college,” she said. But a resolute Jones decided to ask for help from someone who could afford to send her to college – Henry Ford, grandson of the automobile icon.

They doubted Jones would make it as the first female academic instructor at The Apprentice School. Had these co-workers known just how determined she was to be a teacher, they would have never made those bets.

She sent her transcripts and a persuasive letter, but not looking for sympathy, never mentioned her father’s condition. And Ford sent a letter back saying he’d be pleased to send her to college. His only stipulation was that she stay on the dean’s list. He also suggested she teach public school for four years when she graduated.

For the next 11 years, Jones primarily taught mathematics and communications classes at The Apprentice School. She played an instrumental role in the preparation of a self-study report, a critical piece of The Apprentice School’s initial accreditation with the Council on Occupational Education Institutions in 1982. “I’ve always known I wanted to teach, since I was eight years old,” Jones said. But when she finished high school, her father, a World War II veteran, was dying of cancer.

She did both. After eight years in the public school system, she made her way to the shipyard. “I loved teaching at The Apprentice School,” noted Jones. And she would have stayed at The Apprentice School forever had the shipyard not “kidnapped me for the Seawolf project,” she said.

After four years with the Seawolf submarine program, she moved on to production engineering and then to central planning. But teaching was her first love and she was determined to get back to it. So, when she moved to Career and Professional Development, she felt at home again. Today, she develops training classes and teaches them, and coordinates with outside colleges to get the courses shipyard employees need. She even returned to The Apprentice School a few years ago as an adjunct faculty member and taught Production Planning. While Jones moved around the shipyard, she remained determined, even when the work day was done. For years she has worked as a volunteer and today she spends 20 hours a week helping in any way she can, a trait instilled by her father. She’s a familiar face at the veteran’s hospital. She’s volunteered with Relay for Life and raised money for the Red Cross, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and more through the Mariner’s Club. She’s logged

many hours volunteering with the Girl Scouts with her granddaughter. And she helps kids with math and reading during the summer. And for the soldiers overseas, “I write about 1,500 cards and letters a year and send packages,” she said. Jones remembered that when she had reached her six-month anniversary at The Apprentice School, the co-worker who lost the six-month bet held the door for her that afternoon when she left work. “He told me that nobody opens doors for you. You have to make it on your own.” And Jones, now a 30-year veteran of the shipyard, did just that. When Marilyn Jones is away from the office and not volunteering with one of the many charitable organizations she supports, she sends packages and writes 1,500 letters each year to soldiers overseas. Photo by Chris Oxley

Making a Difference:

TATOOing Success

Since its founding by Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS) engineers in the late 1980s, the Taking Action To Overcome Obstacles (TATOO) tutoring program has been helping area students prepare for statemandated math Standards of Learning (SOL) tests. The program matches shipbuilders with students from Newsome Park Elementary School and Huntington Middle School for a year-long mentorship. “Most of the students we tutor need additional help in math or did not pass their math SOL test,” said Cynthia Fox, TATOO volunteer

coordinator. “This program is a great opportunity to provide these students with additional one-on-one mentoring time.” Daniell Tincher, mechanical engineer, has been a TATOO volunteer for one year. “Working with students to develop math skills is a great way to help them be successful. I volunteer because watching a student experience that ‘Ah-Ha!’ moment is a great and rewarding thing to see.” Fox agreed there are many rewards. “This program has taught me never to give up on a student regardless of

the circumstances. I have learned that if you encourage them and let them know they can learn anything if they put their mind to it, the student can and will be successful.” TATOO is always seeking volunteers. NNS Shipbuilders interested in becoming a mentor should contact program coordinators: Cynthia Fox at (757) 380-4689 or Denise Martin at (757) 688-5575.

Shipbuilder Cynthia Fox coaches students in the Taking Action To Overcome Obstacles (TATOO) tutoring program at Newsome Park Elementary School. Photo by Chris Oxley

Yardlines is published 10 times a year for the employees of Newport News Shipbuilding. This issue of Yardlines was produced by: Jeremy Bustin, Gina Chew-Holman, Troy Cooper, Mike Dillard, Christie Miller, Eugene Phillips, LaMar Smith, Peter Stern and Lauren Ward. Additional writing services by Barlow Communications. Photographs by: Chris Oxley, Ricky Thompson and John Whalen Send comments, questions and story ideas to Yardlines editor: or call 757·380·2627. Look for more news at HIIndustries

Huntington Ingalls Industries

Huntington Ingalls



Robert Ames 40 years

Mark Carli 40 years

Robert Copeland 40 years

Jessie Cowden 40 years

Sandra Davis 40 years

Al Dent 45 years

Bob Griffin 40 years

Ed Holtzclaw 40 years

A.J. Johnson 40 years

D.J. Jordan 40 years

Sam Jordan 40 years

L.D. Joyner 55 years

Walter Kelly 40 years

David Lockett Jr. 40 years

Rabbit Parker 40 years

Ronald Parker 40 years

Rich Richards 45 years

Dennis Russ 40 years

Jessie P. Cowden X42 Saundra W. Davis O53 Russell R. Dennis X42 Robert D. Griffin X58 William E. Holtzclaw X42 Arnold Johnson X36 Allen T. Jordan O43 David G. Jordan X36 Samuel Jordan O43 Walter S. Kelley X31 Lloyd H. Knight X36 David W. Lockett Jr. O43

Archie Parker X33 Ronald S. Parker X88 Spencer T. Slade Jr. O53 Herbert Taylor X33 Effie L. Whitehead O51 Jimmy R. Williams X33

Burle J. Daniel O54 Althen L. Doctor X18 Tony M. Fowler X10 Shelby C. Gibson M20 John K. Goffigan Jr. X36 Glenn A. Hedgepeth X10 Dallas W. Jenkins Jr. X42 Russell A. Johnson Jr. X18 Herman J. Kramer III X84 Paul T. Layne X31 Lavern D. Listol II T53 Karen G. McCormick X88

Ronald S. Mihilasky X15 Russell R. Minter O19 Edward A. Olszak O39 Welton D. Paxton X33 Reginald L. Perry O43 Donald W. Rhodes E81 Deborah Y. Sapp O58 Scott A. Smith III X18 Marion D. Sykes X71 Harald E. Weber X36 Noah P. Wiggins Sr. O53 Geoffrey Wilson O39

25 Years Michael L. Carpenter X32 Cesar M. Castro Jr. O68 Thomas M. Milteer X71 Glenn E. Robertson E85 Robert E. Stumm E47 Jerry D. Tice E84 Joseph A. Tillett E84

Herbert Taylor 40 years

55 Years Lloyd D. Joyner X54 45 Years Alvester D. Dent O53 Joe M. Eure X33 Lee E. Richards X36 40 Years Robert B. Ames X18 Mark A. Carli X76 Robert L. Copeland X42

35 Years Ida M. Alston X11 Regina Y. Blackwell X11 Janet E. Bland X89 Angelina Chale O43

20 Years Obadiah E. Claud E51

Retirements february James R. Blotter X36 Gary V. Coakley O51 James M. Cofer M53 Jerry L. Costello X87

Annette D. Eley X33 Stanley L. Gatling X15 Wayne D. Green M53 Samuel C. Hall X67

Jack A. Harris O43 Edwin D. Heath Jr. E27 Ernest J. Holmes Jr. X18 Jessie Jordan X33

Richard H. Miller E49 Kenneth R. Overman X88 Clarence E. Raynor X36 Charles W. Reynolds X36

Leroy Roach Jr. O53 Michael G. Scammon E82 Otis M. Thomas X32 Cecil H. Winkles Jr. O46



4101 Washington Ave. Newport News, VA 23607


April 2012

MAY 19

Race starts 9:00 a.m.

Run or walk five kilometers along Newport News shipyard with co-workers and family... and maybe win The Challenge Cup. Learn more and register at

Yardlines, April 2012  
Yardlines, April 2012  

Yardlines is a monthly magazine published ten times per year featuring Newport News shipbuilders and major events at the shipyard.