President’s Letter – Oct 2013
Soon, I will be turning over the helm as President of the Puget Sound Ship Repair Association. Before I do, I thought I would leave you with some comments.
These past two years have been an incredible experience for me as the President of PSSRA. When I accepted the nomination, I must admit that I was nervous and had many doubts. Those who had served in this position prior to me are to a person extraordinary professionals, great minds and industry leaders. Compared to them, I felt sort of like a consolation prize.
That being said, I can honestly say that I was never lacking for their guidance and support. The fellowship and trust that has developed amongst your board of directors is unlike anything I have ever experienced and is without question the major reason our association had flourished when others have struggled.
Looking back at the past couple of years, I am pleased to report that good things are happening out there!
Our association has assumed a leadership role in the Northwest, stepping in whenever we see things unfolding that could harm or threaten our industry. We have a strong relationship with the Navy and with Congressman Kilmer’s office. Both relationships allow us the opportunity to be heard and see that our needs and concerns are understood and acted upon.
We have been recognized in national forums both at the Fleet Maintenance and Modernization Symposium and at the National Ship Repair Industry Conference. Through participation in these events, we have strengthened our visibility and presence with navy and Congressional leaders. The PSSRA is on their maps and our industry needs are being heard and acted upon.
Locally, we have built upon a strong relationship with the Northwest Regional Maintenance Center. We have seen real effort from them to improve the information exchange between the Navy and our industry. We continue to work with them on refining and improving workload forecast models and the quality of the data we are getting from them. We are now working with them to better define industry capacities and capabilities which will allow them to take a deeper look at other workload opportunities outside of conventional swim lanes.
Our involvement with the regional government QA and ESH staffs has been important in seeing to it that our member companies are kept up to date on recent changes within these programs, and in working together to solve performance deficiencies when needed.
We have been involved in numerous workforce development studies at both the local and national level. On a national stage, we have met with the other SRAs in Industry Day events to discuss this vital subject. Members of our board have met twice with WA. Senator Christina Rolfes and local educators to discuss industry training needs. We have also met with Edmonds Community College to tour their marine trade’s academy and talked with the students to encourage them to enter our industry.
Thorough our efforts, we have gotten the Navy to focus on the need to replace the decommissioning FFGs and have been told that replacement DDGs will be sent to Everett.
Despite the down economy, our membership has continued to grow. We are welcoming new members every month and with each new member the strength of our association increases.
Although this is all positive, and we have made great progress on addressing industry issues, much work remains.
Recent law has placed us on a dangerous glide slope. Navy maintenance dollars, the life blood of our industry are being reduced. Sequestration is forcing massive cuts to defense budgets.
For the foreseeable future, budgets will be strained, and there will be no escaping the impact of these cuts in our own port.
In the face of these challenges, our united presence is critical to making our voices heard and our needs relevant.
When we meet with Navy and Government officials we do so as a tightly woven fabric of member companies which not only gains us access to these important decision makers, but give us significance, and helps to shape outcomes more positively in our favor. There really is strength in numbers. In the months and years ahead, we must continue to support each other and band together in order to assure our concerns are addressed.
We need to remain focused on the workload challenges ahead. We have a tremendous gap in carrier work coming as well as the decommissioning of the FFGs based in Everett. Although replacement DDGs have been promised, the timing of the replacement ships remains a concern as it could cause additional workload gaps. We must explore nontraditional work opportunities and keep the dialogue open with the Navy on what our capabilities and capacities are in order to better serve their needs. There is open space there for us to explore new support roles.
In closing I want to offer a big and sincere thank you to my fellow board members. In particular to Mark Kipps who has assisted me in more ways than I can express and has been my side kick during many of the meetings and events we attended. I would also like to thank Carla Newell for her support as our Secretary and for all she does to set up the general membership meetings and her efforts to recruit new members; and Ehrich Steinmetz for serving as Treasurer for the past two years.
A special thank you goes out to Elizabeth Stege our Administrative assistant and web site developer and to Jack Edwards of the Baymont Inn and Suites for his monthly efforts to support our meetings.
It has been an honor to serve as your president. I have grown a lot in the past two years and am without question better for the experience. I will continue to serve on the board and look forward to supporting you all in the future.