MMA Members Meet at The Hiller Companies Corporate Office – January 25-26, 2016

MMA Members
AustalUSA and Horizon Shipbuilding
Mobile, Alabama
January 25-26, 2016


January 25, 2016


1700-Members met at The Hiller Companies Corporate Office at 3751 Joy Springs Drive
Mobile, Alabama.


Members in attendance are as follows: John Rhatigan, Marine Machinery Association; Jim Stouch, Precision Custom Components; Dave Douglas, Howell Labs; Scott Dutton, L-3 Maritime Systems; Steve Misun, Fairlead Integrated Power & Controls; Susan McPhee, Jorgensen Forge Corp.; Aaron Keller, Ellwood National Forge; Shea Nimocks, Appleton Marine, Inc.; Brion Sabbatino, Bogue Systems; Paul Trenholm, Derbyshire Machine & Tool Co. ; Patrick Garrett, Hydrasearch Co. Inc.; Rick Giannini, Milwaukee Valve; Mark Haller, Tri-Tec Mfg; Elias Rizk, Milwaukee Valve; Bill Berger, Ward Leonard CT LLC; Steven Braun, BNL; Kevin Cantrell, AT&F; Ken Ripich, AT&F; Bernie McCamish, ATC; Robert Hess, Jo-Kell; Mickey Fedorko, ParMarine/Jered LLC; Chuck Money, Aqua-Chem.


Also in attendance was a large contingent of the AustalUSA procurement team headed up by Dan May (Subcontracts) and Lara Sherer (Small business Liaison) and local dignitaries.  Some notable attendees included Joe Comer, SNAME President, The Gulf Region ABS representatives, and representatives from the City of Mobile.


A presentation on the current status of AustalUSA was given by Dan May. Dan gave a great presentation on the history of AustalUSA from 2010 to present day.  A presentation showing how the yard has modernized was very impressive.  For example their office complex now boasts a 500 person auditorium.  To put this in perspective, the last time I was at AustalUSA the purchasing personnel were working out of a double-wide trailer.  AustalUSA only builds ships for the US Navy.  Its two major programs are the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) and the Expeditionary Fast Transport designated the Expeditionary Platform Fast (EPF) formerly called the Joint High Speed Vessel.  Dan mentioned that the LCS program has been in the news a lot lately (mostly due to the other version) but that they fully expect the LCS to merge into the new Frigate version and expect the ship to be built for years to come.  When asked what new changes were to be expected on the new Frigate, Dan stated that he expected more weapons and possibly some new mission modules.


Next up were speeches by John Cocke, VP of Sales and Marketing and Patrick Lynch, CEO from The Hiller Companies.  John gave a great speech on the history of Hiller which started in 1919 and has expanded to be one of the leaders in the fire protection industry.  Patrick talked about the new product lines and the commercial aspects of the company.  The Hiller Companies have branch locations that stretch from Massachusetts, Virginia, South Carolina, Florida, Louisiana, and Texas.  Take a look at their website when you get a chance, it is impressive.


After a factory tour explaining the Hiller water mist system the association sat down to a working dinner with locally inspired Seafood buffet.


The Meeting adjourned at approximately 2015.


January 26



Members took a bus to the AIDT Maritime Training Center to meet with representatives from Horizon Shipbuilding.  In attendance from Horizon were Travis Short CEO, Lance Lemcool Project Manager and Jason Hinkofer IT Manager.


Travis gave a speech on the History of Horizon.  Horizon builds repair ships, boats and barges out of steel, aluminum, fiberglass and wood.   Most of their customers are in the commercial sector and they top out at around 300 feet in length and 1500 tons. Travis mentioned how five years ago he was getting frustrated that his business was not making progress even though they invested heavily in new equipment and training. His team invented a new software package called Gordhead.  Its motto is “Meet your company’s new brain”.  It is a basically a social media package for project management.  Travis stated his costs have decreased over 20 percent and his production rate has improved over 25 percent since using the package.


Lance then gave an explanation on how Gordhead worked.  Anyone who has ever been on the shop floor and experienced the same mistakes time and time again would appreciate their methodology.  Modern day thinking coming to shipbuilding.



Members took the bus to AustalUSA for a tour of shipyard.  We were greeted by Michelle Bowden, Manager, Media and Marketing from AustalUSA who was our main escort and tour guide.  Michelle walked us through their biggest fabrication shop where the aluminum modules start production.


We then boarded the bus for a driving tour of the remainder of the shipyard.  After the driving tour we proceeded to one of the outfitting piers where we got to walk around and view a new LCS and EPF from the pier.  A group photo will be attached.



Members then took the bus back to the Admiral Hotel for a working lunch.



Meeting was adjourned.


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