2021 - Press Release Archives
GROTON, Conn. (September 10, 2021) - Electric Boat hosted the sponsor of the IDAHO (SSN 799) at the Quonset Point site. Ship’s Sponsor Teresa Stackley, former SECNAV Sean Stackley, and former governor of Idaho and head of the Idaho Commissioning Committee Dirk Kempthorne were given a tour of the 2B-5 Super Module, along with the Commanding Officer and Executive officer of the Idaho’s pre-commissioning crew. The guests were extremely grateful for the opportunity to see the future Idaho and amazed at the progress EB has made since its keel laying ceremony just last August, and expressed how proud they are of the remarkable workmanship our shipbuilders have shown with the construction of the Idaho.
Following the tour, there was a picnic held at the Admiral Fife Navy Recreation Area for the Idaho pre-commissioning crew and their guests. Governor Kempthorne described Idaho as a special submarine due to its direct ties to the state of Idaho, which is usually not a well-known fact. Kempthorne explained that Idaho had several links to submarine research and development. Lake Pend Oreille has been a site for acoustic development sound studies. The Naval Reactors Facility in Idaho Falls developed the first generation submarine reactor prototype which was improved upon before being used in the USS Nautilus, the world’s first nuclear powered submarine. Mrs. Stackley, whose father worked as an engineer at Electric Boat, spoke to the future crew and assured them that they are appreciated, respected, and supported by all of us when it comes time to board the Idaho for the first time and depart, leaving their friends and families far from our shores for months at a time, and that it is her honor and privilege to be on this journey with them.
After their remarks, the officers and crew presented Governor Kempthorne with an American flag that was the first flown from one of Idaho’s modules in the Groton Shipyard. Mrs. Stackley was presented with a framed print of the first rendering of the submarine Idaho against a map of the Thames River and Long Island Sound.
GROTON, Conn. (September 01, 2021) - Electric Boat held a keel laying ceremony for the 28th ship of the Virginia class, the submarine Utah (SSN 801), at Quonset Point. EB senior staff, including President Kevin Graney and Vice President for QP Operations Sean Davies, joined Navy leadership, EB employees, and members of the Utah commissioning committee to mark this important construction milestone.
Utah will be the second Navy vessel named after the “Beehive State,” the first being a Florida-class battleship (BB-31) commissioned in 1911. BB-31 served during the Mexican Revolution, World War I, and provided a covering force for Allied convoys near Britain in 1918.
The battleship met its fate during the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 where it was moored as an anti-aircraft gunnery training ship. “The six torpedoes used on Utah could have potentially destroyed a third or fourth battleship, further crippling US naval power in the Pacific and changing the course of the war,” said Graney. “Today the hull of Utah remains at Pearl Harbor as a memorial to the 58 officers and crew who lost their lives that day. May the spirit of those brave souls guide the future crew of the second USS Utah, whose keel-laying today celebrates the ceremonial birth of the ship. In the days of wooden ships, the start of construction was marked by the laying of the first timber – the backbone of the vessel.” Graney explained how this tradition has been modified to reflect current manufacturing methods and the cylindrical shape of modern submarines, also noting that the bottom centerline of these ships is referred to as the keel.
Ship Sponsor, Ms. Kate Mabus, delivered her remarks and expressed her dedication to the future crew of the Utah. “This Utah will be a fitting tribute to those who served on the original USS Utah. I recognize the responsibility I have as sponsor to be a part of this submarines life. I am immensely excited to meet the sailors that will serve on the Utah, and the Captain who will command her. As a plank owner and honorary member of the first crew, I will be connected with the Utah for the decades she serves in the fleet. As we lay the keel today, I also want to celebrate the amazing ship builders here at Electric Boat as well as those at Huntington Ingalls in Newport News, Virginia who are building the other parts.”
Steven Tavares, an X-Ray welder in D921 was selected to weld the sponsor’s initials on the keel plate that will permanently be installed in the Utah. Tavares joined EB in 2013 as an entry level welder in D915 after working in the concrete/masonry industry for 11 years. He was selected for his high weld acceptance rate, as well as the quality and complexity of the welds he performs.
After verifying her initials on the plate that will be installed in the Utah for the entire service life of the boat, Ms. Mabus concluded the event with the declaration, “I declare this keel to be well and truly laid.”
GROTON, Conn. (August 19, 2021) - Congratulations to the Newest Planning Pipeline Program Graduates
The Workforce Development organization and Planning organization partnered to implement a new program to prepare Planners to join the Electric Boat Planning Organization. This program was developed to assist the Planning Organization’s efforts in improving the onboarding process and time to proficiency. This new program expands the offerings of EB’s Pipeline Programs.
The new Planning program targets the following skills: Financial Accounting, Managerial Accounting, Operations Management, Public Speaking, Intro to Software Applications, Intro to Programming, Principles of Macroeconomics, Composition, Technical Writing, Blueprint Reading and Safety in the Workplace.
The third cohort of the Planning Pipeline program graduated on August 6 in an in-person ceremony. Photographed above are the seven students who graduated from the program--three (3) Engineering Planners and four (4) Advance Planners. These seven employees will begin their EB careers working for Gary Kaiser and Wayne Hamler on August 17, 2021.
“Since its inception, the pipeline has produced planners who have the foundational knowledge to be contributing team members from the day they report. The attitude of the graduates have been great and they are eager to become shipbuilders who deliver the advantage that protects our Sailors, our Families, and our freedom,” said Greg Wong, Director of Planning.
The participants in the pipeline were appointed a final capstone project to work on before the completion of the program. The group was tasked to develop Design/Engineering and Construction schedules to support a fictitious contracting company called Elegant Buildings. Students were asked to incorporate Design and Engineering hold-ups into their timelines. In their presentations they explained the baseline, live, and actual engineering schedules by discipline. They created Gantt charts and identified the critical and controlling paths in their construction schedules.
The program is currently offered by Three Rivers Community College at Ella Grasso Technical High School in Groton, CT. This intensive, work-based classroom training program is eight weeks long. The classes are 6-1/2 hours per day, five days per week. The program is currently run second shift from 3:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
The Pipeline Program team consists of the following employees: Greg Wong – Director of Planning, Jim Algiere – Team Lead, Anne Schmidt – Planning, Heather Pryzgoda – Planning, Megan Donovan – Planning, Jesse Monsam – Planning, Don Mellon – Planning, Leighann Labrie – Planning, Damon Brecheen – Planning, Giana DiCarlo – Workforce Development, Nancy Martin – Workforce Development
GROTON, Conn. (August 17, 2021) - The Electric Boat Employees' Community Services Association (EBECSA) held a 'Day of Caring' event at Mohegan Sun. In just a 2-hour period, 41 volunteers were able to collect 40,201 pounds of food and other household items left over from the C&S Food Show that took place earlier in the day at the casino. Thanks to all who participated; the food and items collected that would have been thrown away were instead packed up, loaded on pallets, and taken to the Gemma E. Moran United Way/Labor Food Center to be distributed to those in need.
A sincere thank you to the EB volunteers and their family members, United Way staff, and all guests who showed up and helped make this food collection an incredible success: Adam Burrill, Alexander Burrill, Andy Checchia, Danielle Cortina, Peter Crizer, Robert DeMello, Sandy DeMello, Kim Deschamps, Jaelyn Deschamps, Ken Fontaine, N.L. Gray, Holly Gubanc, Pam Harvey, James Henderson, Katherine Henderson, Amy Houser, Carter Houser, Emma Houser, Michael Houser, John Jones, Lynn Kanyock, Katie Kietzman, Brad Lamphere, William Louis, Lou Manfredi, Johnice McCoy, Don Miller, Stephanie Miller, Melissa Neill, Robert Neill, Jim Newman, Erin Pedone, Mary Pine, Kathryn Pruett, Phil Pruett, Jim Sammons, Avo Siismets, Devon Slavic, Karina Whitaker, Chizuko Williamson, Jen Wessell, and Zeke Wessell.
This same week, on Thursday, August 12, Electric Boat, along with Bill Louis and the MDA-UAW Local 571, were honored at the United Way Community Celebration, also held at Mohegan Sun. This celebration is aimed at honoring outstanding achievements in community engagement, fundraising, and program impact over the past year.
The 'Gemma Moran Live United Award for Inspiration' was presented to Bill Louis and the MDA-UAW Local 571 for their collective community engagement, which includes sponsoring multiple United Way programs, events, and volunteering opportunities.
The 'Live United Award of Excellence' was given to General Dynamics Electric Boat and the Electric Boat Employees' Community Services Association, both supportive partners of United Way and the entire southeastern Connecticut community. Despite not being able to run a traditional campaign last year due to COVID, Electric Boat had an increase in giving and provided a very generous corporate gift. EB and EBESCA's engagement extends way beyond traditional fundraising, also including food, turkey, and toy drives, volunteering at food centers, helping with mobile pantry distributions, as well as organizing multiple 'Day of Caring' events throughout the year. These engagement activities affect the lives of so many people in need and the nonprofit world, and this award goes to show that these efforts were appreciated and recognized by so many.
GROTON, Conn. (August 06, 2021) - EB President Kevin Graney regularly communicates to the nearly 18,000 employees of the company via weekly podcast. Topics range from marking key construction milestones to discussions with other EB Leaders about organization goals and initaitves. A recent podcast featured EB physicians Doctor Susan Andrews and Dr. Robert Hurley, who explained how COVID vaccines work and why they are an effective tool in controlling the virus in the workplace.
On today's podcast I'm speaking with our EB physicians Doc Andrews and Doc Hurley. Thank you both for joining the podcast. As physicians, you have been on the front lines managing this pandemic. You are resources we've grown to trust for the simple truths on getting through this.
There's been a lot of confusion in the last couple of weeks with the spread of the delta variant of COVID. In my podcast on Monday I emphasized the importance of vaccines in controlling this pandemic. Some people are hesitating to get vaccinated because they think the vaccines were developed quickly and are, therefore, experimental. The technology behind the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines is new, but not unknown. Let's talk about that as well as the technology behind the J&J viral vector vaccine.
Dr. Andrews: There is a lot of material on the CDC and the public health websites explaining how the vaccines work, sometimes I'd say there's even too much material. So I will try to simplify the information. Let's start with the mRNA vaccines that teach our cells how to make proteins that trigger an immune response inside our bodies. This immune response produces antibodies which are the items that actually protect us from getting infected if the real virus enters our bodies.
The mRNA vaccines trigger our cells to produce a harmless protein, called the spike protein. The spike protein is also located on the surface of the COVID virus. Our cells display the spike protein, then our immune response recognizes that the protein does not belong there and begins building an immune response with antibodies. In this way we have taught our cells to identify and fight the COVID virus.
Alternatively, vector vaccines like the J&J vaccine contain a modified version of a different virus than COVID-19. Inside the shell of the modified version is a piece of material from COVID-19. This unit is called the viral vector. Once the viral vector is inside our cells (and I mean that to be not the COVID-19 virus), then our cells make copies of the unique protein. Our T and B lymphocytes will remember this unique protein and fight it if we are infected in the future.
The biggest difference in the two vaccines is the first stage of the immune response. One relies on mRNA while the other relies on a vector to start the process of building spike proteins that will trigger our immune system to produce antibodies that ultimately recognize if COVID-19 enters our body. It is also important to remember that just because the vaccines were developed fast, no steps were skipped in the process of making them.
Thanks Doc Andrews, appreciate that explanation. The media has been focusing on breakthrough infections among the vaccinated with this delta variant of COVID. How rare are breakthrough infections, and when they do occur, how sick do people get, generally?
Dr. Hurley: A breakthrough case means that someone who has been fully vaccinated and has waited two weeks to develop full immunity still contracts COVID-19. Breakthrough infections are actually expected. While the vaccines have proven highly effective against the virus, even for new variants like the delta, they do not offer perfect protection. That's one of the reasons why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week revised its guidance and recommended that in places with high rates of transmission such as Oklahoma, even vaccinated people should wear masks in public indoor settings.
The good news is that vaccines have been found to be extremely good at preventing serious illness and death. Of those hospitalized with the virus, more than 97% are the unvaccinated. The CDC estimates that for every 102,000 vaccinated individuals, only 100 end up hospitalized, and only one will die. While those numbers are not perfect, they are very, very good.
If vaccinated people come down with infections, the vast majority will be asymptomatic or mild. Nonetheless, they may still be able to spread the virus to others before their immune system, which has been primed by the vaccine, stamps it out. Preliminary data suggest that when people do get breakthrough infections, they carry a high amount of the virus for at least one week.
As with the original strain of the coronavirus, dose seems to matter with the delta variant. The higher the load of viral exposure—think of a brief masked encounter versus spending hours and hours unmasked in a room with an infected person—with the high viral exposures, the more likely immune defenses will become overwhelmed and result in a symptomatic or serious infection.
Currently the data shows that with 163 million people in the US fully vaccinated, you can expect up to about 125,000-and-change breakthrough cases. The data is still coming in, and this number can be found as low as 7,000 and beyond 125,000, and this is as of July 30. What it translates to is about .08% or one in every 1,300 cases will become a breakthrough case. The CDC has developed a national vaccine breakthrough reporting database so that more information can help us determine what the true rate is. Remember—the bottom line is that vaccination prevents severe illness, hospitalizations, and death.
Thanks Doc Hurley. Some people might also hesitate to get vaccinated because the current vaccines have emergency use authorizations rather than the full FDA approval. Let's talk about the amount of safety and efficacy data that's been generated so far through the administration of these vaccines.
Dr. Hurley: Full FDA approval is an important milestone. A number of universities and hospitals, the Defense Department and at least one major city, San Francisco, are expected to mandate inoculation once a vaccine is fully FDA approved. Final approval could also help mute misinformation circulating on the internet about the safety of vaccines and also clarify the legal issues some have raised in order to thwart public health mandates.
Pfizer filed its application on May 7, 2021. With a new surge of COVID-19 infections, the Food and Drug Administration has accelerated its timetable to fully approve Pfizer-BioNTech's coronavirus vaccine, aiming to complete the process by the start of next month. The White House has set a time line of prior to Labor Day.
Moderna, the second most widely used vaccine in the United States, filed for final approval of its vaccine on June 1, 2021. But the company is still submitting data and has not said when it will finish. Johnson & Johnson, the third vaccine authorized for emergency use, has not yet applied but plans to do so later this year.
Dr. Andrews: In regards to safety, over 342 million doses of the COVID vaccine have been given in the US. Prior to emergency use authorization or EUA approval, tens of thousands of people were studied in clinical trials. Since the original trials, millions of more people have been vaccinated, just demonstrating how safe and effective they really are.
The three well publicized and serious, but rare safety problems are anaphylaxis, which is a severe allergic reaction. This usually occurs within 30 minutes of administration of any of the vaccine at a rate of two per million. The second is thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome; this was mostly with the J&J vaccine at a rate of seven per one million, and it was in women between 18 to 49 years old and was even less often for men and women over 50 years old. Third is myocarditis and pericarditis with 1,194 cases reported of which only 699 have been confirmed so far.
So again, the benefits from the vaccine of decreasing your risk of severe illness, hospitalization, and death far outweigh the risks of the vaccines themselves.
So bottom line, the vaccines are safe and effective. Now, they are also readily available. How can our folks access the vaccine through our EB channels?
Dr. Andrews: First, all states have vaccine readily available through dept. of public health and private sector pharmacies such as Walgreens, CVS and even Walmart. In Connecticut, the Yard Hospital and EB Family Pharmacy have vaccines. The Yard Hospital has a supply of Moderna and several J+J vaccines. Our Groton EB Pharmacy has the Pfizer vaccine. In Rhode Island, the EB Family Pharmacy has vaccines as well. Both pharmacies, the Yard Hospital, Dispensary, and Wellness Center also would be happy to answer questions or direct you and your family to community vaccination sites if you prefer that route.
The recent spread of the delta variant, and the communication around it, has been confusing, frustrating, and fluid, but that's actually irrelevant. What's true about managing this virus has not changed—people need to get vaccinated. If you're sick, stay home. Wash your hands frequently and try to be outside as much as possible. Those not yet vaccinated should wear a mask outdoors when they are in a crowd, at a large event, or in a public place where keeping their distance from others is difficult, and must wear a mask indoors at all times.
Docs, thank you for taking the time to talk about COVID vaccines and COVID again. Our highest priority at Electric Boat is safety, and the best way to ensure you're safe from COVID, meaning you don't die or get sick from it, is to please get vaccinated. Thanks everybody; we'll talk again soon.
GROTON, Conn. (July 30, 2021) - General Dynamics Electric Boat will christen Rickover (SSN 795), the U.S. Navy's newest and most advanced nuclear attack submarine, at a ceremony at its shipyard on Saturday, July 31, at 9:30 a.m. Electric Boat is a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics (NYSE: GD).
Darleen Greenert is the ship sponsor. She has served in the U.S. Navy for 42 years as a naval officer, a volunteer and a devoted military spouse; her husband Jonathan Greenert is a former Chief of Naval Operations. Ms. Greenert has contributed to the welfare of Navy and military families through her volunteer service. She has served as a senior advisor for numerous naval and military spouse organizations.
The submarine Rickover is the 22nd ship of the Virginia Class. The central characteristic of the class is the modularity derived from the design/build approach, which supports efficient construction and mission capability. This provides the U.S. Navy with a submarine class that advances the state-of-the-art with each succeeding ship. Rickover's adaptability makes it highly responsive to changing mission requirements.
Electric Boat and its partner, Newport News Shipbuilding, share construction of the submarines under a teaming agreement. A total of 28 Virginia-class submarines have been delivered, are under construction or under contract.
A live video and audio webcast of the Rickover christening will be accessible online at: www.gdebchristenings.com. Webcast coverage will begin Saturday at 9:00 a.m. EST; the ceremony will begin at 9:30 a.m. and conclude at approximately 10:45 a.m. The program will be available for on-demand replay for one week, beginning at approximately 3:30 p.m. EST on Saturday.
Attendance is by invitation only.
GROTON, Conn. (June 05, 2021) - In June, the Los Angeles class submarine USS HARTFORD (SSN 768) arrived at the General Dynamics Electric Boat Groton shipyard for an Engineering Overhaul. EB was awarded a U.S. Navy contract modification that would allow for a ‘Smart Start’ to this maintenance availability.
EB’s President Kevin Graney said: “Overhaul and repair work is vitally important to EB because it allows us to manage ebbs and flows in the workload associated with the Virginia and Columbia programs, and enables our workforce to maintain proficiency in crucial skills. . A Smart Start on the Hartford is the right approach to maintain and modernize the ship and get it back to the fleet. We thank our supporters in Congress for funding this important availability in the 2022 budget and we thank our Navy partners for the effort it took to get this work started on schedule.”