Pictured from left on the top row are Aaron Zurfluh (O41), John Vasquez (X23), Michael Crewe (X23), Michele Affolter (O41), Shavonda Eure (X02), Andre Murphy (O45), Benjamin Price (X23), Leah Colvin (X23), Paul Lindgren (K97) and Mary Cullen, vice president of Nuclear Propulsion. Pictured from left on the bottom row are Virginia Tech students Matt Burch, Byron Guju, Maddie Kidd, Ian Cullen and Justin Jones. Not pictured: Project sponsor Karey Malyszko, vice president of Plant Operations, and Ean Greene (O27).

Modeling and Simulation Partners with Virginia Tech Students to Optimize Waste Management at NNS

Published May 3, 2023

A Virginia Tech capstone project enlisted five students from the Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISE) program to work with X23 Modeling and Simulation Engineering to optimize waste management at Newport News Shipbuilding. Karey Malyszko, vice president of Plant Operations, sponsored the project.

The ISE students and ModSim were tasked with identifying the volume and various types of waste produced at NNS. The students were led by Modeling and Simulation Engineer John Vasquez (X23) and Engineering Manager Leah Colvin (X23) in understanding waste produced shipboard and by manufacturing shops, as well as waste storage locations and transportation modes. The objective was to establish a value stream map of waste removal processes, while developing modeling and simulation toolsets, including a discrete event simulation and a spatial management tool.

Vasquez, an Old Dominion University senior and NNS Apprentice School alumnus, led the ISE students as project manager in following Agile Project Management, the Scrum framework, and the X23 Modeling and Simulation Process, which entailed engaging various stakeholders involved in waste management at NNS. These subject matter experts included shipbuilders from O41 Plant Engineering, O45 Maintenance Planning, O27 Environmental Health and Safety and X02 Carrier Construction. These stakeholders met with the students and ModSim over a six-month period and provided essential insight on NNS waste management processes.

“As a graduate of the Virginia Tech Industrial Engineering program a few decades ago, it is exciting to see these students coming out of the program so well prepared,” said Aaron Zurfluh (O41), an engineering manager. “The group we worked with and led by ModSim were all eager, smart, good listeners, worked well as a team and wanted to deliver a high-quality product. I’d be happy to work with more senior design projects in the future, and hopefully we will see some of these students as fellow shipbuilders soon.”

The students completed various experiments and scenarios for waste management optimization, focusing on Stop 550 in the North Yard between the Steel Production Facility and the Joint Manufacturing Assembly Facility (JMAF). Following their investigation and development of the modeling and simulation discrete event simulation and spatial management tools, the students presented their findings, along with recommendations to an audience of waste management process leads and other company leaders – including Malyszko and Mary Cullen, vice president of Nuclear Propulsion.

Recommendations included the acquisition of additional waste movement trucks and a new material waste sorting and processing stop. The students’ findings in conjunction with ModSim have helped identify a path forward in optimizing NNS’ waste management program. The student team also presented their capstone project at the Virginia Tech 2023 Industrial and Systems Engineering Symposium, where the team received a standing ovation.

“Virginia Tech must be very pleased with how well these seniors successfully represented the education they earned at their university. In a single visit to NNS, they were able to aggregate all of that knowledge, translate it into enough data and leverage the Agile methodology and Scrum Framework to generate feasible results. They were spot on,” said Shavonda Eure (X02), a waste management lead. “Prior to learning of their capstone results, our Facilities team had implemented a number of their deliverables. It was a pleasure working with such professional young adults.”

See additional photographs from the project on the ModSim blog on MyNNS.

The team sends a special thanks for additional support to Shavonda Eure (X02), Michele Affolter (O41), Andre Murphy (O45), Aaron Zurfluh (O41), Daryl Hagwood (O15), Lyndsey Hall (K21), Lauren Jones (K21), Sheryce Moore (K18), Paul Hecker (X82), Ryan Baldwin (X82), Bob Bolden (X80), Dave Cullen (X70), Philip Jennings (E92), Trevor Powell (X23), James Rillera (X23), Linda Milner (X23) and Tanika Vasquez (X23). These employees supported the students’ visitation, conducted presentations and tours, and shared their shipbuilding experiences.