Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin learns about Digital Shipbuilding in NNS' Mobile Experience (MX) trailer.

MX Trailer Brings Digital Shipbuilding to the State Capitol

Published February 8, 2023

At around 7:30 a.m. on Feb. 1, Newport News Shipbuilding’s Digital Shipbuilding Mobile Experience (MX) Trailer Team had just completed staging and setup of their demonstration equipment for their day at the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond.

Then they heard a knock on the door.

It was Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, who spotted the trailer on the way back to his office after a meeting at the General Assembly Building. The team welcomed the governor into the trailer, where he spent about 15 minutes learning about Digital Shipbuilding through demonstrations of virtual and augmented reality, visual work instructions, welding simulators, laser scanning, and modeling and simulation.

Youngkin was visitor No. 1 of more than 200 legislators, cabinet officials, and their staff who stopped by throughout the day to learn more about NNS’ advanced digital capabilities. In addition, Senate and House pages, 13- and 14-year-olds from across Virginia who work throughout the General Assembly session as part of a civic emersion program, visited the trailer to learn about shipbuilding careers.

“He is the first Virginia governor to visit the MX trailer. It was great to see his interactions and enthusiasm as he spoke with members of the team,” said Linda Carrithers, project manager of the Mobile Experience. “It was great to be back in Richmond and have the opportunity to share about NNS and Digital Shipbuilding. The visitors were very interested in learning about the shipyard.”

MX Day was planned as a follow-up to NNS Day at the Capitol, during which shipbuilders met one-on-one with legislators. The digital capabilities and opportunities demonstrated by the MX Team complemented those discussions. They showcased the complex skills and dedicated workforce that are necessary to build the world’s most advanced ships.

“People of all ages were amazed and captivated when they got to experience what it’s like to walk around on a virtual bridge, in the virtual reality (VR) environment. It felt so real to them and they couldn’t believe how realistic everything seemed. The House and Senate pages enjoyed our interactive simulation video game, used for training our new generation and so many of our shipbuilders here at NNS. This is what it’s all about: educating everyone on the great things we do here at NNS and the impact they have in improving products and processes,” said Tiwana Greene (X23).

In addition to the governor, the MX Team was also visited by members of Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s administration – Secretary of Transportation (and former shipbuilder) Shep Miller, Secretary of Labor Bryan Slater and Secretary of Education Amy Guidera.

“The Mobile Experience Team’s visit is one that the members of the General Assembly look forward to every year,” said Tom Cosgrove, manager Corporate Citizenship and Government Affairs. “Like last month’s ‘Day at the GA,’ it is important to give state officials different perspectives on NNS and its impact on Virginia. The MX team did so with enthusiasm and pride that was contagious. Every legislative member and visitor complimented the MX Team and expressed their respect and admiration for the hard work our shipbuilders perform every day.”

The Virginia General Assembly is halfway through the 2023 legislative session and is scheduled to adjourn on Feb. 25. Workforce development and investments in credentialed learning pathways are at the forefront of some of the major pieces of legislation.

“It was a really cool experience to see everyone come into the trailer; especially, the surprise visit by the governor,” said Joe Mammano (X42). “It was great to share about NNS, Digital Shipbuilding technology and our future.”