NNS Celebrates Master Shipbuilders

Published December 14, 2022

Newport News Shipbuilding celebrated its Master Shipbuilders – employees with 40 or more years of continuous service – Friday night at the Hampton Roads Convention Center.

For the first time since 2019, the longtime employees were honored during an in-person ceremony. The event honored NNS’ 1,395 Master Shipbuilders, particularly those who started their careers at the shipyard in 1982, 1981 or 1980.

“Collectively, your service spans a staggering 59,428 years, and I know I speak for all Newport News Shipbuilding leaders – including many here this evening – when I say that you inspire us,” Xavier Beale, vice president of Human Resources and Trades, told attendees. “Shipbuilding is a calling, and tonight we celebrate the countless days and nights you answered this call because you knew our nation depended on you.”

During the ceremony, Master Shipbuilder Steve Wos delivered the invocation. Ricky Hill and Vincent Falcione modeled the Master Shipbuilder ring and watch, and Pepper Gilliam modeled the Master Shipbuilder jacket.

NNS President Jennifer Boykin told Master Shipbuilders they are “the perfect blend of both legacy and innovation.”

“Like the shipyard, you have weathered storms of uncertainty, always standing firm in maintaining our high standards. You’ve welcomed new technology, because you recognize its potential for shipbuilding,” she said. “Most importantly, you keep our culture of ‘Always Good Ships’ alive, and instill in us your experience and expertise. As we bring in the newest generation of shipbuilders to continue this work, you become even greater because you provide the foundation on which we will build the shipyard’s future.”

Watch a video celebrating the three newest classes of Master Shipbuilders and see a list of Master Shipbuilders from the Class of 1982 on MyNNS. View photos from the Master Shipbuilder recognition ceremony on Jennifer Boykin’s Facebook page.

“As shipbuilders, we develop a bond with every ship we touch, and over the last four-plus decades, your hands and minds have touched scores of ships that are now supporting our Navy and defending our way of life,” she said. “It is a noble purpose, and each of you should be proud of your important contribution.”