Organizational Announcement

Published May 24, 2022

Dear Shipbuilders,

One of our most experienced leaders, Charles Southall, vice president of Columbia-Class Submarine Construction, has made the decision to retire on July 1 after more than 35 years of distinguished service. Charles joined NNS as an engineer intern in our submarine program and since the very beginning of his career, has demonstrated deep commitment and ownership for every program, every assignment and every ship he has supported. His leadership and technical acumen have shaped the design and construction of our nuclear fleet for more than three decades, and his impact will endure for generations to come.

Given the unique criticality of submarine work and in recognition of Columbia’s importance to the Navy, a transition plan to ensure an effective transfer of responsibilities is critical. To that end, I am pleased to announce Brandi Smith is being promoted to vice president of the Columbia-Class Program, effective June 1, and will report to Matt Needy, vice president of Navy Programs.

Brandi currently serves as program director of Columbia-class construction and has more than 20 years of progressive ship design, engineering, nuclear quality control, industrial management and business experience. Her experiences encompass a breadth of service on every ship class in our portfolio from “design-build” through “in-service” maintenance. Her academic, technical, industrial and proven leadership has uniquely prepared her for this role. She earned a mechanical engineering degree from North Carolina State University and an MBA from The College of William and Mary.

Please join me in thanking Charles for his commitment to NNS and the nuclear Navy, and in congratulating him on his next chapter. And please join me in congratulating and supporting Brandi in her new role.