Field of Dreams
Austal USA is building, and they ...
meaning customers and new workers ... are coming.
With a company built to build speed, one would expect a non-stop flurry of activity to be the hallmark of the manufacturing facility.
Quite the contrary.
Upon coming to Mobile, Ala., in early August to visit Austal USA, a slow, steady stream of new employee applicants was the defining moment.
Early for an appointment with new CEO Alan B. Lerchbacker, I sat in the lobby and watched in amazement as one job applicant after another walked through the front door. Make no mistake, Austal's ultra-modern shipbuilding shed and its ubiquitous new leader leave an indelible impression. But that steady stream, particularly in the face of what many describe as a "down" market, was most impressive.
The jobseekers come to Austal USA for good reason, as the company is in expansion mode. Flush with success in wooing military and commercial buyers, the company is not sitting on the capabilities of its current building "shed" — which is one 262-ft. (80-m) boat or two 164-ft. (50-m) boats per year — and has invested $8.2 million for the construction of a new 426-ft.
(130-m) boatbuilding shed to flank the current one.
With two sheds, the company expect to support a base of 580 employees, and as Bill Pfister, vice president of marketing and administration simply put it "As soon as this shed is filled, a third one will go up." The current goal: 2,000 employees in four years, with a slight majority of business coming from the commercial side. — Greg Trauthwein
Other stories from November 2002 issue
- Bollinger Restructures Management Team page: 8
- I neat Confirms U.S. Military Contract page: 10
- Promoting A Modal Shift page: 12
- FPSO Farwah Launched at Fene Yard page: 16
- The Irony Of Maritime Security page: 18
- Secure Marine Debuts "Fence" at Sea page: 24
- All Set Tracking Launches New Electronic Seal page: 25
- Additional Funding Urged for Port Security page: 26
- Austal to Build Circle Line's First High Speed Vessel page: 27
- Stena Christens Tanker For Coastal Waters page: 29
- New Fast Craft For Kristiansand City F.D. page: 30
- Gladding-Hearn Delivers Fast Ferry for Lake Erie page: 31
- MTU Engine Series Logs Success on Inland Waterways page: 33
- KMSS Training/Simulation Division Is Buoyant page: 34
- Crowley takes lead with "Reliance" page: 36
- Markey Provides the Strong Pull page: 37
- Lerchbacker Puts Austal USA on the Fast Track page: 38
- Field of Dreams page: 41
- Columbian Rope Continues to Hold Strong... After 175 Years page: 42
- Hydralift Skeg Use Gaining Speed page: 44
- Workboat Annual page: 46
- A New Generation of Fireboats page: 48
- Alstom Selected By Otto Candies page: 50
- TechnoFibre Leads In Lifeboat Maintenance page: 50
- Maritime E-Business Growth Continues page: 52
- Wallem, Drew Team to Offer "Total" Solution page: 59
- Marine Software: Aiming to Lower Costs page: 60
- Full Steam Ahead page: 62
- Marine Data Systems Offers AIS Solutions page: 65
- The Holland Project: Leveraging History to Build Tomorrow's Ships page: 66
- John P. Holland: Father of the Modern Submarine page: 70
- MAN B&W Revises 32/40 Engine page: 71
- RIB Report page: 73
- Willard Ready for Defense, Commercial Contracts page: 75
- Griffon Hovercraft Scores Big Contracts Around the World page: 76
- Wartsila s Italian Plant Rolls Out Two Stroke page: 80
- MAN B&W Touts Proven Tech in New 48/60B Engine page: 84
- Manitowoc = 100 Years of Distinction page: 86
- TankRadar System Breaks New Ground page: 87
- North American Marine Jet Expands Its Market page: 87
- HJ403: Hamilton Unveils New Water jet page: 88