Ingalls president concerned about shipyard’s future

PASCAGOULA — Ingalls Shipbuilding President Irwin F. Edenzon says his company has contracts to keep it business into 2016. The future, he says, has him concerned.

“I’m hiring 3,000 people and have a $10 billion backlog that’s pretty healthy,” Edenzon said in a civic club speech this week in Pascagoula. “My business is very good. Where’s it going to be in 2020? Where’s the nation going to be in 2020?”

The Mississippi Press reports that Edenzon said Huntington Ingalls Industries is in constant contact with defense personnel hashing out the kinds of ships and the numbers of ships in the Navy’s long-range plan.

“I want Ingalls to be here for at least another 75 years,” Edenzon said. “That 75-year foundation is being laid right now. Today, we’re doing fine. If we don’t worry about 3 to 5 years from now right now, we’ll miss the opportunity to do anything about it.”

Edenzon said discussions with the Navy center on “why they need to buy ships that are survivable.”

“The ships we build are survivable,” he said. “The ships we build go to war. It costs more to build a ship that can get shot and bring Marines and sailors home safely. That is the discussion we’re having right now with the Department of Defense. We are in discussions over what those specifications will be for the kinds of ships the U.S. Navy will need delivered in the 2020 time frame.”

Edenzon said the shipyard is ramping up to a workforce of about 13,000 in Pascagoula, so developing the next generation of shipbuilders is crucial to future success.

October will be a very busy month for Ingalls.

On Oct. 5, Edenzon said the shipyard is planning the Ingalls Day of Caring where they will bring shipbuilders to work on community service projects in Pascagoula, Gautier, Moss Point and Ocean Springs.

On Oct. 19, the shipyard will host an Open House for employees and their families. The event will not be open to the public, but will be a chance for the workers to celebrate the company’s 75th anniversary.

On Oct. 26, the shipyard will host the christening of Hamilton, the fourth Coast Guard National Security Cutter built in Pascagoula.

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