On May 8th, Milwaukee Valve employees at the company’s Prairie du Sac, Wis., manufacturing plant got an interesting opportunity to learn more about where the products they make eventually end up.
A corporate team from Newport News Shipbuilding, builders of some of the U.S. Navy’s major aircraft carriers and submarines toured the plant and then held a question-and-answer session with approximately 150 Milwaukee Valve employees.
NNS President Matt Mulherin addressed the crowd and spoke highly of Milwaukee Valve’s operations and staff.
“I thought I was a valve guy, but I guess right-tighty, lefty-loosey was all I knew,” Mulherin joked. “This was more than I expected and it’s just amazing. These are works of art and you should be proud of what you do here.”
Mulherin told the crowd that NNS was currently seven years into building the newest Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier — and that it’s still two years away from completion. This fact drew an audible gasp from the assembled crew. The shipbuilders also are in the process of building a Virginia class submarine and a John F. Kennedy aircraft carrier — all projects that will use Milwaukee Valve products.
“We like to say, ‘We’re 100 tons of diplomacy,’” Mulherin said.
Regarding the long-term planning of building a ship, Mulherin added: “We develop a plan and then work to that plan.”
Milwaukee Valve employees also asked thoughtful questions regarding the lifecycle of these massive ships and their products that get installed.
“An aircraft carrier has about a 50-year lifespan,” Mulherin added. “It comes in for a one-time nuclear refuel at 25 years. It’s why the quality of the products you make is required.”