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Congressman Don Young to dedicate new ship assembly hall March 26 in Ketchikan 3/21/13

Congressman Don Young to dedicate new ship assembly hall March 26 in Ketchikan

KETCHIKAN (March 21, 2013) - Alaska Ship & Drydock (ASD) in cooperation with the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA) will host a ceremony March 26 to dedicate the new ship assembly hall at the Ketchikan Shipyard. Giving the keynote address will be Congressman Don Young, whose advocacy and hard work to reindustrialize Southeast Alaska has helped turn the shipyard into an engine for private investment and family-wage jobs in Ketchikan. Senator Lisa Murkowski will be present to honor Congressman Young’s long service in Congress and his role in building industrial capacity in Ketchikan.

When:                Tuesday, March 26. Guests are asked to arrive at the shipyard at 10:30 AM with the dedication starting promptly at 11:00 a.m. Tours of the new Assembly Hall will be offered between 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m.

Where:               Ketchikan Shipyard, 3801 Tongass Avenue, Ketchikan AK 99901

Speakers:           Keynote: Congressman Don Young

Introduction: Senator Lisa Murkowski

Remarks:  Adam Beck, President of Alaska Ship & Drydock; Dave Kiffer, Mayor of the Ketchikan Gateway Borough; Randy Ruaro, Policy Director to Governor Parnell ; James Hemsath, Deputy Director of AIDEA

Master of Ceremony:    Frank Foti, CEO of Vigor Industrial

To RSVP:              The event is open to media and the public, but space is limited. Please RSVP to Nancy Cooper at Nancy.Cooper@akship.com or 907-225-7199 to reserve a place at the event.

The recently opened ship assembly hall is a 70,000 square-foot advanced manufacturing facility and the latest in a series of improvements to the Ketchikan Shipyard. The shipyard, which is owned by AIDEA and operated by ASD under a 30-year agreement, has grown from a small operation to a state-of-the-art industrial facility in the past 19 years. Shipyard employment has grown from 30 to 157 over the same period, with today’s jobs paying an average annual wage of $58,093. That is about 1.5 times the average annual earnings for private-sector workers in the Ketchikan Borough.

Much of that growth can be attributed to improvements to the facilities that allow the shipyard operator to compete for more projects and win them, said ASD President Adam Beck.

“Right now, there are about 40 Alaskans who have family-wage jobs building the first large modern fishing vessel built in Alaska. That probably wouldn’t have happened here without this new assembly hall,” Beck said. “And the assembly hall wouldn’t have happened without the strong leadership of Congressman Young and our partners at the state and local levels.”

Improvements to the yard have followed the Ketchikan Borough and AIDEA’s Shipyard Development Plan, first published in 1999. Drawn up to address the economically devastating collapse of the Southeast Alaska timber industry in the mid-1990s, the plan set a course to reindustrialize Ketchikan and Southeast Alaska through construction of advanced marine industrial manufacturing facilities in Ketchikan. Congressman Young supported this initiative by sponsoring two bills, which brought more than $50 million in federal funding to make the development plan into a reality. In total, Congressman Young’s efforts have helped secure more than $100 million in local, state, and federal investment in the Ketchikan Shipyard. 

Some of that funding paid for the $31 million assembly hall, which was completed on time and on budget in large part due to an innovative contracting system implemented by US Federal Transit Administration. That system brought together the project owner and contractor early to identify and address potential delays and cost overruns before construction began. Other portions of the funds went toward building a ship transfer system, a ship repair berth, an operations center and an advanced waste water treatment system. A new $10 million ship module fabrication facility is set to be completed later this year. That facility will feed large ship modules directly into the assembly hall for final assembly of complete new ships.

The streamlined modern production facilities, in combination with ASD’s skilled workforce, leave Ketchikan well positioned to win new shipbuilding and repair projects from a variety of customers in national security, offshore oil and gas exploration, commercial fishing, and other resource development sectors, Beck said.

Vigor Industrial acquired ASD in March of 2012, making it the newest of seven companies under the Vigor banner. Vigor operates shipyards in Ketchikan, Everett, Port Angeles, Portland, Seattle and Tacoma. The company employs more than 2,000 people and has helped reestablished the Pacific Northwest and Alaska as a highly competitive, marine industrial region.

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