Page 18: of Marine News Magazine (September 2021)

Shipbuilding & Repair

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Last but not least, we are in the process of investing ap- ing and retaining shipbuilders is a challenge for all Ameri- proximately $45 million into infrastructure improvements can shipbuilders, and we must place emphasis on training across all of our facilities in an effort to meet the current and the next generation of craftsmen.

future needs of our customers and to maximize ef? ciency.

Eastern was hit hard by Hurricane Michael in

How has the COVID-19 pandemic materially 2018. Please describe the storm’s full impact impacted your company to date? How do you to business and Eastern’s build schedule. And expect business will be affected going forward? what did the road to recovery look like?

JD: COVID-19 has affected everyone in this nation and JD: Much like the rest of Bay County, ESG facilities were the world, and ESG is no different. We had to quickly virtually unrecognizable after the storm, nearly every struc- adapt our way of business to deal with the new reality, but ture was damaged or destroyed. We had a monumental ? rst and foremost we looked after our employees and our challenge ahead of us. Immediately following the storm, we community. We have been and are currently following set out on an aggressive initiative to locate all our employees health and safety protocols as recommended by the CDC and help get them back on the job as soon as practical after to keep our employees and families safe. We remained they took necessary time to secure the safety and security operational with protocols in place, such as temperature of their family and home. Together with our network of checks, masking, social distancing, hygiene, testing, and friends, partners and customers in the maritime commu- quarantines. We had vaccination clinics onsite at our fa- nity, ESG organized daily distribution of meals and goods cilities to make vaccines readily available to our employees to employees in need. Additionally, ESG created an interest who chose to become vaccinated. We hope we can all re- free deferred payback loan program for those employees in turn to a more normalized environment soon. That being need and successfully organized a Go Fund Me account, said, we are not letting our guard down and doing all we raising nearly $250,000 to help those employees hardest hit can to combat the virus. Even though COVID-19 made it by the storm. ESG also knew temporary housing was going much more dif? cult to build ships, we made commitments to be a necessity in the short term and immediately built a to our customers, commitments that we have kept. small community located on green? eld space near our fa- cilities for those employees with temporary housing needs.

In two weeks after the Hurricane we were able to resume

Many shipyards have trouble ? nding, hiring operations with at least 80% of our workforce.

and retaining talent. Do you ? nd this to be a

We have rebuilt our facilities thanks to the hard work challenge today, and what is Eastern doing to and determination of each ESG employee, as well as the ensure it has the workforce it needs?

JD: We have been operational for over forty years, and we support of our families, friends, neighbors, vendors, cus- expect to be for decades to come thanks to our dedicated tomers, and federal, state, and local partners. We are still team. The pipeline of work that we’ve captured and plan building, expanding our shipyards and capabilities every to capture both commercially and through the OPC pro- day. We could not be prouder of our employees and how gram offers skilled workers a rewarding long-term career. far we have come since the Hurricane.

Because of this, we have been able to recruit talent that is locally trained and attract workers from outside our area.

How would you describe your management

We’ve recently enhanced our bene? ts package to attract philosophy?

and retain workers and continuously look at ways to grow JD: We always keep our promises, and our quality is un- our pool of workers, which is why the Port St. Joe facility is matched. This is due to our strong company culture com- so strategically placed. We have also partnered with many bined with our skilled and committed workforce. We have area educational institutions from high schools to colleges a reputation for producing the highest quality marine ves- in order to stand up training programs tailored speci? cally sels in the industry, delivered on time and on budget. On to a shipyard employees’ training needs. Attracting, train- several occasions, we have been called upon to take over 18 | MN September 2021

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