Submitted by Tommy Fulton, Contributing Editor
Call to Order: The meeting was called to order by Ernest Ladd.
Richard Franklin gave the invocation, followed by Larry Sindel, who led us in song and the Pledge.
Introduction of Guests & Visitors: Jeff Zoghby introduced our guests along with visiting Rotarians.
Student Guest: Jeff Luther introduced Brandi Trenier from B. C. Rain High School as our Student of the Week.
Announcements: Rotary Gala will be Wednesday, Nov. 7th @ Cotton Hall.
Mobile West Rotary is hosting an “End Polio” event on Tues., Oct 9th @ Bonefish Grill.
Rotary Club of Mobile made a donation to the Wilmington, NC club for Hurricane Florence.
Program: Casi Callaway introduced our speaker, Craig Perciavalle, President of Austal, USA.
Mr. Perciavalle began the program with a video about the Mobile operation, which began in 1999. They manufactured ferrys in the beginning.
Austal USA has invested more than $418 million in the Mobile operations. The State of Alabama, Mobile County and the City of Mobile combined to help our community win the facility. Now the facility concentrates on building Navy ships including the Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) and the Expeditionary Fast Transport Ships (EPF). At this moment Austal has six LCS and 2 EPF ships in various stages of construction, with orders stretching out for several years into the future.
Austal will also be building a more lethal version of Frigates for the U. S. Navy. In the future, they hope to build Medical Ships, Command and Control Ships, Autonomous Ships, and Mother Ships designed to retrieve the Autonomous models.
Mr. Perciavalle said Austal USA is bidding on twenty more ships in 2020. Austal uses suppliers from 47 states, 700 from the State of Alabama, and 550 from the Mobile/Baldwin county area. They are recognized as the 5th largest shipbuilder in the United States.
The Navy is committed to growing the U. S. fleet from around 275 ships to 355 ships.
During the question & answer period, Mr. Perciavalle mentioned that the useful life of an LCS is about 25 years. Because they are made of aluminum, they required much lower maintenance. Another interesting tidbit…their ships are powered by “jet-ski” technology rather than propellers.
After a question and answer session, Ernest Ladd thanked Mr. Perciavalle for his presentation and presented a certificate to him, noting that a donation in his honor had been made to the Rotary International Foundation.
The meeting was adjourned at 1:00 pm.