Good afternoon. I’m Brian Cuccias, and I have the honor and privilege of leading this great shipyard, Mississippi’s Shipyard, Ingalls Shipbuilding.
There are moments and decisions in a community and a company history that define who they are and what they will be. Key decisions that truly make a difference in our future. Never has that been more true than today.
Since we opened our gates in 1938, our relationship with the State of Mississippi has been unmatched. A successful model of government-industry partnerships that has resulted in more than $1 billion dollars of benefits each year in this great state. That partnership began on our East Bank property when, in the late 1930s, Mississippi partnered with the Ingalls family with a unique set of economic incentives known as the Balance Agriculture with Industry Program – and Ingalls Shipyard was established.
In the mid-1960s, Litton Industries bought the shipyard from the Ingalls family. We found ourselves, once again, partnering with the State to finance the building of the West Bank shipyard. This was hailed as the first new shipbuilding facility built in America since World War Two. That partnership has – over the past 40-plus years – resulted in thousands of Mississippians building close to 70 percent of the Navy’s surface combatant fleet of the most sophisticated combat ships in the world.
Over the years, the story of that great public-private partnership – forged with Mississippi more than 75 years ago – has been reinforced with new chapters, starting with Litton, then Northrop Grumman, and now Huntington Ingalls Industries. That partnership that ensures that our shipyard – Mississippi’s shipyard – remains the most modern, most capable, most efficient naval ship design and production facility in America…and I would even say in the world.
That story will continue successfully for years to come because of local legislators like the ones here with me today and because of visionary leaders like Governor Phil Bryant, Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves and House Speaker Philip Gunn. Today we are here to acknowledge the work of these legislators and leaders, who in partnership with our shipbuilders are embarking on a modernization program, we call The Shipyard of the Future.
In a few moments, Governor Bryant will ceremonially sign a piece of legislation funding an initial twenty million dollar investment by the people of Mississippi matched by a forty million dollar by Huntington Ingalls. The shipyard of the future will take Ingalls to a new level. It will set the standard for years to come. It will improve every aspect of our ship building process.
From the product flow, new footprint, every facet. Even a new dry dock that will allow us to launch a ship from multiple locations in the yard. These changes will not only improve the quality of life for our shipbuilders to make them more efficient, but it will enable us to support Navy affordability targets and make us more competitive in future competitions. And together, as in the 1930s, the 1960s, and for decades since, Ingalls and Mississippi will see this vision through together.
I want to again thank our legislative leaders, and our local officials today for their commitment to business and industry in Mississippi. You really honor us with your commitment to the people of this State, and with your presence here today.