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Contract for EB could benefit many state manufacturers

By Johanna Somers

Publication: theday.com

Published June 03. 2014 3:37PM   Updated June 04. 2014 3:56PM
Summit planned on subcontracting

Colchester — In an effort to spread the wealth of Electric Boat’s $17.6 billion submarine building contract with the Navy, Connecticut companies are being invited to a summit later this month.

U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, on Tuesday announced the summit, for which 148 Connecticut manufacturing companies have registered thus far.

The June 16 conference at the University of Connecticut’s Avery Point campus in Groton will give manufacturing companies the opportunity to meet with EB representatives to learn about the sub builder’s future needs and subcontracting procedures. The contract announced April 28 is for 10 Virginia-class nuclear submarines, which are to be built two a year over five years. EB has local facilities in Groton and New London.

“Electric Boat got 60 percent of a $17 billion contract … that’s a lot of money,” said Anne S. Evans, director of the U.S. Department of Commerce at the Connecticut District Office. “And the congressman and I talked about it and talked about it and said, you know, it’s time that we go to Electric Boat and say let’s open up your procurement or at least let these companies understand what it takes to be a supplier.”

Evans said EB was more than willing. All it took was a “knock on the door,” she said.

The summit will help companies such as Alpha Q, which hosted the news conference on Tuesday, to understand what EB buys, how they buy it, their standards, the certificates they require, and their future needs, Evans said.

Mike Scotto, national sales manager and contract administrator of Alpha Q, said it’s important to understand the kinds of expertise EB is looking for and to prepare for it.

“If it’s something that might be outside of our work scope, we might invest (in) that because investing in the future is important,” Scotto said.

Other companies at the news conference included AdChem Manufacturing Technologies of Manchester, GKN Aerospace of Cromwell, Flanagan Industries of Glastonbury and Xuare LLC of Norwich.

“As a start-up company, it is going to be a great way to learn how to do business with Electric Boat but also to network with other companies that are in the area,” said Peter T. Obuchowski, owner of Xuare, which focuses on industrial automation, or integrating machines into assembly lines.

Courtney said that the contract for an additional 10 submarines “is a very large milestone in terms of shipbuilding.”

According to the 5,000-company Submarine Industrial Base Suppliers, the Connecticut submarine industrial base, which is made up of 362 suppliers, received about $296 million in purchase orders last year. The specialized components and materials these suppliers built included control valves, electronic control equipment and oxygen generators. In Courtney’s District, 129 suppliers received about $79 million worth of purchase orders.

Courtney said he wants more Connecticut companies to join the national suppliers coalition, which feeds into Electric Boat and Newport News Shipbuilding.

“Obviously with this new contract we are talking about another level of quantity and volume and that is why we decided it would be a good opportunity to get the word out to Connecticut’s suppliers,” Courtney said.

The summit will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. and 148 of the 200 seats have been filled, Evans said. Since the event is less than two weeks away “we are going to have a full house and are very excited,” she said.

j.somers@theday.com

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