Manufacturing Today
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Working With Manufacturers in the Region
Sen. Murphy Teams With Chamber on Electric Boat Events
>>> David Krechevsky

General Dynamics Electric Boat may be located on the other side of the state from Waterbury, but that doesn’t mean the submarine builder can’t work with manufacturers in the region.

Thanks to a suggestion from Sen. Christopher Murphy, D-Conn., the Waterbury Regional Chamber’s Manufacturing Council and Public Policy Committee teamed with the senator’s office earlier this year to host two events with EB.

The first was held in April at Vasi’s Restaurant in Waterbury. The free informational event, sponsored by Noujaim Tool Company Inc., attracted manufacturers from the region and beyond interested in learning what it takes to become qualified to serve as a subcontractor for EB.

T. Blair Decker, EB’s vice president of supply chain, material conveyance and strategic sourcing, told the attendees that, in order to keep up with the growing demand for submarines, the sub-maker must expand its vast network of subcontractors. In fact, Decker said, over the next decade Electric Boat expects to “increase procurement activity by more than 2.5 times the current volume.”

In addition to Decker and Sen. Murphy, Rep. Elizabeth Esty and Kurt Westby, deputy commissioner of the state Department of Labor, also attended the event.

That initial event was followed in July by a “speed networking” event with a team of procurement officials from Electric Boat and was held at Naugatuck Valley Community College. About 20 manufacturers and suppliers paid to participate in the event, which allowed each the opportunity to meet directly with executives from Electric Boat and make a 10-minute business pitch. Both Sen. Murphy and Rep. Esty provided prerecorded video welcomes for the attendees.

Jae Hur, EB’s small business liaison officer, said such networking events are as helpful for the submarine manufacturer as they are for the potential subcontractors who participate, providing an opportunity to see the variety of manufacturers and services available in Connecticut.

He added, though, that just 10 percent to 15 percent of businesses that participate follow up with EB officials after the meetings, losing out on a potential business opportunity.

Sen. Murphy said it is important to help EB find subcontractors and suppliers
within the state in order to help the state’s economy.

“Work at EB is quickly ramping up, and they need the help of hundreds of local suppliers to meet the demand,” he said. He added that he was excited to host the events with the Chamber “to better connect government contracts in eastern Connecticut to manufacturing jobs in Greater Waterbury.”

The Chamber’s Manufacturing Council and Public Policy Committee hope to team up again on similar events in the future as a way to continue to promote and support economic development and job creation in the region, especially in the manufacturing sector.