San Diego News Room-Marine Group Boat Works pumps millions of dollars into local businesses
August 6, 2010 Leave a comment
|Business and Finance - San Diego Business|
|Written by Albert H. Fulcher|
|Friday, 06 August 2010 08:39|
Marine Group Boat Works pumps millions of dollars into local businesses
Chula Vista, Calif.: Marine Group Boat Works, LLC, with a government contract valued at more than $30 million, delivered the first of three Range Training Support Crafts (RTSC-110) to the Navy, Friday, July 23. RTSC-110s are equipped with 100 percent biodiesel (B100) engines and cold ironing capabilities.
Able to launch and recover small high-speed crafts, aerial targets and test weapons, it is a multi-mission boat supporting evolving naval requirements.
Todd Roberts, vice president of Marine Group, said the Navy is a front-runner of cold ironing with its ships, but not with smaller crafts.
“It is a big deal. It is a zero discharge boat,” said Roberts. “It does not have the capability of discharging into the ocean. Nothing can go over the side. There are no valves to allow any other type of discharge. This way no mistakes can happen.”
Roberts said the launching of the first craft was a terrific success, meeting contractual obligations and far exceeding government expectations. Internal sound and minimum speed requirements were well surpassed. “We did a lot of things not required in the building matrix,” said Roberts. “With a requirement of one crane, we added several to give it extra functionality we thought it needed. Wing control was not specified—we put them on anyway.”
In a press release, Capt. Bill Jensen, Navy Range Office resource sponsor said, “The RTSC-110 class of craft will satisfy aviation, surface and subsurface warfare training requirements. Moreover, our Sailors train towards a higher fidelity of threat representative scenarios thanks to the numerous capabilities the 110 brings to the fleet.”
Ronald Powell, director of communications for the Port of San Diego said this venture with one of its tenants is a wonderful thing for the Port to watch unfold. As the project is pumping more than $5 million into the local economy, the Port expects the total contract to exceed $15 million regionally.
“This is a true partnership in the true sense of the word,” said Powell. “Jobs are created and local businesses profit. It is a win-win situation for San Diego County.”
Family owned and operated, Marine Group reinvented itself in 2006. When renovating their facilities, Roberts said they built their redevelopment process on superior customer service.
“What we are known for is not being a typical government contractor,” said Roberts. “We listen to their needs, incorporate them and treat them as a commercial customer.”
Marine Group is one of the largest non-nuclear ship repair facilities in the country, gaining a strong reputation when it fronted a series of repair jobs for the Navy on smaller naval specialty craft.
Roberts said the economy was booming then. Defense contractors had ample work and a hard-nosed approach to government contracting. Marine Group’s unconventional mindset gave way to a request from the submarine warfare community to participate in the RTSC-110 project.
“We had done new construction historically, but not in 15 years,” said Roberts. “This project is unique. It is a design-build project.”
With a 30-page matrix from the Navy, Roberts said that after listening to their needs and expanding on them, they delivered a design the Navy described as fantastic. After hundreds of hours of designing the product, the government issued a Referral for Proposals, opening bidding nationwide. Marine Group was awarded the contract in 2008 and is due to deliver the third boat in 2013.
“We had done a lot of investment in the design work. It was a huge relief when we were awarded the project,” said Roberts.
RTSC-110 construction begins inside on an aluminum jig, upside down, from deck to hull. It is then taken outside and flipped right side up while all inside and outside sections are completed.
Contractually, all purchases for supplies are limited to the U.S. or free trade countries. Roberts said Marine Group’s philosophy of business is to try to buy materials from local vendors whenever feasible. He said keeping commerce in San Diego turned out great.
Roberts explains that their ownership team was born and raised in San Diego, and has been a part of the region’s shipping industry almost their entire careers, so they will only go out of the region if the product they need is unavailable. “With a little more effort and explanation to vendors, I do not think it costs us more to buy locally,” he says.
The RTSC-110 contract added more than 30 employees to Marine Group and increased revenue to local vendors across the county, including Hawthorne Power Systems, N & D Trophy Shop (San Diego), South Coast Welding, Pacific Yacht Refitters (Chula Vista), Reliance Metal, South Bay Boiler (National City) and Reliable Pipe (Logan Heights).
Don Reese from N & D Trophy Shop said their contract to create labels to identify specific elements of the craft accomplished several things.
“This contract brought needed income in and was very helpful to us,” said Reese. “Creating aluminum labels, we discovered we could use our existing machinery in a different capacity. This opens the possibility of looking into new ventures and other projects, expanding our future progress.”
Hawthorne Power Systems, an authorized San Diego Caterpillar dealership, built the 1,800 horsepower engines, EPA Tier 3 emissions standards compliant, and provided an auxiliary marine generator set for house power.
Roberts said they worked very closely with Caterpillar to make sure they had a fuel system to accommodate the variety of fuels.
“What’s interesting about our boat is fuel can be intermingled. You can fill half a tank of regular diesel and fill it up with biodiesel and it won’t matter. The boat doesn’t know the difference,” he said.
Ron Dehne, from the marine engine sales division at Hawthorne Power Systems, headed conversation and sale of the biodiesel engines and house power generator. Dehne said that projects like this do not come by every day, but when they do they create jobs and revenue for all involved.
“In today’s business world, forming bolstering relationships is essential,” he said. “Projects like this make relationships stronger. Our business with Marine Group and others involved in this project is a real relationship here in San Diego.”