The first General Membership meeting of 2023 was held on Tuesday, January 24th at the Ted Constant Center at ODU. The speaker for the meeting was our very own Bill Crow, President of the Virginia Ship Repair Association. Bill presented the VSRA Annual Report - an overview of VSRA activities, initiatives, and successes in 2022, and a look ahead at the goals for 2023.
Bill began by stating that 2022 can be described in three words: Revive, Refresh and Renew. Every year he wonders how we are going to exceed the year before. Each time he’s amazed at the support and passion that we have in this industry. It’s because of that continued support that we were able to flourish in 2022 and will continue to in 2023.
Bill thanked the VSRA and VSRF Board of Directors for their leadership and guidance throughout the year as well as their Patriotism and dedication to industry. Bill continued with thanking the Committee Chairs for their hard work on preparing presentations and seminars throughout 2022. He then thanked the VSRA Staff for their dedication and hard work; they are second to none, and get it done. Bill continued his appreciation praising the VSRA membership itself. He noted several areas of achievement, including ending the year with 318 member companies and record shattering VSRF fundraising.
He then expressed with excitement that all our annual VSRA events were well-attended. For example, the 2nd Annual Evening Social that was held at the Ted Constant Center, ODU, was described as a Top Shelf Grand Event. The 3rd Annual Summer Social will return July 13, 2023. It’s a great opportunity for networking with other companies and getting to know other members of VSRA. Spread the word and be there this summer.
The 26th Annual Safety & Health Seminar held at the Ted Constant Center, ODU was Bigger, Better and Greater than ever. Bill thanked the Safety & Health Seminar Planning Committee for the many months of hard work getting this event together. This event is boasted by OSHA as being one of the best Safety & Health Seminars that is held in the country. With that, Bill announced that the 27th Annual Safety & Health Seminar will be held on Wednesday, September 27, 2023 at the Ted Constant Center, ODU. Bill stated that he would like to see even more production personnel attending. Planning will be starting soon, so if anyone is interested in joining the Planning Committee, please reach out to the VSRA Staff.
The 36th VSRF Golf Tournament was held at Cypress Point Golf Club on Tuesday, October 18, 2022. The 37th VSRF Golf Tournament will return to Cypress Point Golf Club again on Thursday, October 19, 2023. Registration launches February 6th at 9 AM. Leigh Kennedy is the force behind the tournament which is the envy of all tournaments. You are encouraged to be at your desk and ready to submit your entry on February 6th promptly at 9 AM. This year once you complete your registration form, your team will be set to golf. The only worry will be, who will be your caddy in October?
Of course, Bill said we can’t forget the one event that pulls at his heart strings. It’s the Annual Tradesperson of the Year Awards, whose 25 nominees he refers to as “all winners.” It’s a nice thing to recognize people for their great performance. We have many super stars in this industry, and he asked the members to go out into their yards and watch their folks for those gold nuggets. For the 17th Annual Tradesperson of the Year, we would like to see those nominations bust a record. Nominations for this year’s Tradespersons of the Year begin September 1st.
Bill stated that with all these events, we count on sponsorships from our member companies to keep these events thriving. Sponsorships keep the costs down for those attending for all our events such as the Safety & Health, Contracts and HR Seminars.
Bill also acknowledged the return to in-person committee meetings, mentioning our technology upgrade to VSRA’s AV system in our training rooms. This will make a better experience for those who must attend virtually. He expressed and encouraged the benefits of being in person without the distractions of work or home. And not to mention his philosophy of, “if you feed them, they will come.” At our meetings you will find either donuts or bagels with a nice hot cup of coffee or cold beverage to enjoy.
Bill stated that 2022 brought many Legislative and Navy leaders to our luncheon tables. They provided insight and information on the movement in Washington D.C. that is pertinent to our industry. With that, Bill moved into commending the engaging relationship VSRA has with its Navy customer. 2022 saw changes in the form of Hot Work process and the Joint Change Management training proposal, which they will be meeting on January 26th to discuss further. Bill said that when the Navy needs something done, they come to the Virginia Ship Repair Association.
Bill assured the membership that as we move into 2023, we will continue to strive to schedule more pertinent and relevant speakers. Governor Glenn Youngkin spoke at our August 2022 luncheon which brought in our largest luncheon attendance historically. To start 2023, we have confirmed U.S. Representative Rob Wittman for our February 21st luncheon which will be held at the Ted Constant Center at ODU.
Bill then spoke of our expansion of the MTT career pathways with the addition of Welding 2 & 3, as well as the completion of our structural fitting curriculum. Our relationship with the Hampton Roads Workforce Council and Community Colleges supports the efforts of HR Strong and The Good Jobs Challenge Grant. These relationships are pivotal for the continued expansion of the MTT Career Pathways. Building the workforce is a priority, and with these programs and grants it makes it possible.
Bill stated that with workforce development being a priority, VSRA’s Job Board has been enhanced to have the ability to match job openings to people who apply and upload their resume, whether they are a veteran, spouse, or student. An employer will get the best match to fit their company’s needs. That being said, Bill reflected on new people coming into the industry and our need of instructors. Bill asked that if anyone knew of anyone that would love to give back to the industry, please send them to the VSRA staff, because we want the best to train the best.
Pausing for a reflective moment, drawing Lou Gehrig parallels, Bill said he considers himself “… the luckiest man on the face of the earth” to be the President of VSRA and to have the ability to wake up and work every day with the people in the audience before him. He said, you are our National Security asset. He concluded his report by once again thanking the VSRA Membership for their incredible support of the organization.
The 2022 VSRA Annual Report can be viewed by clicking here.
[NOTE: link to the pdf version of the official annual report – it’s linked on our website if you click the strategic plan tab from the member view]
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