Inclusion Drives Innovation.
At Newport News Shipbuilding, every person matters and everyone’s opinion counts. We are committed to an open-minded culture where we respect each other’s differences and embrace the unique perspective of every employee.
Everyday shipbuilders of all ages and from various backgrounds come to work with one common goal: To build the greatest ships in the world for the U.S. Navy. But how does age help or hinder that goal? In the company’s latest Inclusion and Diversity (I&D) video, shipbuilders discuss how different generations of people with differing viewpoints, work styles and ideas can work together to achieve success.
““I work on the 1050 crane. The reason why everyone knows me is because I’m seven feet tall. I guess I’m the giant in the shipyard. When it comes to hooking up jobs, I’m the first one they call. I respect the shipyard for talking about diversity and inclusion. It makes people feel more comfortable and makes other people look at people differently and respect them more. We’re all here to get a job done. You’re human just like I’m human. I think when you have different groups of people that come from different areas in life, they give you a different take on things.” – Tremayne Bunch
I’m not a product of my environment.
“Growing up in downtown Newport News, I heard all the labels. ‘He stays in the hood.’ ‘He’s never going to be anybody.’ ‘He’s probably going to try to rob somebody.’ We might not have the best of things. Our situation may not be the best. But I can rise above. I can be better. I can show someone I am not what you think. The more you get to know a person, you’ll see that stereotypes start disappearing because everybody is different.” – John Witherspoon II
I am not your sweetheart.
“I understand that working in the shipyard is a man’s industry, but it’s a woman’s industry as well. I’ve heard everything degrading you can think of over the years – ‘baby,’ ‘sweetheart,’ ‘baby girl.’ I want you to talk to me the same way you talk to your mom because I’m a woman. I want you to give me the opportunity just like you give the opportunity to a guy.” – Janet Jones
I am not judgmental.
“As a Christian, I find it’s getting harder and harder to live out my values and not be seen as hateful. Sometimes I feel people assume that because of my faith I don’t respect them or value diversity. This couldn’t be more wrong. The Christian message is one of love and is for all people regardless of our differences.” – Mike Ship
I am not a foreigner.
“I’m an American citizen and served in the U.S. Navy. When I came to America from Taiwan, English was a language barrier. Bullies picked on me, and I couldn’t express my emotions through my words. Being able to communicate is very important. We have so much to learn from one another. Without people from different nationalities and countries, we would not have this melting pot today.” – John Kraft
I am not a dumb blonde.
“Blonde jokes and stereotypes are all over the place. I don’t like when someone discredits me or underestimates my intelligence. I have been instrumental in the development of many innovative processes here at the shipyard. I’ve learned not to put people into boxes based on their color, their race, or their nationality. I’ve learned to judge people on their character, their values and contributions.” – Adrienne Soule
I am not too short.
“When you’re little and you’ve been picked on, you’ve got a choice. Cry about it, or get over it. Being short has been a blessing. I feel like I was made to work at the shipyard. Being able to get in a lot of tight spaces as a welder has helped my career. It’s been a challenge, and I enjoy the challenge.” – Jered “Tea Cup” Wright
I am not lazy.
“When I was thinner, I was part of a different group. ‘Bess has all the good ideas, Bess is doing this or Bess is doing that.’ I didn’t get any smarter or richer. All of a sudden, I was great. Then I put on a few pounds, and it’s ‘let’s put Bess back on the shelf again.'” – Bess Hash
I am not a loner.
“A big part of my job is getting up in front of people to conduct classes and team meetings, but inside of me is a real struggle to get out there being the introverted personality I am. It’s not a life-threatening disease, but it’s something I have to keep working on.” – Neal Jones
I am not helpless.
“I’m not defined by my impairment—being legally blind. I have certain limitations, but I’m able to do most things other people can do. The world as a whole isn’t made up of people who all look , think, act and behave the same; so you have to have a realistic approach to the scope of humanity.” – Elizabeth Shames
I am not just a number.
“When people look at me, they may see just another kid off of the streets. They don’t see one of the best pipefitters in the yard, or a person who aspires to be the president of this company. They just maybe look at me as someone who comes here to get a weekly check, when that is not who I am.” – Carlton Davis
I am not effeminate.
“Some people think gay men are super feminine people who like to go shopping, but the majority of us are just regular people who do regular things, who can hold our own on the waterfront, with our tools or in an office. I’m comfortable with my sexuality, and I try to be respectful to everyone else as long as they’re respectful back.” – Paul England
I am not an intern.
“I’ve definitely had experiences where I have felt excluded. I think my age has a lot to do with it. I’m actually a lot older than people think. But because I’m short, petite and look young, a lot of people assume that I just got out of school. I actually have a lot of work experience outside of the shipyard.” –Renae Myles
Summer Intern Experience at NNS
Hear from one group about the positive experience it had with the NNS Summer Internship program.