After 58 years, Liz Bove says goodbye to Electric Boat

Elizabeth Bove, 80, of Waterford stands in the model room at General Dynamics Electric Boat Tuesday, July 6, 2016. Bove has retired from the engineering department at Electric Boat after more than 50 years of service to the company.    (Tim Cook/The Day)
Elizabeth Bove, 80, of Waterford stands in the model room at General Dynamics Electric Boat Tuesday, July 6, 2016. Bove has retired from the engineering department at Electric Boat after more than 50 years of service to the company. (Tim Cook/The Day)

Groton — While a lot changed during Liz Bove's 58 years at Electric Boat, one thing remained constant: her.

That was until last Friday when the 80-year-old Bove retired from the Groton-based submarine builder, where she started working in 1955 for $1.35 an hour as a summer hire.

Bove was a math major at Connecticut College, and some upperclassmen, also math majors, recommended she get a job at EB during the summer. After graduating, she started as a full-time employee on June 30, 1958, making $100 per week, she said.

Fast-forward to 58 years later, and Bove said she "never did" think about working anywhere else.

She's been at EB for the construction of every nuclear-powered submarine except the Nautilus, and is the first woman at the company to reach the 50-year milestone, according to EB officials.

There are currently 46 employees at EB who have worked there for 50 years or more, spokesman Tim Boulay said.

Bove most recently worked in information services, a group of about 15 employees who create and manage the database that keeps track of all the design and engineering information for submarine drawings.

One of her primary roles was to develop reports on the work that was supposed to be accomplished by the time a ship came to a key event, such as the first time it's put in water or the first time its nuclear reactor is turned on.

She has also served as a mentor to some of the newer engineers over the years.

Ray Filosa, who had been Bove's boss since the early '90s, recalled first meeting her a couple of years after he started working at EB. He was having difficulty with a computer program and was told "go see this woman, Liz Bove, she knows everything."

"No one has a stronger work ethic," Filosa said of Bove. He's only known her to miss work one time and that was last year for her knee replacement surgery.

Reading from some of her old employee reviews, Filosa noted that he's said similar things in his reviews of her. One review from 1964 says she "continues to render excellent and reliable service." Another, from 1968, says "her ability to adapt quickly to a variety of work situations has been valuable to this section."

In addition to her work contributions, it was important for Bove to be involved with EB outside the workplace. She's held every officer position with the Electric Boat Athletic Club and played on the company's softball team. She was part of a group of employees who read to local elementary students during the summer.

For now, Bove is planning to take it easy and do some work around the house. She lives in Waterford on the same property where she was born.

As Filosa, her former boss, put it: "Consistency is a good word to describe Liz."

j.bergman@theday.com

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