Naval & Maritime Consortium launches
Groton — Economic development and workforce professionals, higher education leaders and elected officials gathered at the University of Connecticut at Avery Point on Thursday evening for the launch of the Naval & Maritime Consortium.
Previously known as the Connecticut Undersea Supply Chain Consortium, it is a Thames River Innovation Place project that involves a partnership with UConn. Funded by the public-private network CTNext, TRIP is a collection of programs designed to spur innovation in Groton and New London.
Ali Halvordson, a former naval architect for Electric Boat, was appointed program manager of the consortium in May.
She said Thursday that the consortium will "maintain ground-floor knowledge of offshore wind and other opportunities," help businesses navigate contractor requirements, and work with higher education institutions and the Eastern CT Workforce Investment Board "to create training programs tailored to needs."
It has committees on business development, strategic planning, industry representation and workforce development.
The consortium, Halvordson said, is envisioned as the undersea equivalent of the Aerospace Components Manufacturers.
"Almost two decades ago, Connecticut's many sub-tier aerospace suppliers were seeing orders going overseas, and they banded together to stem the tide," she explained. Halvordson said the ACM executive director told her that everyone was originally scared to show their dirty laundry, but then realized they all had the same dirty laundry.
Also present at the event were officials from Electric Boat, Deepwater Wind and Thayer Mahan.
"There is a healthy backlog of submarine production, but history has taught us that boons are cyclical," Halvordson said, noting that the growth in submarine work can fuel growth in opportunities like offshore wind, underwater vehicles and protection of assets around ports.
In offering opening remarks, Congressman Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, talked about how federal defense spending has served as a driving force for various groups gathered at the launch.
"Sometimes I don't think the rest of the state really understands what's about to manifest itself," he said.
George Mathanool, a CTNext board member and Groton resident, said the consortium serves as a keystone between Electric Boat and the Navy.