Naval Sea Systems Command

The U.S. Navy Arrives at a 'Soft Landing' Solution for Environmental Detachments

August 5, 1999

In an innovative strategy, the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) will move 380 employees in two locations to the private sector in September.

Under the terms of this transaction, once the employees are transitioned to the private sector, they will be available to perform much of the same type of work as they had been providing as Navy employees, at the same locations, with the same customer base.

The Navy employees are currently in two environmental detachments in Charleston, SC, and Vallejo, CA. The detachments, whose work was scheduled to end in September, will transfer as complete business units - thereby providing all detachment employees with a 'soft landing' solution as they leave government employment.

NAVSEA, using the skills of Grant Thornton, Inc. and ESOP Advisors Inc., examined a wide range of business alternatives - including the formation of an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) company - before arriving at the recommendation that the detachments select 'strategic partners' to ensure a successful transition to the private sector.

This transaction is the first of its kind for the Department of Defense (DOD). Command officials say it is a testament to the creativity and imagination of the employees of the two environmental detachments and to the commitment of NAVSEA that "people are our top priority."

The detachments were established in 1996 as a result of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) to assist in the environmental clean up of the shipyards at Charleston and Mare Island.

The detachments have executed work valued at over $150 million for over 75 customers in more than 22 states and have completed more than 218 projects, including cradle to grave management of over 9,500 tons of hazardous waste and performed BRAC inspections at over 6,600 facilities.

"These Navy employees have truly undergone a defense conversion, said Roy Rogers, NAVSEA Naval Shipyard BRAC Program Manager. "Four years ago they were performing critical repairs and modernization of the Navy's Submarine Force. Today they have integrated those skills with additional environmental training and experience to become the "provider of choice" not only for environmental clean-up at the shipyards, but for many other government projects. These responsive, synergistic, multi-disciplined, functional work teams have repeatedly demonstrated the ability to do the job right - the first time, within schedule and with less manpower"

Due to the their overwhelming success, NAVSEA explored options to outplace these synergistic teams rather than disband them. A feasibility study determined that the units had the potential to survive and flourish in private industry if they could be aligned with Strategic Partners. Navy selected Grant Thorton to serve as the employee representative of the environmental detachments to assist them in selecting a Strategic Partner.

The Strategic Partners chosen by the employees are: South Carolina Research Authority, 5300 International Blvd. N. Charleston, SC 29418, for the Charleston Detachment and Roy F. Weston, Inc., One Weston Way, West Chester, PA 19380, for the Vallejo detachment.

However, as private sector employees, they will be encouraged to pursue new commercial and government customers, and will be able to more directly realize the rewards of their success. The Navy, along with other potential customers, will also benefit from this transaction as the environmental detachments continue to provide valuable technical capabilities as they have been all along.

For more information, contact Pat Dolan, Deputy Director, NAVSEA, Congressional and Public Affairs, at (703) 602-1575 or DolanPK@NAVSEA.NAVY.MIL]

Related Resource

Office of Personnel Management, Excerpt from 1996 Annual Report of the then National Performance Review (now the National Partnership for Reinventing Government)

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