Suzy Kelly of Jo-Kell Inc. to Meet with Congress on Impact of Defense Budget on Local Business
Chesapeake, VA (April 20, 2009) – It may come as a surprise that aircraft carriers are an integral part of the local economy, but for over thirty years, Jo-Kell Inc. of Chesapeake has provided electrical products and systems for the construction and maintenance of United States Navy aircraft carriers.
Next week, Suzy Kelly of Jo-Kell Inc., Regional Vice-Chair of the Aircraft Carrier Industrial Base Coalition (ACIBC), will travel to Washington, DC to meet with members of congress and their staff to ensure that Congress understands how Congressional support for defense spending and funding for the United States Navy aircraft carrier program has a direct impact on local businesses and jobs.
More than 100 members of ACIBC will meet with their Members of Congress and staff as part of the fifth annual two-day Action Days conference. The event gives suppliers an opportunity to meet with Navy officials and their Congressional delegations to discuss the importance of carriers to national defense and the role of the industrial base in supporting the Navy’s mission.
Jo-Kell is currently provides electrical products and systems to the construction of the Gerald R. Ford, the first ship in the newest class of aircraft carriers under construction in Newport News, Virginia. The company also provided circuit breakers and cable wire-way systems for the recently commissioned USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77)
A sustained carrier construction and maintenance program has important economic implications. More than 2,000 small, mid-sized and large businesses from across the United States contribute specialized parts, services and support to the production and maintenance of United States Navy aircraft carriers. The disruption of the schedule for carrier construction may jeopardize the ability of these companies to devote business resources to these specialized parts, potentially threatening their availability and weakening the defense industry.
Over time aircraft carrier production has declined from one carrier constructed every three years to one constructed every five to six years. This significant time lapse in production has forced many suppliers to leave this vital industry, eroding the skilled labor pool and technology base. Because of this, members of the ACIBC are advocates for sustained and consistent congressional funding for the carrier program.
“It’s important for us to go to Washington to make sure Congress understands that funding for the carrier program affects our local economy and jobs,” said Suzy Kelly, Jo-Kell CEO. “This conference also gives our members a valuable opportunity to inform Congress about the regional contribution to carrier construction and to strengthen support for this important military platform.”
A United States Navy aircraft carrier is a modern, mobile U.S. military base complete with airfield, hospital and communications systems. In addition to warfighting capabilities, aircraft carriers are an integral part of peacekeeping operations. Over 90 percent of world trade is moved by sea, including much of the world’s gas and oil supply and aircraft carriers and their strike forces are constantly on patrol in vital regions of the world to keep shipping lanes open and protect the interests of the United States and its allies.
The United States is increasingly relying on aircraft carriers to provide immediate humanitarian relief after natural disasters. Carriers played a central role in relief efforts following the December 2004 tsunami that devastated parts of Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Thailand and Hurricane Katrina. In June 2008, the USS Ronald Reagan was called upon to deliver hundreds of thousands of pounds of relief supplies to typhoon victims in the Philippines. Arriving only 36 hours after the disaster hit, aircraft from the carrier group flew for eight consecutive days, delivering more than 519,000 pounds of fresh water, food and medical supplies. “These people were on the brink of despair,” said USS Ronald Reagan commanding officer Captain Kenneth Norton. “We rolled right in, we got ourselves organized and we got our folks on the beach and helped quickly.”
ABOUT THE AIRCRAFT CARRIER INDUSTRIAL BASE COALITION (ACIBC)
The Aircraft Carrier Industrial Base Coalition (ACIBC) represents approximately 400 businesses that supply components and services for U.S. Navy aircraft carriers. Established in 2004, ACIBC seeks to preserve the strength of the aircraft carrier force and promote the value of the aircraft carrier industrial base as a vital part of the nation’s overall defense structure. These businesses supply a wide range of components and services, from motors, pipes and insulation to electrical, engineering and maintenance services.
In total, more than 2,000 small, mid-sized and large businesses from across the United States contribute parts, services and support to the production and maintenance of United States Navy aircraft carriers — one of our nation’s most critical and trusted military platforms.
For additional information, please visit www.acibc.org
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