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Fincantieri Marinette Marine breaks ground in prep for big work

Dirt flies during the ground-breaking ceremony for a massive building that will allow Fincantieri Marinette Marine to construct two 500-foot ships at the same time as part of a major U.S. Navy contract. Left to right are: Corey Brumbaugh, Miron Construction; Jan Allman, CEO, Fincantieri Marinette Marine; Steve Genisot, Mayor of Marinette, Wisconsin; Dario Deste, President and CEO, Fincantieri Marine Group; Uriah Wolfe, Graef; Vice Admiral (Retired) Richard Hunt, President, Fincantieri Marinette Marine; and Andy Heimbuch, president, Boilermakers Local 696 (Photo courtesy of Fincantieri Marinette Marine.)

Local 696 (Marinette, Wisconsin) President Andy Heimbuch was among dignitaries who dug ceremonial shovel-loads of dirt, Feb. 9, officially breaking ground on a massive building as part of the shipyard’s capital expansion and in preparation for construction of the U.S. Navy’s newest class of ships.

According to an FMM press release, the new building will be the largest in Marinette Marine history.

“Building 34 is a key element to our Constellation-class frigate production,” said Dario Deste, President and CEO of Fincantieri Marine Group. “This will allow us to complete construction of two 500-foot ships at the same time inside of a massive climate-controlled facility.”

In April 2020, FMM was awarded a contract with the U.S. Navy to build the first-in-class guided missile frigate, FFG(X) and an option to build nine additional ships, as well as post-delivery availability support, engineering and class services, crew familiarization, training equipment and provisioned item orders. The contract is on-target to create at least 1,000 direct jobs at FMM, which employs Boilermakers from Local 696. 

Across the bay at Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding, Boilermakers from Local 449 (Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin) will be at work building various sections and modules for the FFG(X). New-building construction has also begun across at Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding.

“We are increasing the capabilities and capacity of our system of shipyards here in Wisconsin to support the U.S. Navy and future customers,” Deste said. “We are improving our facilities, but also adding to our workforce, with engineers, project managers, and nearly every skilled trade.”

It is estimated that if all options are exercised in the total $5.5 billion contract, the resulting work for Boilermakers could remain steady over two decades. 

“The groundbreaking at FMM signals a welcome boost in steady work for L-696 and L-449, as well as potential increased work for industrial and construction sector Boilermakers in neighboring Midwest states,” said IVP-Great Lakes Larry McManamon. 

Read more about the FMM contract with the U.S. Navy and the Boilermakers’ role in securing the contract: https://boilermakers.org/news/locals/fincantieri-marinette-marine-lands-800-million-us-navy-contract.