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NEWS | April 13, 2023

NSS-SY Spotlight: Trade Advocates

By Aime Lykins, PSNS & IMF Public Affairs

As a relatively new program, implemented within the last several years, the Naval Sustainment System - Shipyards initiative aligns with the Get Real, Get Better framework of building a workforce of problem solvers and innovative thinkers. It is a fresh, modern approach to how business is done within the U.S. Navy. Like most operational adjustments and changes, awareness is the key to program adoption among members of the workforce.

At Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility, NSS-SY advocates are embedded within shops and codes to help raise awareness of current pilot programs and projects while helping elevate issues employees would like NSS-SY to address. They are a direct link between the NSS-SY team and personnel across the shipyard.

“My primary role as an NSS-SY advocate is to communicate ideas and concerns, and discuss the statuses of actions with my division,” said Carmen Gaskill, NSS-SY advocate and quality assurance administrative supervisor, Code 139. “Not only do I communicate with the inspectors within my organization, but I take every opportunity to lead up with the branch managers and division head. Change can take time and feel slow, but even the smallest change can have a big impact on the future.”

The shipyard’s NSS-SY advocates meet biweekly to share feedback with the NSS-SY team and get the latest information about each of NSS-SY’s nine pillars. Advocates also receive change management training to help them understand the Prosci® ADKAR model. Prosci's® model of individual change is called the ADKAR model.

ADKAR is an acronym for awareness, desire, knowledge, ability and reinforcement—the elements an individual needs to move through to achieve successful change. Traits of NSS-SY advocates are passion for improvement, optimisms about PSNS & IMF’s ability to create change, persistence in pursuing sustainable change and the ability to communicate with employees at all levels of the command. While there is not a formal process for selecting advocates, each advocate has personal motivation to take on the role.

“Our division wanted to share more about NSS-SY with our inspectors,” said Gaskill when speaking about how she became an advocate. “One of our branch heads reached out to the NSS-SY group and asked how to get more involved. It was at that point we learned about the biweekly advocacy meetings and I was added to the roster. The process was super easy and the group has been very supportive in helping me.”

Gaskill and her fellow NSS-SY advocates share a passion for working with others and hearing their ideas while removing barriers for sustainable change. This requires a questioning mindset aimed at process improvement and workforce empowerment. The shipyard’s advocates play an important role in shifting the operational culture at PSNS & IMF. 

“NSS-SY is an avenue I see to help get rid of antiquated processes and get more in alignment with what right looks like.” said Gaskill. “While we continue to work on improvements and removing barriers, we need to remember to understand that these solutions are not fool-proof. We need to start being more proactive at addressing these issues and concerns early. Just as science improves and changes throughout the years, so must we, as a command, to continue a positive impact and growth for the mission. We must work smartly day-to-day. We must have a respect for and understanding of urgency, but an unwavering commitment to quality and safety.”

The shipyard’s NSS-SY team offers awareness tours for anyone interested in learning more and helping improve the command through change advocacy. To find out more visit the NSS-SY SharePoint site, call (360) 340-5382 or email