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NEWS | Aug. 28, 2023

Richard Tift retires, celebrates 45 years of federal service, including 19 years as PSNS & IMF executive director

By Ben Hutto, PSNS & IMF Public Affairs

Richard Tift, the executive director of Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility, retired August 1 after 45 years of federal service at the shipyard.

Tift, who joined PSNS & IMF in 1978, after graduating from the University of Washington with a bachelor’s degree, was honored by his fellow co-workers and family during a ceremony in the Horseshoe Conference Room in Building 850.

Tift’s many contributions to the shipyard were also celebrated earlier in the month, by U.S. Congressman Derek Kilmer, representative for Washington’s 6th District, who recognized Tift’s retirement and accomplishments on the House floor of the nation's Capitol.

In Tift’s going away ceremony at PSNS & IMF, shipyard commander, Capt. JD Crinklaw, praised Tift’s dedication to the shipyard, its mission and its employees.

“Rick is, by far, the longest serving department head here,” he said. “In that time, he has always been an advocate for the workforce. He has always been committed to the mission, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg. You will never find a fairer, more considerate or kinder person than Rick.”

Crinklaw said Tift’s dedication to the shipyard was evident not just in the work he did, but in his constant and reliable presence at PSNS & IMF. Crinklaw also acknowledged the many programs Tift helped spearhead during his time at the shipyard to help improve the lives of the men and women who work here. Among those initiatives were the Diversity Leadership Council and Employee Resource Groups he helped champion; the “Thank You Bucks” and Puget Demonstrated Quality (PDQ) award programs; expanding employee benefits, establishing the shipyard’s emergency planning division and helping create the shipyard’s professional development and education branch, Command University.

“This has been a wonderful place to work,” said Tift. “I consider myself very lucky to have been hired all those years ago. I can honestly say I have never regretted a day working here.“

Tift specifically thanked the many members of the shipyard’s support staff he has worked alongside for almost five decades.

“It was inspiring to see the dedication that came from working here,” he said. “It has been meaningful work each and every day. The nation needed us and the work we did was important, but none of it would have gotten done without the support of my staff. That effort worked its way down to the deckplates and out to sea in defense of our country. I’m so grateful for them.”

As his retirement approached, Tift said he has been looking forward to spending more time with his family — specifically his grandchildren, though the rest of his plans were still up in the air.

“I honestly do not know what I’ll do after August 1,” Tift explained, while addressing the audience members in the room. “I do know I will miss all of you, and I truly mean that.”