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NEWS | April 2, 2019

Norfolk Naval Shipyard Spotlight: David Kinnaird

By Troy D. Miller

Pay it forward. Those three words are
imprinted on David Kinnaird’s heart. The
Shop 89 Zone Manager illuminates those
words as he walks around the sail loft looking
for mentoring moments with his team.
“One of my biggest duties as a zone
manager is to train my team so that they can
take over my job one day,” said Kinnaird.
Kinnaird joined Norfolk Naval
Shipyard’s apprentice program in July 2005
to become a mechanic. Since then, he’s been
picking up knowledge and wisdom not only
to benefit himself, but also to benefit his
team and incoming apprentices.
“I know what’s it like coming to the
shipyard as an apprentice,” said Kinnaird.
“I am able to relate to their uncertainty and
newness when they step onto the shipyard for
the first time. With that, I am able to make
the apprentices comfortable and know that
they have someone on their side who came
up through the ranks.”
Kinnaird thinks it’s vital as a supervisor to communicate with the workforce. Not
only does it show that he cares, but it’s a
chance to take these opportunities to pass
along his experiences to better the team.
LaShonda Dunston, sail loft refueling
supervisor, praises Kinnaird for his leadership,
constant help with troubleshooting and
problem solving the everyday issues
supervisors have to tackle. “He is always
willing to share his skills, knowledge and
expertise which has in return, made me a
better supervisor under his guidance.”
Kinnaird saw a chance to challenge and
better himself by stepping outside the sail
loft, the only place he worked since his first
day. He started a new position as Nuclear
Training Manager for Code 970. Little did
he know at the time that this new position
was preparing him for bigger and better
“Working in 970QA gave me a chance
to grow,” said Kinnaird. “I learned various
computer programs that I still utilize today.” Nearly three years later, he found out
that one of three zone manager positions
became available at his old stomping
grounds, the sail loft. With his newfound
knowledge as training manager, plus his
experience of working in the sail loft, he felt
he was ready to challenge himself even more.
He seized this new challenge with ambition
and dedication.
“Through pushing for higher quality,
David Kinnaird has benefited the sail loft,”
said Shop 89 Fabric Worker Supervisor
Richard Breeding. “We have replaced
old damaged sealing machines with new
equipment, replaced a non-functioning
cutting machine and doubled our automated
cutting machine capacity, upgraded old and
broken down sewing machines and other
shop improvements that have enabled us to
better support the shipyard’s mission.”
Kinnaird’s team is responsible for
making, packaging and assembling
specialized personal protection equipment that is required for various tasks onboard submarines. Kinnaird and
his crew also respond to shipyard emergencies.
“David Kinnaird often came to me for advice and mentorship.
He’s thanked me multiple times for seeing the potential in him,
however, I too am thankful for him,” said Code 100PS’s Engineering
Tech Mike Griffin. “He has the passion and drive to want to be
successful and help others become successful too. I appreciate his
desire to seek input, welcome perspectives, and help me think
about the diversity of thought and how individual traits can lead to
Code 990’s Fabric Worker Supervisor Jacob Boyd stated that
Kinnaird has strong and consistent leadership within the sail loft
on all platforms. He is known for being strict and challenging, yet
caring and nurturing to every member of Shop 89 regardless if they
fall under his leadership or not.
“Expressing thankfulness to your coworkers lets them know
that their efforts haven't gone unnoticed,” said Dunston. “That's
exactly what David does on a consistent basis with his employees.”
The walls of the sail loft doesn't keep the admiration that Kinnaird's employees have for him inside. Employees are known to speak highly of him out and about the shipyard.
While not on work, Kinnaird loves to travel. They have been to places like Scotland, Italy, Costa Rica, Belize and Canada. Kinnaird's dream vacation wouldbe going to Australia. One of the many reasons that Kinnaird likes to travel is because it gives him a chance to recharge and come back to work ready to go full spead ahead. “I love my job and I love my people. If I am not at my best, how
do I expect my people to be at their best?” said Kinnaird. “Taking
these trips gives me the energy boost I need to continue to be the
kind of leader and mentor that my people deserve and need me to
Kinnaird will continue to gain wisdom and tricks of the trade,
so that he can pass them off to his team, for every time his team
completes a successful task on cost and on time, it is a win for the
shipyard. The employees in Shop 89 will push forward with great
strides, knowing confidently that Kinnaird will lead them to success
and to be proud of their accomplishments.