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Cmdr. William Butler Takes Next Step as New Public Works Officer

By Troy D. Miller, Norfolk Naval Shipyard Public Affairs Specialist | Sept. 11, 2019


An unknown fact is that Norfolk Naval Shipyard’s (NNSY) newest Public Works Officer (PWO), Cmdr. William Butler, knows the words to the Disney’s song You’re Welcome where Maui, a demigod, is bragging about everything he accomplished in the 2016 Disney’s movie, Moana. Williams might know the words by heart, but he is far from being a self-conceited demigod.

“My family provided public service in one form or another and when it was time for me to provide service to the greater good, service to our country, I chose joining the Navy,” said Butler. “It seemed like a perfect fit.”

Butler, a North Reading, Mass. native, joined the Navy in the summer of 1998 with the idea that he would do his time, earn his engineering license and then go tackle the world as a civilian. As often as it does, life had other plans for him.

Twenty-one years later, he finds himself as great as the PWO for America’s Shipyard. With a title and job that he doesn’t take for granted, he’s excited to be a part of a team that provides service to the high performing men and women who supply service to the fleet.

“It’s an exciting time here at the shipyard,” said Butler. “With the Shipyard Improvement Optimization Plan (SIOP) we get to give the shipyard better facilities to complete its mission, at the same time ensuring that the mission doesn’t stop in the process.”

Butler has a diverse education background with degrees in civil engineering, ocean engineering and strategic studies. His time in the Navy is just as diverse as he completed traditional and expeditionary tours. He plans on using this diversity to strengthen Naval Facilities Engineering Command's (NAVFAC) mission to the shipyard.

“I bring a fresh, new perspective to the table,” said Butler. “I was the PWO for Newport, Rhode Island. Although Newport and NNSY are two completely different commands with different missions, NAVFAC’s mission, my mission stays the same.”

NAVFAC’s mission is to manage the planning, design, construction, contingency engineering, real estate, environmental and public works support for U.S. Navy shore facilities around the world.

Butler is married and with two kids, a son and a daughter. He enjoys the simpler things in life by spending quality time with his family and going to the gym each day to earn his shower. His work ethic is just as simple.

“Deliver on your promises,” said Butler. “In times like today where resources are limited, you still have to make good on your word. If you say it, do it.”

One philosophy that Butler believes in is you have to give clear direction and guidelines if you want your team to succeed.

“We are in the middle of a transition period, making the shipyard better, and if we don’t make good on our promises or give clear cut direction and guidance, then we could not accomplish our mission which could cause the shipyard not to complete its mission.”

Butler is more than ready to lead his team to the challenges that lie ahead, he feels that he and his team are ready to face them.  Working together and establishing and maintaining relationships around the shipyard, Butler is ready and willing to lead the charge.