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Former Refinery Employees Begin New Careers with NSWC Philadelphia Division

By Keegan Rammel, NSWCPD Public Affairs | NSWCPD | Nov. 12, 2019

NAVAL SURFACE WARFARE CENTER, PHILADELPHIA DIVISION —

Following the aftermath of the explosion that shuttered the Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES) refinery, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Philadelphia Division (NSWCPD) began working to provide career opportunities to displaced employees.

At 4 a.m. on June 21, a massive explosion lit up the skies near NSWCPD. The refinery explosion happened approximately two miles away from the Command’s headquarters building. A fire lasted for several hours burning excess gas at the PES refinery. Thick black smoke rolled into The Navy Yard as employees were beginning to show up to work.

On July 12 PES, the largest refinery on the East Coast, was to be permanently closed, leaving more than 1,000 employees without work. NSWCPD’s Recruitment Coordinator Victoria Gonzalez went to work to bring in talented refinery employees who would soon be looking for a new job. The Command was represented at several career fairs held at the refinery after PES announced it would be closing.

“It was a great event. It felt really nice being able to help and show up for those having a hard time in our area,” Gonzalez said. “I think it was truly successful.”

To date, NSWCPD has hired a dozen former refinery employees.

In addition to the recruitment team, NSWCPD was represented by former refinery employee Michael Timberman to help bridge the gap between the Command and PES during job fairs at the refinery.

Timberman, who now works CVN & Submarine Power Systems, left the refinery in January 2019. When he heard that the plant was to be closed for good, he started recruiting his old coworkers to come work for NSWCPD.

“When they announced that it was closing I called everyone in my phone list,” Timberman said. “I went to several recruiting events to talk about my experience. We hired about 12 people at the events. It was a great win for NSWCPD.”

One of the refinery employees who Timberman recruited was Gregory Mark. Mark had been at the refinery for nearly 30 years before his last day on Oct. 9. Mark served as the Turn Around Group Manager at the refinery managing thousands of employees.

Timberman recognized that Mark would bring talent and professionalism to the Power Systems Division and told him about opportunities at NSWCPD. Mark started his new career at NSWCPD on Oct. 15.

“I was unaware that the Navy still had a presence at the Navy Yard,” Mark said. “I wasn’t aware of career possibilities for someone with my skillset before I got here.”

After Timberman recruited Mark and other former refinery employees, he continued to check in with them to make sure they were completing all the necessary paperwork to begin working at NSWCPD. Once the employees get onboarded he sends them a welcome packet with information to help them settle in to their new job.

“I am glad I could help those employees come here,” Timberman said.
Timberman, a former Navy submariner, is glad to be back serving the U.S. Navy.

“I love it here, I’m glad I came, I’ve been here nine months and I’m still smiling.”

NSWCPD employs approximately 2,600 civilian engineers, scientists, technicians, and support personnel doing research and development, test and evaluation, acquisition support, and in-service and logistics engineering for Navy ships. NSWCPD is also the lead organization providing cybersecurity for all ship systems.